Posts tagged "laundry"

How can I reuse or recycle broken ironing boards?

Philip Mitchell Graham has left us another suggestion/excellent upcycle idea:

Ironing boards. One of the great monuments to inbuilt obsolescence is the common ironing board. They are designed to break after a few years, because the folding mechanism is made of cheap mild steel and the legs often buckle if someone places a heavy load of washing on them.

No matter, use a bit of fencing wire to lock them in an open position, then use them as light work benches in the studio or garden. Sure they are light, but many tasks do not need a heavy table. If you have a few of them, you have in effect a modular bench system that you can reconfigure with no effort. They are light enough to move with one arm which is very useful if like me, you find yourself in need of a bench when you have one arm full.

I suspect our ironing board will outlive us since we use it that rarely (in fact we were utterly shocked to find we had one – we thought it had gone to the furniture charity shop before we moved house). It feels really flimsy though so I suspect if we used any more than once a year, it would fall apart in a shot.

I like Philip’s mobile workbench idea. With a tablecloth over it, it could also be an emergency table for a party or bbq.

Any other suggestions? What about if it can’t be fixed with garden wire – any uses for the metal pipe legs or the board itself?

What can I reuse or recycle to make a clothes airer?

A couple of weeks ago on on The Really Good Life, I post my top 5 clothes line drying tips.

One of my tips is to use a clothes peg airer thing if possible – one of these things – it stops the little items taking up space on your main line and is easy to take inside if it starts raining.

Petra liked the idea and decided to make her own out of “some electricity pipe, an old iron coat hanger, some rope and pegs” – and that’s so great that I’m now adamant about reusing and recycling to make my own, once my current flimsy plastic ones break. And it got me thinking about making other line drying/clothes airing stuff too…

Have you made any clothes lines/airers/drying racks yourself, reusing and recycling old materials? What did you use?

Or have you fixed/extended a shop-bought airer to make it more suitable for your needs?

Any tips or advice for anyone else?

(Funnily enough, I was thinking about this a year ago too – I asked how to make a cover for my rotary airer so I could leave clothes out during occasional showers. It must be something about this increasingly moist time of year!)

How can I reduce my use of our clothes dryer?

drying-socksThis “Reduce This” follows on from Tuesday’s “How can I make this?” question: “how can I make a outside washing line cover re-using/recycling stuff?“.

I read a lot of green/simple living blogs by people in the US and it amazes me, utterly amazes me when people say that their local homeowners association or the like doesn’t let them dry washing outside on washing lines. It seems crazy to me that people aren’t allowed to take advantage of the great solar and wind-powered dryer that is the big blue room.

If you can’t dry outside – because you’re not allowed or because you haven’t got any outside space – what do you do to avoid using an electricity-guzzling tumble dryer?

Do you have any tricks to speed up the drying process (extra spinning? ironing?)? Are retractable washing lines the way forward?

How can I make a washing line cover using recycled materials?

washing-lineBecause nothing particularly interesting has happened in my life over the last few weeks – I mean, aside from us moving house after nearly a decade in the old place and my best friend Katherine giving birth for the first time (*hello 14 day old baby Joe!*) – I have been unduly excited by the discovery of covers for outside rotary washing lines.

They’re big plastic covers which sit on rotary washing lines, preventing the clothes from getting re-soaked every time there is a sudden but brief downpour — there are some clear ones that can be left on all the time, ideal for the UK where it goes from blistering sunshine to torrential rain and back again constantly throughout the day. I tell you – unduly excited – I can’t believe I lived three decades without knowing about them. It’s like the broccoli stalks revelations all over again.

The basic concept seems simple enough to make myself from scrap materials – I need a sheet of heavy-duty but flexible waterproof material, ideally clear, in the shape of my rotary line, some extra length to be sides (to stop sideways rain) and possible some cane or piping at the edge between the “roof” and the sides to give it some structure. We got a new mattress when we moved in here and I’ve kept the giant plastic bag that came in, which is a good start, and I’m tempted to befriend a local carpet fitter for some more similar stuff, which they get wrapped around the rolls of carpet. An old tent or gazebo covering would probably work too. Any other suggestions?

Has anyone made something similar for non-rotary washing lines? Once my eyes were opened to the concept, I started Googling around and found these Isle of Mull dryers which combine the cover and the hanging space in an inverted V-shape. Any other ideas?

How can I reduce washing powder packaging?

washing-machinesWe’ve had our first Reduce This email! Lindsey from SwirlyArts/Cuteable wrote:

I buy eco friendly washing powder but it always comes in tiny boxes unlike the bigger brands which come in huge boxes. I don’t want to start buying the ‘normal’ brands of washing powder with less packaging but am concerned that I am buying lots of the smaller boxes.

I know that Ecover do larger boxes of washing powder but I tend to buy the supermarket brand of eco friendly washing powder. The boxes do get recycled but I want to try and reduce the number of boxes I buy.

From my experience, big boxes of Ecover are difficult to find – it’s strange they don’t do refill like the do with liquid cleaning products… They can be ordered online though (I’ve seen places offering 10kg sacks) and depending where you get them from, it might be comparable in cost to supermarket brand products – but of course then you have to think about the delivery footprint…

Anyone got any suggestions or ideas?

(On the subject of washing powders, Ethical Consumer have reviewed a range of laundry detergents on the market in terms of their environmental impact – interesting reading.)