Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Friday, August 14, 2009 1:37 PM EDT
It's crazy how serious people are about air drying. I know it's great for the environment, as your dryer is a huge part of your monthly electricity bill, but there's a whole world out there dedicated to cataloging products, discussing options and sharing ideas about air-drying.
I've got a clothesline in the basement that we make good use of (in conjunction with our dryer, sad to say) and one outside in the yard that I want to take down, as the mature vegetation surrounding our house leaves our laundry spotted with whatever is flying around. The problem with our basement clothesline however, is that the ceiling - aka dirty cobwebbed beams - is low and too close to the line. Much of the time when I'm slinging something over it, I end up brushing the ceiling and marring my clean whatever with 100-year-old dust.
So I decided to get online to see what's up in the market, and I'm tsunamied by the air-dry subculture. Well, I thought, this certainly deserves the editing powers of HGTV.ca's "Top 5 Friday". So here are my favourite picks and why, to help you sail the seas of all those racks vying for your dollar.
The Wall-Mount Work Horse
The D-Rack, available at UrbanClothesLines.com
This rack knows your life. It'll work in small spaces, in large spaces, in laundry rooms and in dorm rooms, on walls, floors and doors. Collapsing to a barely-there wall-hugging grate, it packs more drying space into its genius design than a tannery. Durable snapping mechanism allows for full or partial collapsing, and it's super light if you're going to be moving it around. This one definitely gets my vote!
The Hills Quatro 4 Mount (also available in 6 strings), available at UrbanClothesLines.com
Despite the nostalgic photo, this is the clothesline of the future. Built to last, in a rust and weather resistant casing (with a ten-year guarantee), retractable, and with individually adjustable line tension control, the Hills Quatro (four strings) and Sietro (six) propose to be the most popular choices for clothesline drying in North America. I find all the hanging options quite alluring, however I'm not sure that this would necessarily be the right choice for me. It does however pack a lot of practical punch if you're of the industrious persuasion.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Kitchen Maid Classic Airer, available at UrbanClothesLines.com
The Laundry Lift, available at Sears.ca
I love the ceiling mounted options, and simply couldn't decide between the lovely Victorian design and the simple, barely-there design of the Laundry Lift (directly above.) The classic Kitchen Maid is in fact a recreation of a Victorian airer discovered at a Scottish foundry, and it's not all that ample -- what you see is what you get; iron-cast ends hold wooden dowels on which you can hang pretty tea towels or even pots. But it's so pretty! And, despite being faithful to the Victorian design, the pulley system is wholly reliable - I'd hate to see this thing come down on the old cabeza.
The Laundry Lift offers a modern take on the same idea, with the added benefit of being able to lower each rod separately. Simply put, I think it looks kidna cool.
The Rustic Charmer
Sun Maid Airer, available at UrbanClothesLines.com
This one is my favourite - hands down. Look how cute it is! OK, so it's a couple of slats and a base, and it's something like $180.00, but it's absolutely perfect for my purposes. I don't really air dry all my laundry and it looks like the capacity this pretty thing offers is perfect as a compliment to my machine. What's great about it is that you can simply hang it off a nail. That means it can be easily moved to hang beside a fire place, in the laundry room and even outside. The only thing is, it's way too pretty to hide away in the basement!
The Weekend Project
Top: Mud Room drying station from EngineerADebt-FreeLife Blog; Bottom: homemade drying rack from SimpleGreenFrugalCo-op Blog.
Are you super committed to air drying but refuse to simply go out and buy yourself a rack? Feast your eyes on these elaborate creations. I'm always amazed at how handy some people are... The chap from Engineering a Debt-Free Life was inspired by the rise in natural gas prices and his wife's sever allergies to the outdoors, to transform their mud room into this full-on laundry house. I guess this kind of custom drying luxury you could really only build yourself. It wouldn't be worth it if you had to pay for it. And I love how he puts it "I bought a few materials and used some leftover lumber " - ha!
The lady behind the basement drying rack had her hubby indulge her drying wishes with a rack that can hold a quilt -- yes, a quilt! And yet, it's surprisingly compact and makes great use of scarcely available space. A good tip I learned: use a single piece of rope to snake through the holes. That way, if you need to tighten it in the future (and you will) you only need to untie one knot and pull!
Just Because I Like It
DR-1 Drying Rack by 365/Hero Design Lab
Last I checked, it's not yet on the market, but look at how darling this is! Harking back to one of my favourite decades, the 50s, (OMG Mad Men is starting!) I couldn't resist adding this indoor/outdoor beauty to the mix. I love how simple it is and how it manages to remain a decorative and pleasing object over and above its function. It's rust-resistant and can be easily moved from place to place via those delicate (yet sturdy) wheels, and it would make me really, really happy. I'm keeping my eye out for its retail debut, and I'll keep you all posted.
Are you a fan of air drying? Have a good tip to share?