It has almost been 5 years now since we got rid of our electric clothes dryer. Living without it hasn’t really been difficult to get used to. You just have to learn to plan ahead when you know you’ll need certain items.
You would think that rainy days would put a stop to the laundry, but in my world I don’t have time to wait for the sun to come out. These kids go through clothes and towels like crazy!
In order to continue the washing rain or shine, I have a couple of indoor hang drying options which have been working out very well for me.
A Retractable Clothesline
Over the tub I have a 5-line retractable clothesline. When I need to hang clothes indoors, I just pull it out across the tub and pin the clothes up to dry. When company comes over I close the shower curtain to hide my laundry, so it’s totally out of sight.
I can usually fit two large loads of laundry on the line. I try not to hang really heavy things like large towels or my husband’s jeans because the weight will make the line permanently sag.
Since there weren’t wall studs exactly where the mounting holes were on the unit, my husband screwed a 2×4 board into the studs, then we hung the clothesline to the board. This way we don’t risk the entire thing pulling out of the wall under the weight of the wet clothes.
I’ve found a hanging clothespin bag to be super handy for keeping all of my clothespins in one place as I take them off the line. This one is by Lindy Sues.
When all of the clothes are off the line it retracts back into itself so that it’s completely out of the way again.
Here’s what the shower/tub looks like with the clothesline empty and retracted. You hardly even know it’s there. If I had two tubs I’d put one of these over each.
Expandable Floor Dryers
For more indoor drying space, especially for larger or heavier items, an expandable floor dryer rack is a homesteader’s dream.
The large wooden one seen in the picture below is a “Homesteader” Drying Rack. Love, love, love this thing! It folds up flat when not in use for easy storage, is super light weight, and is large enough to hang a king sized blanket on.
The smaller floor rack is a simple expandable Metal Clothes Drying Rack. It also folds flat when not in use. Sometimes I put the smaller rack in the tub underneath the retractable clothesline if the clothes on it are dripping wet.
With all of these indoor laundry drying options I’m able to get 4-5 good sized loads washed and hung no matter what the weather is outside.
The Planning Ahead Part
Obviously, hang drying clothes takes much longer than throwing them in a dryer to tumble dry for an hour. Typically it takes 1-2 days for the laundry to thoroughly dry indoors. If I know we have somewhere we need to be which will require certain clothing, I make sure those clothes are washed and dried two days before we need them.
Does it ever get inconvenient? Sure. For instance, at this moment we have absolutely no dry, clean towels in the house. They’re all either in the laundry or hanging wet on the drying racks. It has been raining for a few days, and I just didn’t get to a load of towels before we ran out. Whadyado? You dry off with a wash cloth until the towels are dry. Life goes on.
Placing the drying racks in front of the wood stove when it’s burning definitely speeds up the process. It also helps to add much needed humidity to the air in the wintertime when the wood stove is burning non-stop and the air gets super dry.
In the summertime, ceiling fans help to speed up the drying process on rainy days. Fans also help keep your clothes from smelling musty when it’s really humid in the house.
Hang drying takes time and patience. But honestly, I’ve found it a nice change to simply slow down and enjoy the process.
Do I wish I had an electric clothes dryer for the rainy days?
Not for a minute. I’ve got everything I need right here!