I am so rocking this challenge and loving every minute. I was already line drying as many clothes as I could with the one rack we had, but this challenge has inspired me to take it a step further and air dry everything. The first week was a little rough, but here are some things I've learned...
1. All the laundry does not have to be clean all the time. If you have another pair of jeans, there's no reason you should rush to wash the pair you just took off. Give yourself a break.
2. Most loads will dry in under 24 hours. I've been doing a load a day. It sounds like a lot, but it's no more than normal. I just spread it out over the course of a week, rather than exhausting myself by attempting to get it all done in one day using the dryer.
3. Don't wash a load until you have space to hang it to dry. This lesson was learned by Mr. Mallard. To his credit, he was trying to help get things done this weekend and is prepared to string a clothesline in the garage as soon as I am convinced it's a good idea. There are spiders out there, though. Lots of spiders. They give me the willies.
3. Get the right equipment. We already had a drying rack. To this, we added an inexpensive garment rack, some clippy hangers, and some clothespins. That's it. That's all we need. Eventually we'll get some fancy wall-mounted racks, but the racks we have now are actually ridiculously practical. They are both mobile and can be moved to the dining room or the porch or the deck...wherever the sun happens to be at any given moment. Direct sun=Half the drying time.
4. Some hanging techniques I am particularly proud of:
Take the clothes off the rack as they dry, thereby leaving more space for the not-so-dry to spread out and finish drying quicker.
Genius! Rather than draping socks over the rack, clip them together with a clothespin and straddle them over the bar. I am so smart!
This technique is also extremely helpful for cloth diaper doublers.
Sheets can be draped over the garment rack and will dry in under a day. That's a fitted king size sheet there--the flat sheet is hanging over the shower rod in the guest bath. That is also the Biggest Girl and she is now 38 inches tall. She is going to be a giant.
The hangers we use to hang pants--much more effective than draping them over a rack--lend themselves nicely to the quick drying of kitchen towels. Dishrags get a hand from a regular hanger and some clothespins when the clippy hangers are in high demand.
Clippy hangers + Cloth diapers=Match made in line drying heaven
In the last twelve days, we've done 17 loads of laundry. Three loads were diapers. One load was the gorgeous new quilt we gave ourselves for our anniversary. Two loads of sheets. One was the mattress pad. Two loads of towels. One load was the car seat cover on the day I realized we are super potty trained at home, but might not quite be ready to venture out in undies. Seven loads of clothes.
Dryer usage...has happened. The quilt was massive and needed a hand, so it was in the dryer for 50 minutes and still had to be spread out in the study overnight to finish drying. It's burly. And clean. 20 minutes of dryer time will be on Mr. Mallard's card after he washed a load with a piece of paper in his pocket. The little bits refused to be picked off, so we ran them for a bit on low and the paper came right off. 20 minutes to finish the mattress pad because I wanted to make the bed. The last instance was 10 minutes if air fluffing to soften up the diapers a bit. While everything else dries soft, the diapers dry rigid for some reason, and tiny buns should not suffer. So I fluffed them with no heat and it worked like a dream.
Total loads: 17
Total drying time: 90 minutes + 10 minutes of air fluffing
Total minutes saved=550
Total feeling of accomplishment=100%