Hanging Out Day

No silly, I’m not talking about playing hooky from school or work! I’m referring to Project Laundry List’s efforts on April 19th to educate communities about energy consumption, “Right to Dry” legislation, and most importantly, how to save money and energy by utilizing a clothesline.

So what exactly happens on Hanging Out Day is that individuals hang their clothes on a clothesline, with messages on sheets or T-shirts so that everyone will see them, and discuss your statement. Have you not seen one of these publically displayed clotheslines since Hanging Out Day started in 1995 at Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont? Some people hang their clotheslines at conferences or farmer’s markets. This year, Project Laundry List has partnered with its Right 2 Dry campaign, and launched a petition to encourage America’s First Family to hang their laundry on the White House lawn for the day for a “symbolic photo-op to send the message that line-drying is patriotic, beautiful, and should be encourage whenever and wherever possible” the campaign says.

So what will that do? The hope is to raise awareness to the numerous homeowners’ associations and landlords and dozens of local governments which prohibit or restrict the drying of laundry outdoors. The Project Laundry List states that “in California alone, about seven million people can’t hang their clothes in public because of the policies of about 40,000 community associations”.

Some other statistics that may surprise you is that six to ten percent of residential energy use is for the running of clothes dryers. It’s right behind your refrigerator and lighting for energy consumption. That totals 65.9 billion kilowatt hours in US households – not including gas dryers! I guess the bottom line is to consider drying your clothes – indoors or out of doors. The benefits include:

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions
Clothing that smells better and lasts longer
No fossil fuels are used, and
Cutting energy costs painlessly

And if you’re still “hung up” on the fact that there’s rules against hanging your laundry out to dry, visit the Right2Dry campaign website and sign the online petition!

HANGING OUT DAY – April 19, 2009

Project Laundry List is North America’s premier laundry line educational and advocacy organization. Project Laundry List runs the Right to Dry Campaign, Stop the Ban Campaign and the Campaign for Cleaner Energy Alternatives.

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Allen Sheaprd

First task – put up a cloths line. When we go camping it is one of the first things to go up.

They are easy to make. I still use “laundry line” with the plastic coating and internal meatl wire for long term lines. For short term use nylon roap – not plypropaline or ‘Poly line” as it breaks down in UV light.

Be careful of tree limbs – birds like to sit on them and well you know what birds do.

Yes all this is covered in pandemic and disaster planning. Yes it is part of the pre emergency ROI

Yes I use plastic cloths pins for work cloths. Most camping items are towels and shirts that can be hung over the line.

Tracy – two thumbs up!


I know in my neighborhood the Home Owner’s Association doesn’t allow you to. I suspect their afraid it will lower the home values if the clothesline is in your front yard.


I LOVE the picture! I remember the first time I line-dried – my clothes came out all crunchy! I admit that I still use a dryer for most of the laundry — I only line dry things that are labelled for air drying or that I’m concerned will shrink. I did stop using the dryer sheets, at least — I use those balls that tumble around in the dryer now.

Anyone have any tips for avoiding the ‘crunch’ that comes from line drying?


I think that’s what fabric softener might be for. But then you are just adding chemicals to the water…and I’m not sure which is worse: Downey in the water or electricity for the dryer. So hard to do the right thing!

Elinor Keith

A trick my roommate taught me to fit a lot of laundry on a line is to put them all on hangers first. Then you also only have to hang them once. (This works better for an indoor line, of course.)
As far as stiffness, I feel like given things like towels a strong shake before hanging them helps some. You could also go the intermediate route and partially dry them in the dryer then hang them up.