Dorm Clothes Line





Introduction: Dorm Clothes Line

Stick it to your boarding school dryer monopoly by constructing an easy to build clothes line. It pays for it's self after only a few loads.

Step 1: Consider Your Situation

Are you a penny pinching boarding school student? Do you have rope? Do you have a means of creatively attaching that rope across your dorm room? Can you save money on drying your laundry?

The answer is yes.

Clothes lines are old fashion technology and usually work best outside on a sunny day. After a little experiment we found out they work inside just fine too. Even in winter, as long as your dorm isn't absolutely frigid you can still dry your clothes for free. I'm not kidding, no really... I go to boarding school in Northern Maine only a few miles from the Canadian border, it's COLD! However, with a little ingenuity and time you can still have an effective clothes line.

Here is a picture of one of the clothes lines we've put up in my time at school.

Step 2: Setup Your Room?

It's quite possible that your room may already be a good candidate for a clothes line. Dorm rooms are all incredibly different, we have uncommon 15 foot high ceilings in our dorm. The higher, the better. Also, consider making the line go diagonally across the room to maximize space.

Make use of standard dorm room furniture and appliances such as wardrobes, book shelfs, loft beds, and even refrigerators. Anything with some height to it. Another thing that may be overlooked are window shades. My first clothes line was attached to the window shade and ran lengthwise along my room where it was attached to a wooden chair atop my wardrobe. Sketchy? Yes. Effective? Surprisingly.

Here is a picture of the first line I put up, it was originally intended to just supplement a load of clothes which had been dried once already (our dryers are pretty terrible). The chair at the end was attached with more clothes line which ran down the side of the wardrobe and was weighted down. The end of the rope was also pulled underneath the wardrobe.

Step 3: Get Rope and Go to Town!

I bought some actual "clothes line," at the hardware store, but any rope you want will of course be just fine. Remember too that the more you scavenge from your college campus, the less time it will take to start saving money on drying. The second line we put up, we used 2x4s that were attached to our loft beds. This got the line fairly high, but not so high that we can't put clothes on it! Also, the line is in full view of the window which helps on sunny days.

This year, I live in a triple so we wanted the absolute most space on the line possible. Our original design looks something like a square with two diagonals cutting though the middle. This maximizes space on the line, while still keeping the whole thing contained to only half of the room.

If you do decide to use 2x4s or something else that is long to achieve enough height, I highly advise screwing it directly to something solid if at all possible. However, sometimes the school doesn't always appreciate your creative money saving abilities and frowns upon screws in their furniture. You can always lash your poles to the furniture or (as always) use absurd amounts of duct tape.

Step 4: Reap the Benefits

Now that you've successfully put up a clothes line you'll notice a few changes in your life. One being that you'll have an extra buck or so in your pocket after doing laundry! Another plus is the smell. After hanging freshly washed laundry your room will smell glorious compared to all of the other smelly rooms on your wing. In the winter, it even makes your room slightly warmer by holding the heat in the air. For those of your who stay up late, it dampens sound a lot too. So you don't have to worry about waking up your neighbors as much.

Now obviously it is a mild inconvenience to walk under the line while clothes are hanging but that is why placement is key. Surprisingly though drying times are fairly reasonable. You'll find that your clothes will dry at different rates, obviously jeans take a couple days. I never really have run into a problem with not having any dry clothes to wear.If you are really scared that you will, you can always count it out and cycle your laundry so there is always something on the line drying. However for most t-shirts and things if you leave them out for about 12 hours they're good to go. If it's a particularly warm day, you'll be surprised how fast your clothes will dry.

We calculated how long it would take us to pay off our clothes line for the year. The dryer price recently raised from $1 to $1.25. We split the cost of the materials between the two of us who use it. It costs $14 dollars for 4 2x4's and the clothes line was reused from last years line which had already paid it's self off.

14 divided by 1.25 is about 12 loads of laundry to pay off the entire line. On average we each do a load or more a week. So, in about two months we will have the entire thing paid in savings and we'll enjoy completely free drying for the rest of the year. Looking at our savings it takes about 6 weeks out of about 32 total weeks of school to pay it all off. So, assuming I do a load of laundry a week the line will save about $65 total which results in about $32.50 savings for me and $32.50 for my roommate by the end of the year.

Not too shabby...



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    16 Discussions

    do it any way and lower your carbon footprint!

    Would it be a terrible idea to air dry my clothes in the garage? I think I know the answer to this just curious what people think.

    1 reply

    Depends on the garage. Dusty, and drafty not a good idea. Oders that will impart on the clean clothes, again not a good idea.

    Me and a roomie did this at college, best money saver ever!

     Nope, this was actually taken at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. Funny that those rooms looked similar to Hyde seeing as this dorm was actually a middle school converted to dorms. Our ceilings were 10 feet high which is why this clothesline worked out so well. 

    During winter in Canada, winter can get pretty dry, so this seems to be NUMBER (fast U and rolled R are needs) 1!

    Good gods, did you really had to make an Instructable for that???

    ok. This is gonna sound like total common sense but a girl in my building made this mistake before. Do Not Tie the Rope from the sprinkler... ;3

    1 reply

    Cool use of existing materials, but is there a reason you didn't just get a free standing, folding, clothes airer? We live in a flat with no drier, and use the airer for all small clothes and the bannister for larger items like jeans. It works fine!

    1 reply

    We didn't use a folding rack because there is very little floor space in our room. Also, it wouldn't hold nearly the amount of clothes we dry on a weekly basis. I suppose you could use a rack if you wanted to walk around it for the day or so it was drying. The great thing about the line is once you take off the clothes, you forget it's there. I like your idea of using the bannister too. I used to shut the end of t-shirts in my dresser drawers and let them hang down. That works too.