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Monday Q&A | A new graphic! Plus laundry. And TV.

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Before I answer some questions, I just want to point out the fabulous new Q&A graphic that I now have. My friend Kristen (yes, I have a friend named Kristen. and it is not nearly as weird as I thought it might be!), of Knitting Kninja designed it and several others for me (she’s the one who designed my header for me a while back). So, new graphics and some header changes should be popping up around here as the week goes by.

Oh, and my 365 blog is already sporting a snazzy new header…no more boring black type. Yay! Large thanks to The-Kristen-That-Is-Not-The-Frugal-Girl (maybe we should call her TKTINTFG for short?).

Or maybe we should stick with Kristen, the Knitting Kninja.

Or maybe you can just assume that when I’m talking about Kristen and graphic design in the same paragraph, I’m not referring to myself, because I am completely and utterly clueless when it comes to this kind of thing.

Anyhow, Kristen does graphic design on a very limited basis, so if you need hire someone to do that sort of thing for you, shoot her an email (knittingkninja (at) gmail (dot) com), and if you’re very fortunate, she might have space in her queue for you.

I’d really like to start using a clothesline to dry at least some of my laundry this summer. However, a quick Google search tells me a lot of the pre-made clotheslines are awfully expensive, and making my own looks challenging. I don’t even own a saw and I’m not terribly handy. I don’t have any trees in my yard, so just stringing up a line isn’t an option. What do you use and what frugal solution would you recommend for me?

Also, what do you do during bad weather/cold weather? What is your indoor drying setup? How much space does it require? And how would you dry larger items, such as sheets? Oh, and what about pollen and dust? Does it get on your clean clothes?


Though we have lots of trees in our yard, my clothesline is strung between a deck post and my fence. I have the retractable sort, which is kind of nice because I can easily make the clothesline almost disappear.

If you don’t have any way to hang up a clothesline, I’d recommend buying a drying rack or two. These collapse and can be used indoors and out, which means that they can be used all year round. I highly recommend springing for the sturdy metal sort, as the cheaper wooden ones tend to sag and break after a while.

When the weather is bad, I still do some drying indoors by putting my clothes on my drying racks and by hanging them on hangers over the door mouldings in my house.

If you remember, though, I don’t have an all-or-nothing attitude about line-drying. If it’s raining, or if I’m really behind on laundry, or if I just flat-out don’t feel like hanging my laundry out to dry, I don’t. And I don’t feel guilty about it. I figure any line drying I do is better than no line drying, and I do as much as I can without driving myself nuts.

Pollen does get onto your clothes to some extent, so if you have allergies, you probably will want to dry your clothes in the dryer when pollen counts are high, or you’ll want to stick to drying indoors. I suppose some dust gets onto the clothes outside, but it’s never been anything that’s noticeable to me. Your experience may differ in you live in a very dusty area, though.

I hope that helps a bit, and if you want more laundry assistance, you can read all of my past posts about laundry in the Laundry category.

I was wondering if you could go back some time to the comments about television in your home. Is the small role that television plays in your life something you grew up doing or developed for other reasons? I grew up spending lots of time alone at home due to 2 working parents. When your parents work you cannot go anywhere and you cannot have anyone over either. Therefore, the tv became my companion. I am sorry to say that at 48 I still watch about an hour or two a day. It is addictive. I love cooking shows and Hallmark movies. Your kids are fortunate that you are home, keeping them busy and don’t make tv part of their daily life. Being as busy as you are must help a lot.

So, anyways, if you took tv out of your life by choice, do you have any helpful hints on how to do it? The just say no policy should work but addictions often need more than that.


Television definitely played a very, very small role in my life as I grew up. I know that this was a conscious decision on the part of my parents, and I’m grateful to them for keeping me from developing a TV habit. My childhood playtime hours were spent playing with my sister, playing in the woods, rollerskating, playing at the park and doing lots of other things that are more healthy and enriching than TV viewing.

My husband and I are trying to take a similar tack when it comes to TV viewing and our children…we don’t spend time watching TV, and we try to offer fun alternatives. For the record, we don’t think TV is evil in and of itself…we just want to be careful not to waste a bunch of time watching it even if the program/show is decent (though we’re of the opinion that there’s an awful lot on TV that is not decent!).

Also, I’m not entirely opposed to “wasting time”…heaven knows I’ve wasted my fair share of time on the internet (that’s a lot more tempting to me than TV).

But, if you’re wanting to cut back on your TV viewing, I have two suggestions.

First, consider getting rid of the cable service. This will save you money, and it’ll make it an awful lot less tempting to flip through the channels (plus, if you only have 25 channels, it takes a lot less time to flip through them!). We just have an antenna up in our attic that allows us to get local channels, so our cable TV bill is $0 every month.

I like bills that are $0.

Secondly, consider moving your TV to an inconvenient location. I know that sounds really un-fun, but it’s so effective. When we had our TV in our living room, we were a lot more prone to turning it on and flipping around the channels. A few years ago, though, we moved the TV into Joshua’s room. The only place to sit in there is on his bed, and so it’s pretty hard to accidentally get sucked in by the TV. 😉 He and my husband do watch some sports games in there (we move in some comfy chairs from other rooms!), but we’re less concerned about intentional watching like that than we are about mindless channel surfing.

(just so you know, Joshua is not allowed to just watch TV whenever, and he is very good about obeying that rule. If you feel that your child is not that trustworthy, moving the TV into his or her room might not be a great idea, but it’s working out very well for us!)

Readers, if you’ve got some great tips about air-drying laundry or about cutting back on TV, do share in the comments. 🙂

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Friday 14th of May 2010

To answer to question about air drying on wet days - Rainy days and winter do make outdoor drying difficult, but we still air dry our clothes indoors by using a clothes drying rack like this one. Being round it works really nice under a ceiling fan. Just leave it there all night while the family sleeps and you will have dry clothes in the morning!


Tuesday 11th of May 2010

WOW! Thanks Kristen, and everyone for all your great ideas and answers. I'm SO excited. Love the plant idea for outdoor drying, since I have a really small backyard and wasn't really looking forward to the clothesline dominating the landscape. I'm going to try out some of those indoor techniques today! Thanks!!!!


Monday 10th of May 2010

If you buy one of those rotating clothes lines, they usually fit quite nicely inside an umbrella-stand. Now using this outside is dicey (the wind can blow it over and break your clothes lines... ask me how I know this), but it's great for inside. If you have a big room where you can put it, that is - mine is in the basement (as is the laundry machine.)


Monday 10th of May 2010

I love all the line drying ideas. A drying rack might be just what I need. I can't see myself line drying all of our laundry--both because I don't think I'd be motivated enough and because we have a side yard and I really don't need everybody driving by to see my underwear ;)--but I've been wanting to start drying the baby's diapers outdoors, so they'll last longer and the stains will get sunbleached out. Since I usually only have 12-16 diapers to dry at a time, a drying rack would probably be more than enough room, and I could fold it up and bring it inside so it wouldn't be a fixture in our shared yard.


Monday 10th of May 2010

I thought I'd mention that in addition to saving money through not running a dryer, line drying your clothes also makes them last a lot longer. I use my dryer for socks, underwear, sheets, and towels, but I hang pretty much everything else. I usually do this on racks or on hangers indoors, but I find my clothes last much longer when they aren't exposed to high heat. However, putting clothes into the dryer for just a few minutes after they come out of the washer does make the wrinkles come out much better.

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