Saturday, August 1, 2009

Not using the clothes dryer for a month

I set out on a mission a few months back to lower our ever growing utility bills. I read up on many cost saving ideas on the numerous frugal blogs. I have adopted many of their ideas. One idea that kept coming up was to reduce the dryer usage. Go here to read one of my favorite blogs, Grocery Cart Challenge for her breakdown of how much energy a dryer uses. I finally decided to give it a try. My plan: for one month do not use the clothes dryer, but rather hang the clothes up to dry.

I had some challenges immediately. One, the homeowners covenants in my neighborhood do not allow clothes lines outside. I knew this when we moved in the neighborhood but didn't really care, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Who wants to see your neighbor's tighty whities flapping in the breeze anyway, right? But, now in these troubling economic times, I'd rather see clothes lines in my neighbors' backyards rather than the numerous For Sale signs in the front yard.

So, I had to string up my lines in the house. Two in my bedroom and one one in my daughter's room. The idea was to use hooks that I could easily take the line up and down so that I wouldn't have to keep it up all the time. I bought cheap clothespins at the dollar store - 50 for $1.00

The second challenge I ran into was space and time. I learned quickly that one full load of our laundry took up two or two and a half lines. And it takes at least 8 hours for most many of the clothes to completely dry in the house. Longer for thicker clothes like jeans. A week's worth of laundry in my house is 6 or 7 full loads (including sheets and towels). Most weeks, it took me 4 days to get thru all the laundry.

I did end up using the dryer a few times. There was one week that I ended up working 5 days of my normal 3 day a week job. There was just no way to wash and hang clothes and do everything else I needed to do in just the 2 days I had off. By the way: BIG hat's off to all the full time working moms out there -- I applaude you.

I did get a payoff in the end. I received our electric bill for the month of July. It was $8.00 less than it was in June and $32.00 less than last July! Not all of that $32 is dryer related, we've done several other things to conserve electricity that I will post about later.

I had hoped to report that this was such a great experience that I would be selling my dryer on Craigslist (not really, I knew it wouldn't be that great). I will go back to using my dryer mostly, but I think I may try to continue drying 1 or 2 loads every week on the line, just to help with our electric bill.

Here are a few things I will do differently:
1.) Invest in some better quality clothespins. The cheap ones broke easily.
2.) Start my washing earlier in the day - to give them the most time on the line.
3.) Maybe petition my homeowners association to reconsider the rule about clotheslines.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have the same covenant in our subdivision....i purchased a clothes line from lowes that you pull out and attach to a hook (retractable) and put it on my porch.Most folks are gone in the daytime........try it! if anyone complains it's easy to take down!
Judi Chavers

September 8, 2009 at 8:27 AM  

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home