It’s widely known that I think clothes dryers are a big waste of energy. There’s something about a device that sucks warm air from inside your house, pumps 5,000 additional watts of coal-generated electric heat* into it, and then shoots it outside into the cold winter air along with lots of nice humidity from your freshly-washed clothes, that just doesn’t agree with my efficiency-oriented engineer’s brain.
But there are two laundry practitioners in my house, and a certain lady was not quite as fond as me of spreading out dozens of preschooler socks and floppy tall man shirts on every available surface each week on laundry day. So when Mr. Money Mustache was not in the immediate vicinity of the laundry room, he would often hear the electric clothes dryer kicking on somewhere in the distance.
You see, we both had the desire for natural clothes drying, but none of the right equipment to actually do it. So I have just been hanging up my wet clothes on hangers, towel racks, chairs, over doorways, etc, for the last few years. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds: since we live in Colorado at over 5,000 feet above sea level, the dry low-pressure air sucks away the moisture in only a few hours, as opposed to the 1-2 days it could take to dry a poorly hung pair of jeans on the East Coast. Then I put all the clothes away.
But anyway, our problem has at long last been solved by an amazing $20 device purchased from Target. A sturdy metal rack that folds out to reveal a total of 28 combined feet of hanging space, in a compact footprint. Small enough for even an apartment. Set it up in your living room or bedroom for the weekly drying of the clothes, or whisk the whole thing outside for full-on solar fresh air drying. In the semi-desert summer sunshine, a full load will dry in less than hour – faster than an electric dryer!
Compared to using the dryer, this device will save you about 50 cents of electricity per load, and at the US average of 400 loads per year (!?), you’re looking at $200 annually. As the title of this article suggests, that’s a 1000% annual return on the $20 price tag.
Benefit of increased marital harmony due to no more fights about my clothes-hanging skills? Priceless.
*The US gets about half of its electrical power from burning coal. My own power is 100% wind-generated thanks to a nice option presented by my local electric company, but still, most people are stuck using coal.