Sunday, September 7, 2008

Simplicity and Frugality 101

Turns out this is the 101st post! Cool. I missed the 100th post. That's the previous one.
So, I'll celebrate this one.

I guess I should post something basic...
Well, I just posted on wikihow about how to hang laundry on a rack and thusly dry it for free.
That's pretty basic frugality. I've been using a clothes rack, sometimes a clothesline (but that doesn't work when it's raining or smoky or dusty which is much of the time here) for years. Your clothes last longer and if you hang carefully, you cut down on ironing. I cut down on ironing by almost never wearing things that need ironing. Of course if you have a job where you can't wear a sweater, t-shirt, or sweatshirt everyday, you won't be able to use that technique.

By the way, you want that second rack for darks mentioned below because if you dry lights on the "darks" rack you can end up with a strip across the light item. This sucks if you've hung a shirt with the front down and folded over the rack at about boob-level.

Here it is:

  1. Buy or make 2 sturdy wooden clothes drying racks, each large enough to hold 1 medium size load (about 30 feet of drying space)
  2. Decide which rack is for whites and very light colored clothes and which is for darks.
  3. Get a load of wet laundry out of the washer (or, if you are really frugal, out of the bathtub you washed it in).
  4. Take a garment (good to start with shirts or pants) out, shake out the big wrinkles
  5. Lay the garment along the rack with the folds either on the seams or where you want a crease. For t-shirts this means the shirt will be flattened out in a 2-dimensional shirt shape. Pants can be hung in a flat pants shape, or you can hold the bottoms of the legs, put the seams together and "snap" the pants so that the legs are folded along the creases and hang that way.
  6. each larger garment or towel gets its own rung for now
  7. As you take out clothes, put the socks, undies, hankies, bras, and other small items aside.
  8. Once all the big stuff is hung up on the appropriate rack (white/lights on the whites rack, darks on the darks rack), go through and make room on the rungs for the small stuff.
  9. Socks can be hung in the joints of the rack rather than on the rungs, or even on the supporting, angled, bars.
  10. Thin towels can be folded in half.
  11. In an emergency, thin t-shirts can be folded in half.
  12. Button down shirts go on hangers rather than on the rungs. These can be hung from the edges of the rungs if there is room, otherwise use the shower rod.
  13. Wait for the clothes to dry on their own.


  1. turn a fan on the rack
  2. put the rack near a heat vent (but away from electric heaters or anything with a flame!!)
  3. Lay a shirt or something on the hotwater radiator if you have it. It will dry very quickly. Dust the radiator BEFORE laying the clothing item on it!
  4. wear something else


  1. Put clothes racks in rooms that you want humidified and skip the humidifier
  2. Clothes racks over hot air vents make for nice toasty towels and clothes


  1. A fan blowing across a rack of wet clothes (in a dry climate) can cool a room off enough for you to get to sleep on a hot night.

  • If you want to save a bit or start slow, get one rack. use it until the rods start to darken (a few years) then designate it as the "darks" rack and buy a new lights/whites rack
  • Plastic racks or flimsy and develop breaks and cracks that snag clothes
  • Spend a little more upfront and you will not regret it. A cheap rack will not last
  • Sheets can be hung doubled over or even in 3 or 4 layers. Just come back to the rack now and then to flip them around and refold in another direction and rehang. This will get them dry rather than let them mildew.
  • In humid climates like Florida summers...good luck! You'll probably need a fan or to put the clothes near a dehumidifier which could negate the energy savings
  • In summer, set the rack out on the porch or near an open window


  • Keep hanging clothes away from anything that could start them on fire
  • Don't hang wool or cotton sweaters on a single rod. They need to be draped over several rods or dried flat to avoid stretching out of shape.
  • Flip jeans over now and then to keep them from mildewing if it takes more than one day to dry

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Sturdy clothes racks with at least 30feet of hanging space per rack
  • a little patience
  • the ability to plan at least 8 hours into the future for your clothing needs.


Pamela said...

Just a couple additional helpful tips from someone who has to wear 'business attire' but refuses to iron.
1. Buy knits.
2. A little spandex in with your cotton minimizes wrinkles.
3. Take stuff out of the washer ASAP when the cylces done.

Jill said...

All good tips.

Angelamusings said...

Jill and Pam--
I love these tips!!! I so miss the days of my Mom drying laundry on the clothesline -- there is just a smell of sheets on a clothesline that beats all the April-fresh stuff in the world.

OK, dumb question, but since this IS frugality 101--do you have suggestions about where these good, sturdy drying racks might be purchases? Laurie, you could buy some for your store! Anyway, I'll do some internet checking, but I've been thinking about doing this for a long time. Your message was perfectly timed, for me, and as you well know, it is ALL about me.

Now if you could only come up with a way to make vegetables more palattable for me! I'm still fighting that battle. I'm 42. When can I stop fighting my battle with vegetables? Angela

Jill said...

Hey Schmange!
Here is a link:

YOu can also get a washboard here.

Another thing to try is an old fashioned hardware store. Like "Ace" hardware stores. Be sure the rungs are about 1/2" in diameter or it will poop out on you too soon.

Here is an example of a cheapo flimsy one...fine if you never hang anything heavier than silk undies

Fly Right said...

Of course it's raining today, and I was going to hang stuff outdoors. I usually just "steam" things in the dryer to get them wrinkle-free and then hang them on hangers or the rack. I have the luxury of having a basement that we don't use much, so I have clotheslines up down there (in the bar area) that I use, too. I just have to remember to remove the clothespins from them when we have guests over to the bar (then you don't notice the lines--they're along and between the joists).

Jill, I love that Lehman's site! I always wondered where to get a sauerkraut stomper. . .

Jill said...

Hey Laurie (Fly Right),
I LOVE the Lehman's site too...I have to ration my use the way some people have to ration their porn or crack.

AND, my Gramma had a clothesline in her long long hallway while I was growing up. I loved the smell of clean laundry. I'd have one indoors now if there was a spot for one.