woman hanging up clothes on an old-fashioned clothesline outside
Photo: Rob Howard
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Use a Clothesline

Next to your refrigerator, your dryer is likely the biggest energy-guzzling appliance in your house. And while we wouldn't ask you to store your food in a vintage icebox, an old-fashioned clothesline is actually a pretty good idea. (If that sounds too retro, think of it as a "solar dryer" instead.)

You can buy a pulley kit like the one pictured above at the hardware store. Or you can order the components online—clotheslineshop.com for instance, will ship you two Ts made of metal pipe, plus the fittings and rope. But it's easy to make a traditional clothesline yourself, using 4x4 or 6x6 pressure-treated posts for the uprights and 2x8s for the cross arms (which don't need to be pressure-treated). Simply notch the posts to receive the cross arms, set them in concrete, and run the lines on eye hooks between them. A 4- or 5-foot cross arm should give you enough room for five lengths of line, nicely spaced.

Lumber: $42
Hardware: $10
100 feet of line and 100 wood clothespins: $17
Total: $69
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