Something New

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Just when you think you have pretty got this organisation game sorted there is something else.

I have several lightweight cashmere/merino cardigans and jumpers which I handwash and then put on a very short spin cycle in the machine.  I generally hang  them on specially designed hangers on the line, however, the past couple of days have been cold and wet here so there was not a lot of point in hanging them outdoors.

So, I decided to hang them inside and was wondering where to put them when I noticed the inside of the door of the clothes dryer and had a lightbulb moment.

Here they are hanging from the door of the dryer.

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And a close-up view.

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The laundry is a small, enclosed room so by turning the dehumidifier on for a few hours I was able to easily get these dry.

You may not necessarily have the same opportunity but this is a reminder that there are many possibilities if we allow ourselves to think outside the box.

 

A Little Bit Every Day

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My method of keeping things organised to to do a little bit every day, or in my case every evening.  At the risk of sounding like a cracked record, I work full-time hours and long days because of the distance that we commute but that is our choice.

Last night I did the bit of ironing that was waiting to be done, one load of washing and hung it out then put the next load in the machine.  It was not a full load so when we arrived home this evening I pulled the top sheet off the bed and that made up the load.  It is all washed now and in the basket.

It has been cool and damp here all day so the load that is on the line is not properly dry even though it is under the verandah.  The next load of washing will be hung indoors overnight.

This is a portable rotary clothesline which I find invaluable in the wet weather.

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This hanging rack is usually used to hang shirts waiting to be ironed as well as ones that I have done but tonight I will hang the freshly-washed shirts on here to dry.

Hanging rackI will put the dehumidifier on in the closed room overnight, the clothes will be pretty well dry in the morning.  This eliminates the smell that clothes develop if they are damp for too long.

2012-11-18 03Once the washing is hung out I will finish stripping our bed and remake it with fresh linen.  Then it will be time to crawl into bed.

I am working from home tomorrow and will make it a short day so that I can catch up on a few more jobs here.

By spending a bit of time each evening on household jobs, I can choose what I do on the weekends.

The Final Step

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I read somewhere that doing the washing should not be about putting a load of washing in the machine.  It should be about closing the loop, that is, washing should include the full process of getting worn and grubby clothes back to a state where they are ready to be worn again.  Therefore, hanging them on the line to dry, bringing the dry washing in, sorting, folding, ironing and putting away the clean clothes should all be included in the process.

From my observations, ironing and cleaning the oven seem to be in a class of their own when it comes to the universal dislike of jobs.  I actually do not mind ironing but sometimes find it difficult to find the time as I prefer to do the whole lot in one go.  Due to our streamlined wardrobes I cannot leave it for too long as then we would have nothing to wear so on the weekend I did a spot of procrastinating which masqueraded as organising.

Hanging rack
I have a hanging rack where I hang the clothes once they are ironed but I decided to hang them before ironing so that I could see exactly how much I had to do and could easily fetch the next item as I was ready.  I also sorted the things that do not go on hangers into a pile of mine and a pile of clothes belonging to The Duke as well as linens and handkerchiefs in a separate pile.

Piles of ironing
I did the ironing early this morning and found that my procrastination strategy actually paid dividends.  I find it easier and quicker to get into a rhythm of ironing the same type of item – I do all of the shirts or all t-shirts in one go.  By having things sorted I saved time.  I also decided that I would place all of the t-shirts together once they were ironed and then fold them up at the end of the session.  This saves time by not disturbing the rhythm as well as saving money.  I am not wasting time folding while the iron is sitting idle and using electricity to maintain the heat.

Ironed tees
This method does not work for items such as The Duke’s shorts which are folded as part of the process of ironing them.

Shorts

Sorting the ironing and hanging the items on hangers started as a bit of a joke but it is a process that I will continue in an effort to further streamline what I do.

Clothes hangers
I know that some people always hang shirts and dresses on hangers rather than pegging them on the line to dry.  I do not generally do this, although I have 3 plastic clips that peg onto the line and you can feed the hanger through the hole.  The hangers stay in place in even the windiest weather.  I inherited these from my mother-in-law and have considered looking for more.  I checked online but cannot see the same style, however, I found this website which has an equivalent product.  It is UK-based so guess what I will be bringing home in my suitcase in September!

Wet Washing

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Although I have a tumble drier, I try to minimise the use of it.  My reasons are twofold – the electricity it consumes and also the wear and tear caused to our clothes.

We have a rotary clothesline in the backyard, however, that entails carrying a basket of wet washing down a flight of steps and around to the opposite side of the house from the laundry.  This is not terribly practical and for that reason I mostly use the clothesline which is under the verandah.  I can walk out of the laundry and wheel the basket of washing in the trolley to directly next to the line.

2013-06-27 01This was mounted and in place when we moved here.  It is an Extendaline and potentially could be longer but it is in the available space between the wall and the edge of the verandah (about 2 metres).  This means that I have 10 metres of line space and I can generally fit 1 – 1.5 loads of washing one here.  Each line is long enough to hold 3 business shirts.

Indoor clothes line

I have a variety of other options for hanging and drying clothes.  Here you can see my other rotary clothesline.  It is designed for camping and we bought it from Kathmandu.  It folds up completely, comes with its own carry bag and is very lightweight.  In the background you can see the mobile hanging rack which I use for ironed clothes but is also handy for finishing drying clothes in front of the fire.

Clothesline

This is much better than regular clothes airers as the lines are high enough to allow you to hang towels, jeans and even single bed sheets.

Jumpers on the line

These hangers are perfect for drying sweaters and cardigans as there are no peg marks.

Plastic bags

Here is a small clothes hanger with pegs attached.  I bought it in Japan several years ago but I believe you can buy them here in Australia now.  Apart from hanging rewashed plastic bags to dry, I use this for socks, handkerchiefs and underwear.

Finally, I have a clothes airer on castors which lives on the verandah and I often wheel it inside to dry things in front of the fire.

This post is for Kim who asked about my washing line under the verandah.  It is quite timely as the forecast here is for showers and rain for most of the next week.

What strategies do you have for getting washing dry in cold and/or rainy weather?

Firepower

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The only heating we have is our wood heater and since we are out of the house most days it does not get used a lot.  It costs us nothing to run as the only wood we use is fallen branches from trees on our property.  This weekend it has been wet and cold so the fire has been on for the best part of each day.

While any heating is designed primarily for heating the room to a comfortable temperature it can be used for other purposes at the same time.

2012-06-10 01I put the kettle on top of the heater to heat some water and you can also see the wood drying out which will be added to the fire later.

2012-06-10 02Our wood fire is very versatile and will dry the clothes as well.  I have a clothes dryer which I use from time to time but the fire is better as I can even dry knitted and delicate items which I would not normally put in the dryer.

So the humble fire can keep the room warm, dry out the firewood, dry the clothes and heat water – all at the same time!

Can your heating do double duty?