Clotheslines have recently undergone a renaissance. Once considered gauche, line drying has benefited from country-chic marketing and support from environmentalists. But while it’s not all white sheets softly blowing in the breeze, it really is a pretty easy way to save a hefty amount on your energy bill and keep your house a little cooler.
It’s also so much easier to install a clothesline these days, with so many more modern-looking options that are still affordable. Best of all, clotheslines are now designed to disappear on non-laundry days.
Why you should install a clothesline
Table of Contents
Your dryer makes up a scary portion of your utility bill, and a clothesline can reduce that bill by 20%. Also, no matter how well your dryer is vented, skipping its use avoids adding heat to your home on hot days. (I have my own outdoor clothesline and a dryer, but I also installed an indoor hanger for sweaters and other items that didn’t need a tumble.)
Our favorite clotheslines and accessories mentioned in this article:
Installing a clothesline outside
A clothesline is a little more than any string hanging from two points. It needs to be a hefty enough line to withstand the weight of heavy clothes, durable enough to withstand wetness, and have enough tension that the line keeps your clothes from sinking to the ground.
Most retractable clotheslines are like this one and have a 5-10 minute installation, where you just need to ensure you’re in a solid anchor point. Since you’re outside, your anchor is less likely to be a stud than a study exterior piece of wood. Once you’ve anchored it in, you just need a point away to place your hooks. When you want to extend the clothesline, you grab the line and just connect it to the hooks. Give the line a good tug so it retracts and locks, and you’re good to go. I anchored to a solid piece of trim near a window, so I was assured there was a stud behind it, and then attached my hooks on the corner of my garage where there was also likely to be some structural wood, about 20 feet away. The only tools needed are a drill, and a novice could definitely tackle the job.
You’ll probably want to get a clothesline with a few lines on it. Connect it and you instantly have five lines to hang your clothes on. You also want to make sure the clothesline is okay for outdoor use.
Installing a clothesline inside
If you don’t have an outside space to put a clothesline, you might want one indoors. There are two kinds of lines to consider here: a simple hanging wire that works much like the outdoors clothesline, or a wall-mounted rack.
A hanging wire will likely be hung in the bathroom, so clothes can drip into the tub. There are pleasingly modern, good-looking options. Installation is a little different, because you need to anchor in a way that doesn’t get in the way of your shower curtain or door, and you might need to install anchors in the wall to secure your clothesline. Still, you’ll only need your drill, and I’d call this an intermediate project.
A hanging rack can go anywhere. They simply pop out with hanging bars or places to hang hangers from. Your closet or laundry room are good options, and like your bathroom, you’ll need to be conscious of securing them properly in the wall, either into a stud or with the proper wall hangers, like anchors.
The wooden clothespins of the past are also now considered relics, with sturdy and low-cost plastic and metal options. There are also waterproof bags to store them in, so you can clip the bag to your clothesline outside and not worry about them.