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If Franke James can do it, so can I! (and we’re both saving money, too)

What Franke James did was, The Hardest Thing First.   In her case as an urban dweller in Toronto, the hardest thing was


Photo Credit: Franke James,  creative commons

My hardest thing?   I’m going to dry my laundry on a clothesline.

Given I live in Yellowknife this can only occur until October, but I’ll be hanging up my stuff (I’ll use some discretion) on a clothesline I have in the backyard.

When I was young, I thought of this as entirely gauche.  I hope other people don’t think that about me.   There’s something a tiny bit eco-chic in this, right?  Right?  Regardless, this will be my summer:

2430043983_5843daf5c8Photo Credit: brockvicky Creative Commons

@frankejames I reckon I’ll save myself about $40 or so.   Obviously your savings a much greater (ie. sans suv).  (hey, sans suv has a great slogan kinda feel, non?).   How much do you reckon you’ve saved since waving goodbye to your suv?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Kate

    Go you good thing! I have been drying only sheets and towels in dryer pretty much the whole time I have lived in Seattle, the rest I hang outside or indoors on clothes rack (what the Brits call a ‘clothes maiden’). Occasionally pop “real” clothes in dryer but I try not to because of (a) cost (b) environment (c) damage to clothes (thus saving $, time and resources). BTW, clothes dried in the outdoors really do smell better 🙂


    May 07, 2009
  2. Joyce Thierry

    Hi Nancy: Here in southern France, no-body has dryers (the cost of electricity could make you weep!) so I’ve had the lovely pleasure of hanging out my laundry during the majority of these past nine months, with only a few exception days because of weather. I am now a true blue clothes-hanging fan; there is nothing more beautiful than a laundry line of clothes flapping in the breeze. And the clothes smell oh-so-good when they are dry. We did have to get use to the stand-up plastic clothes hanging thingamajigi that I had to use during rain and (the few) snow storms we had; it is not necessarily a beautiful site in one’s living room but worked just fine. The other thing I have grown to appreciate is that most washing machines are in the kitchen, tucked under a counter. Makes much more sense in terms of space and work area, for me at least, since the kitchen is always my favourite room. Cheers to you in the middle of a YK spring. Adios, Joyce


    May 07, 2009
  3. Nancy,

    Thanks! Really enjoyed your post and especially that you took up my challenge! Fantastic!

    Our accountant told me we are saving about $10,000 per year not having a car. (Based on annual insurance of approx. $2500, maintenance, repairs, fuel — and of course the purchase price of the car.)

    Another financial benefit is reduced consumption of goods (no car to schlep things around makes it a bit harder to acquire things — but not impossible). And of course we’re enjoing improved fitness from walking, cycling and running instead of driving. As well as less stress. People don’t usually tailgate when you’re walking.

    Thanks Nancy for helping to spread the word!


    Franke James’s last blog post..No one will know, except you


    May 08, 2009
  4. @Joyce well now not only do I not feel gauche, but I do indeed feel chic, if everyone in the south of France does it. Seriously, tx for the encouragement.
    @Kate it didn’t even dawn on me, but of course, it *would* be gentler on clothes = savings that way too.
    @Franke $10K a year! I had no idea the savings would be that significant (I thought maybe $3K). That’s a lot of freed up funds. Thanks for inspiring change!


    May 09, 2009
  5. Nancy, there’s also something a bit Zen about standing out at the clothesline and pegging out the laundry, sun shining and you feeling all virtuous. Truly. Easy, mechanical, mindless, repetitive outdoors chores are a great antidote to a long week of office work. And here’s another encouraging thought for you: Put your laundry basket down at your feet and bend to pick out the clothing one piece at a time — bingo! Instant waist-slimming workout, at absolutely no extra cost!


    May 09, 2009
  6. brad

    It really is gentler on clothes — I never owned or used a dryer from the early 1980s until two years ago, and my clothes last forever. In fact I still have and regularly wear a few shirts that I bought in the mid 1980s; they’re in fine shape after more than 20 years of going through the wash. The secret to long-lasting clothes is to never use fabric softener and to dry everything on the line.

    In winter I used drying racks — wooden or metal racks that you can hang a load of laundry on. If you put them in a sunny room they’ll dry in a day. The only challenge I had during my dryer-free existence was flannel sheets and duvet covers. I was able to dry them on the racks, but it took a few days. Our new house doesn’t really have a good space for drying racks upstairs, and it’s too cold and humid in the basement for drying racks in winter. So we bought a dryer, but only use it in winter and during long rainy spells in summer.

    If you have high ceilings, there are pulley contraptions that you can hang clothes on and then pull them up so they dry out of the way. I’d love to have one of those but our ceilings are too low and I’m too tall!

    The only real drawback I can think of with a clothesline is that you’re more likely to have to iron your clothes. If you fetch your clothes out of the dryer as soon as it’s finished, you rarely have to iron anything. On a clothesline, however, shirts and trousers get a lot more wrinkly. So some of your energy savings disappear because you have to run the iron.


    May 11, 2009
  7. Growing up everything was put out on a clothesline (I guess you don’t want your neighbours to know what your underwear looks like, you shy thing ;-). EVERYONE knew what my underwear looked like when I was living at home).

    One side benefit is my parents dryer lasted *25 YEARS*. When they recently had to buy a new one, the salesman was shocked…

    Mr. Cheap’s last blog post..Frugal Activity #361 – Watching German Vacation Slideshows With In-Laws


    May 14, 2009

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