Aaaand I'm a scatterbrained blogger these days - I forgot one of our key money-saving lifestyle choices, with regards to cleaning!
We don't own a dryer.
I know. Most of you probably already hate doing laundry, why make it more difficult and time consuming? Well, the irony is that once I stopped using a dryer and started hanging all our clothes to dry, I found it a much less bothersome task. Crazy, right? I think it has something to do with everything already being all neat and tidy and separated. I don't know for sure, I only know I hated folding laundry from the dryer. Now? I totally don't mind. (And it really takes a surprisingly small amount of time to hang a load of laundry. I swear.)
Now, I don't want you thinking I have an easy time of it with this no-dryer thing. We live in Maine. For large parts of the year it is too cold to dry outside. We have several drying racks that we use inside, when that is the case. When it's nice, we have clotheslines strung across our porch and use those instead. We have a small child (soon to be 2 small children!) so I generally do a load of laundry every day, between regular laundry and diapers. Because, oh yes! We cloth diaper too! And those all get hung to dry as well. (We have separate drying racks for those that take up less space.) So it's not like I'm a single person in a warm climate where air drying would be incredibly easy. But still, I do it. It saves us money, saves electricity and as an added bonus, saves our clothes as well. Less fading, virtually no shrinking.
But I do need to plan my laundry carefully to avoid having nowhere to hang wet clothes. We have a washing schedule that I stick to religiously that allows for everything to dry fully before doing the next load. (Depending on the weather that can take anywhere from an hour or two to over a day.) We do diapers 3 times per week (MWF), then a load of whites, a load of darks and a load of baby clothes on the other days. The remaining day (Sunday, as it happens) we do whatever is left - delicate wool things, comforters, whatever is needed, though usually we don't need to wash anything on Sundays at all. It works for us!
I admit - we do on occasion bring laundry to the laundromat or my parents' house to dry, if needed. Sometimes, in January, when the baby spits up on the comforter, you just have to have it dry quickly. But do I wish I owned a dryer just for the handful of occasions every year when we actually need it? Nope.
Some interesting statistics on air drying and energy consumption by tumble dryers over here...
I know it's not for everybody but give it a shot sometime this summer, if you haven't already!