Monday, June 24, 2013

How to harness a solar energy spill

Really - a post about hanging laundry? I can almost hear my mom and grandmother scratch their heads. Why would people need instructions for that? Well, I often get questions from friends about it, so I thought I'd dedicate a post about the summer part of my laundry hanging system.
Parallel Outdoor Clothes Dryer by Moerman
Manufacturer's picture of my line (or very similar)
You see, I grew up in Germany. People tend to not have as much space around them there, and the type of laundry line you see in the picture is extremely popular. Here in the US, I've almost never seen it.
In fact, it took me a long time to locate this online shopping source, which has several similar models. I have owned my laundry line for many years now, so I feel qualified to write a little about it.

The advantages: 
  •  You only need to dig one small hole to install it. 
  •  It is removable and folds up for storage, leaving only a small plastic 'button' in the ground, should the president or your mother-in-law come for a backyard cookout. 
  • It takes up a small footprint of yardspace. 
  • It allows for privacy when hanging laundry. You simply hang the unmentionables in the center, and be sure to hang large items like beach towels or sheets on the outermost lines. Even a spontaneous visitor in your backyard (and I love those!) won't be a problem. For many people, the privacy issue seems a major hang-up about outside laundry hanging!
  • When you're hanging, you stay in one spot. This makes hanging faster and more ergonomical. I also put the basket on a little table, so I'm not bending down at all.
The downsides: 
  • The initial cost is somewhat significant, though probably comparable if not favorable compared to a classic 'picture book' style clothes line.
  • The folding mechanism of mine broke after several years of use, the day I hung a wet king size comforter on the thing. Oops! Luckily the handy husband fixed it, except it won't fold anymore. Luckily the president only very rarely comes to dinner around here.
I know that in my climate, where the hot summer days are often humid, I need to have the laundry hanging by 2pm to be able to take them down dry at 7pm or so. I can plan around that. If I suspect a thunderstorm later in the day I sometimes break out a vinyl shower curtain that is exactly the size of the laundry rack, and fix it with clothes pins. (Do not ask why, after 10+ years of not owning a shower with a curtain, did I find a vinyl shower curtain in my husband's stash in the basement..... it's sometimes good to be married to a person with slight hoarding tendencies...).

So go out and harness the solar energy that is spilling like crazy these days! You'll even save a bit of money, besides the obvious energy and carbon savings.

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Disclaimer: Sadly I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this glowing product review :-)


  1. What a splendid piece of advice!
    ... and if you are in a hurry:
    After removing the dry laundry and folding up the device just let it stand where it is. It looks like a not very thick pole or column (and in Germany some models even have small shutters to hide the folded up rope).

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my umbrella clothesline! My clothesline pole bent so I had a piece of post pipe from a chainlink fence which worked perfectly and was much stronger than the original. Totally perfect! I like your idea of a small table to put the clothesbacket on so you don't have to bend over all the time. Great idea!

    1. I love when you can fix something using materials you have lying around ... but apparently, there is a market for a more heavy-duty version in the first place :-)

  3. Oh my. Here in South Africa only the rich minority have tumble dryers. I used to use my "sock and underwear tree" - literally a tree with plenty of well spaced low enough branches. Now that has grown and I use the vegetable garden fence. No need to use pegs. :)For the bigger stuff I have clothes lines strung from tree to tree. I also use a couple of collapsible drying racks if I need to make sure the clothing gets into the maximum amount of sun position or I can haul the rack inside if it rains or keep it near the fire inside during winter. The twirly dryers you are promoting are readily available here as are retractable lines and other designs. We do have fences and walls between properties so its not like its on display. Hope my comment brings a laugh of at least a smile. The less tumble dryers are used the better. So good for you for writing about hanging up the washing. :) Mrs Hen from the other side of our small amazing, fragile planet.

    1. Thanks for the visit, Mrs. Hen! I'd just love to see a picture of your set-up! And the perspective is so valuable to hear. The rich minority is using tumble dryers - isn't that true, globally speaking? You in SA can witness it more directly, in the US it's not so obvious because most of us constitute the global 'rich minority'. And we're doing a swell job of messing it up for the rest....

  4. Neat clothesline system! I'm not so organized...I tied my line from one tree to the next :)

    Thanks for sharing on The Creative HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again today!

  5. loved reading such a coherent and relevant blog post. will be back for more updates.

    1. Thanks! High praise. When you guys expand into the US and need engineers, let me know :-)

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