Stuff I’m Into This Week: Solar Power on the Simple

So it’s hot outside. The kind of hot and dry that makes even your tough wildflower-patch garden look sad and slumpy.

Thankfully the “realfeel” is only 10 degrees more than the temperature.

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Wunderground App, in case you’re wondering.

And it’s only projected to get worse.

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If you can’t read the screen-on-screen action, it’s saying that today the high was supposed to be 92, but it goes up to 97, 99, and 100 in the coming days.

So as I was doing laundry in the much-hotter-than-the-house-but-much-cooler-than-outside laundry room and it occurred to me to wonder why in the world I would ever turn on a machine that would use up energy to produce heat on a day like this.

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Thin items like these sheets will probably dry in even less time out there than they would in a dryer – especially because they have a tendency to get tangled and ball up in there whilst tumbling.

In my old house, I had a great clothesline that was installed pretty permanently (though I did dismantle it to move out – gotta be flexible when you’re a renter). It was a pulley-style clothesline, like this one (but without the tightener, and I use rope made of synthetic material for mold resistance and longer use). I had a covered back porch, and I was able to attach one pulley near the far corner of the cover, and one right by the laundry room door. This allowed me to stand in one spot with the laundry basket and just wheel the clothes out all the way across the space. When I moved, I just took it all down and took the pieces with me.

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The clothesline itself is almost invisible, but you get the idea.

This week was the first time I’ve put up the clothesline at this house. There isn’t a space here that is perfect for clotheslining, but I found that just by looping one end of the circle (which I re-made just by tying the ends together again with the pulleys removed) around a beam that makes up part of the back porch, and hooking the other end to a plant holder, I’ve created a makeshift clothesline I can take down again once I’m done.

It’s not very convenient because it blocks off the access between the back door and the backyard, but who’s going to be going out there anyway besides the necessitated and insane?

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I got used to life without a dryer in Japan, and from there appreciated the thrift and eco-friendliness of the process. All of the pieces (including the pulley stuff) we bought at Lowe’s, and they are probably available at whatever local hardware store you use. If you’re worried about the stiffness (especially in things like towels) that comes from hang-drying, a touch of fabric softener alleviates that real fast. I used to use that stuff when I worked without a dryer before, but have since scaled back on it a great deal.

I’m into this because it saves money on the power bill and keeps from energy waste. It’s also one small way to use solar power, so even though I can’t afford things like solar panels and am a renter, it is one simple way to use things to my advantage that are provided by nature.

Makes me feel like I’m winning!

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