Apartment Clothesline

Balcony clothes line

Has anyone missed seeing my laundry this Spring? Somehow, moving my clothes rack out to the balcony for the day just isn't as satisfying (or as efficient!) as some clothes pins and good old-fashioned clothesline!

I knew I would miss my nice clothes line when we moved from our country-ish Ohio rental house to an apartment in a Seattle suburb!

Yesterday was another beautiful, perfect sunny day, and we ventured out to the balcony. Several yards of old clothesline and a scissors in hand, the boys helped me rig up a baby clothes line across the balcony (top picture) and a short line up high for my Tibbe line.

Each section of the Tibbe Line is a foot in length and holds 7 hangers. In just a yard of space, I can hang 21 large items! The Tibbe line, clothes line, and hangers are completely removable. The line is hung on two hooks that were already up there! How providential! :)

Our lease said nothing about laundry regulations, we're on the top floor, and there are many trees around, so I am hoping that my efforts remain unnoticed.

Since we are on the top floor (and no a/c!) not using the dryer this summer will really help keep our home cooler, along with saving some money!

Do any of you have experience with line-drying laundry in apartment complexes? Tips, ideas, and advice would be welcome! :)

4 Fun Summer Uses for our Apartment Balcony


I have a tibbe line as wel:)
Looks like you've got the laundry situation all figured out!

I own 2 drying racks. One is tall with 4 levels and great for childrens' clothes or other small items. It folds up very easily and is hidden between a big cupboard and wall.

The other folds out more horizontally and is better for bigger items. Here in central europe they wouldn't think of making laws about hanging laundry on balconies since no one I know of owns a dryer!

When I lived in an apartment throughout college and the early part of my married life, I utilized my drying rack, as well as the shower curtain bar. Otherwise, I just used the dryer for things like socks and undies.


If they squawk about it, you could hang your things out at night and they should be dry by early morning. Also, if they freak out, you could put a retractable line in your apartment from wall to wall and just dry at night when you wouldn't mind having it all strewn about.

We lived in a neighborhood where you had to get permission before you even planted a little bush or shrub! One poor woman had stained her new little deck the "wrong color" (white) and they forced her to rip it all out and start over. We called the place "Little Berlin" because you'd see members of the "regime" walking up and down the sidewalks examining everything to see if any infringements might have taken place during the night. Yes, this was a purchased, free-standing home on land we owned. We just didn't read the fine print in the homeowner's association manual before the closing date!!!
Never again!


If i were to put my clothes out at night they would still be wet in the morning. Our humidity is so great at night. Even when it hasn't rained moisture drips off the house every day. So the clothes would be damp even after being out all night. So it would depend where you live if it would be advantageous to do that. Since Tammy is in Seattle, I am pretty sure they have loads of humidity being close to the ocean.


We live in the country in MS and are able to line dry almost year-round except when the pollen is so heavy that I can't dry outside because our clothes would be covered in pollen. I visited my brother in Madrid a couple of years ago and even in his swanky apartment building, each apartment had a line going out the kitchen window to hang clothes on...the kind that is on a pulley. That was kind of nifty! He also has a very tall drying rack. To make things dry faster, I aimed a floor fan at it. In my own home, I hang clothing on the hangars and then on door sills. I also mount a shower curtain rod above and in the middle of the tub to hang clothes on as well.

Anita in MS

Where did you purchase the Tibbe Line?

I"m glad you were able to figure something out. I know you enjoy hanging out your clothes and I would sure miss being able to do it too. I love hanging out clothes, I was doing it again for the first time this spring, but this week it is rainy... :(

~Tanya - mama to 5 with #6 on the way. :)

I'm planning to attach a couple poles to the corners of my deck to hang one from. I'm hoping to get it done this weekend & will post about it on my blog next week. Thanks for the info about the tibbe line, I think I need to order some of those. I'll mostly be drying diapers & kid clothes. Hubby doesn't like his clothes "stiff"



If you shake out your clothes (like three or four times)until they 'snap', it will take out some of the wrinkles and stiffness (especially in towels). Also, if you line dry then throw them in the dryer for even 5 minutes, it will usually take out the stiffness as well.
This works for me.

They work great because they are out of sight when not in use. It looks like yours is well-concealed with the patio barrier and being on the top floor I'm sure no one would complain. Our middle child is adopted from China and when we went there to adopt her, that is all you saw on everyone's balconies - laundry hanging everywhere. Much different than in the US.

Michele in No. VA

Your porch laundry line looks just like ours before we moved to our current rental. When we were in an apartment I had a little line strung up on the little 3 foot wide back porch patio. I hung a lot of ziploc bags and wet baby bibs on them as well as some delicate items I didn't want dried. But it wasn't long enough for me to hang many clothes and I couldn't leave anything in the yard, including laundry since our neighbor's kids were so awful they would mess with and destroy anything you left out.

Hope it works out for you! I'll have to look into a Tibbe line!

Mrs. Jo

If I understood you to say youre on the top floor with no a/c, I pity you this summer! I wouldent be able to stand it.

Although we have a yard our neighborhood association doesn't allow clothes lines. I bought a fabulous IKEA drying rack that adjusts small or large and will fit a large load of laundry. I love it. There are 5 in our family and we don't use the dryer. Good luck!

Here is a link to how I made myself a clothes line last summer. Maybe this will give someone an idea. It helps to be able to hang them to dry on hangers. http://brkostman.blogspot.com/search/label/Works%20for%20Me

We live in Tacoma. You won't really need A/C in the summer. Hardly anyone around here has it. We run a window unit in our upstairs for a couple of weeks in the summer, but that's about it. If the weather is like last summer you won't need the A/C for longer than a few days! Fans really do the trick around here and Costco usually has a good deal on "tower" fans.

I have been hanging my cloths out for a couple weeks now . I love the way that they smell and also tring to save every penny i can from my electric bill its been sky high. The only prouble is there is aunts real bad around here and there little tiny aunts and they march across the cloths line one tree to the other and use my cloths line to do it . when i get my cloths off the line i have to shake the little things off. any sugesstions on how to stop them?Im glad you figered it out to its nice to hang your cloths out instead of drying them.

Perhaps a bit of petroleum jelly around where it attaches to the tree? Personally, I use a lot of Boric acid on the buggers. Its cheap, and not so environmentally harmful, and not too toxic to those us without exoskeleton's.


I have lived in central Florida all my life and cannot imagine living somewhere that does not have a/c!(especially considering that some years it gets used through the winter) Ours was broken one summer(for a few weeks) and we were absolutely miserable

When we were in apartments, we had the problem of the coin dryer not fully drying the quantity of clothes that fit in the washer. And I did not want to pay to run the dryer twice. So, what I started doing when I emptied the washer was to hang up on hangers shirts and skirts and dresses and PJs, and hanging them on the shower rod. Then, I threw everything else in the dryer. So, you could always use your shower rod on rainy days, or just to expand your clothesline space.

I’ve never really enjoyed clotheslines particularly. Besides the time factor and the stiffness, I have moderate allergies to trees, grass, and ragweed, which would be aggravated significantly with wet clothes picking up pollen. So, if I wanted to cut back on dryer use, I'd start hanging some stuff up on the shower rod. Since that also has the effect of helping extend the life of the clothes, I've considered doing this again.

Heather (married in Aug '00, mom to 5 children ages 7 1/2 yrs down to 3 months)

I do have a backyard clothes line, but for winter I have a great drying rack from IKEA. They have several different kinds, which are very afforable and fold up nicely. The rack I have fits a whole load of clothes. I do believe there should be an Ikea your way. Jennifer

Hi Tammy,

I remembered reading this on the Small Notebook Blog:
http://smallnotebook.org/2008/04/22/honeyman/ The blog author lives in an apartment too.

I posted my first clothes on the line for this spring and summer last Saturday. We live in the country so I have a regular clothesline and also use a clothes drying rack some. I have been wanting something to hang clothes out that I have already put on hangers and am so excited to see the Tibbe. I'm sending my hubby a link to the site right now. I'd love to have one.

Debbie J.

When we lived in Japan for a year, we quickly learned the EVERYBODY did line drying on their apartment balconies! I quickly discovered that it was fast and easy, and even began to enjoy my little outings. :)

What I loved using over there were these plastic, round drying racks. They are full of built-in clothespins, and are perfect for all of those smaller items. They are just so compact, and you can either hang them on a hook, or just hook them onto your drying line. In Japan, everyone uses long rods (in fact, the apartments are built to accommodate the rods!), and so we would hook ours onto those.

I can't find any pictures of them, but these are sort of similar:
(Except that ours were circular, with the pins hanging around the edges and throughout the middle)

I did quickly learn to make sure that my items were very securely fashioned, though, because even though we lived on the ground floor, trying to get stray items picked up by the wind wasn't very fun! :)

We once had a clothes line, but it just didn't work well for us. We had a heavily wooded lot, so there were many different ways the clothes could end up "dirty" before they were dry. And, we all have pollen allergies, so even on days that the clothes weren't coated in pollen, bringing them in would at least make us sneeze.

I'm very thankful for a clothes dryer! And I'm glad a clothes line works well for some of you. We are so busy that a clothes line is difficult to keep up with anyway...watching for rain, planning ahead for rain, etc.

Ikea is my favorite source for laundry equipment.http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/laundry/10463/
There is a nice one in Renton,WA. I own the Frost rack and love how small it folds up for storage.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and tips! :)

I would love to get a little more bold and do a larger rack on my balcony, but wouldn't want to get told to stop and then have to stop completely! :)

I am thankful for a dryer, also, since there are just some stratches of rainy days, and I also completely understand climate and allergy concerns -- I dry our sheets and Joshua's clothes indoors due to Joshua's allergies. :)

I would hang my clothes up on hangers and put them on the shower rod, do it at night and they generally will be dry by morning.

I would take advantage of all I can with that tibbe line.... I have a regular pulley line out my back door, I wouldn't live without it. There is nothing like fresh smelling sheets...mmmmmmm

We just did the reverse...sorta.
When we were in Indiana I used my clothesline all the time. I used it for drying everything except dh's work clothes...which I didn't want to become faded by the sunshine.
Then we moved in to a tiny apt in Bethesda, MD where we were specifically prohibited from putting just about anything on the tiny balcony...including drying laundry...not even a drying rack was allowed. Sheesh. Have they even heard of global warming?
Now we've just moved into a grand house in WV and there are no neighbors and no restrictions on clotheslines.
I'm getting a rotary dryer (looks like a large umbrella skeleton) and fastening it to my deck, which is right outside the laundry room.
For the winter/rainy days, I'll be getting a retractable clothesline to install in the basement.
I've also looked at the IKEA website for smaller dryers, like to put wet, but still clean, dish towels on.
I LOVE using clotheslines instead of dryers!
Thanks for a great post!

Way to be creative Tammy!:) I'm happy you were able to enjoy some glorious sunny days too! Here in OH it's been lovely. I walked past some budding flower trees Thursday morning and by Friday afternoon, they were in full blossom! Your clotheslines look spectacular and I'm so glad you can have a piece of home with you in WA. -when I lived in a dorm in Scotland (fall 2007) I rigged up 3 clotheslines in the room with some yarn and it worked out beautifully! though it took awhile for everything to dry -still better than paying 4 dollars to dry!!! Take care:) I hope your toe feels better soon.


Since I commented last week, I thought I'd come back and add a link to our new 'complete laundry solution.' We bought a used w/d pair over the weekend (thank you craigslist!) AND I found the rotary dryer I've been wanting. Photos are included in my blog post -- follow the link above.

Yeah, I totally love using a clothesline!

BTW, I forgot to mention...we got that rotary dryer at Home Depot...though you might be able to find it at other home improvement stores.

I lived in Tijuana, Mexico for three years, without a dryer (Except the Santa Ana winds, occasionally!). The drying rack became my best friend. When it rained, I would bring it inside, and I would put it by a box fan. Get a sturdy one!

How do you prevent shoulder "bumps" when using hanger? I've always used a drying rack for those clothes that I don't want in a dryer.. but it takes a lot of space up in the laundry room.

If I have to use a hanger to dry a shirt, i turn the shirt inside-out so that the "bumps" aren't that noticable because they are indents instead of bumps. Hope that helps!

Thanks for the great ideas. I use drying racks to dry almost all of our laundry. We are a family of six plus I own a daycare. So, I do at least a load of laundry every day, with the exception of Sundays. When it is sunny outside, I use my regular clothes line, but when it is cold or rainy (which let's face it, is nine months of the year), I use these racks from www.clothes-drying-rack.com These racks are a bit pricey of almost a hundred bucks a rack....but they paid for themselves in two months time. They are worth their weight in GOLD. Since September 2009, I have only used my dryer 14 times. The first month I noticed a decrease in our electricity bill of $47 bucks, and then almost every month after that was at least a $45 savings off our electricity. I don't think that is too bad considering the amount of laundry that I do. The racks fold down into two inches in depth space and about 3 feet in length and will easily fit behind a door. When I am not using the racks they slide right between my wall and my washer/dryer. When in use, I keep them in the living room. I don't care if I have friends or anything over. We all have laundry, so I never freak out if they see it. In fact, most are fascinated by it and are amazed by how much laundry it holds. The advertising on the product states that it will hold 3 to 4 loads....however I have found it only holds 1 to 2 loads because I have a super heavy duty washer that can hold a bazillion things . If anyone has more questions, then please e mail me at da4994@comcast.net

Our climate is damp in winter months and line drying just doesn't work for us. It was sunny but cool here yesterday. I hung a bunch of socks out to dry at 9 am. Checked them at 3 pm. Still wet. Checked again at 7 pm after sunset. Still wet. Checked now. Still wet, or at least damp and certainly not wearable. No washer or dryer in house, no hook-ups even if I had a machine, and no money for a laundromat either. We don't even have central heat and air; all we have is a little wall heater thing in the kitchen/hallway (right across from the refrigerator-- how stupid is that?) There are no room vents. It pushes out heat in front of it, and warm air gets circulated as people walk around in the house. It's a little duplex and very outdated. Even the bathroom is tiny and cold, and stuff doesn't dry in there either. There's no room for a drying rack or line in there, either unless you want to hang yourself every time you go in to use the toilet. Hubby and I were both laid off 2 years ago and no longer get any unemployment help... and we are 'too well off' for food stamps so there's just no extra cash for the laundromat. No place to hang indoors so I guess I just have to allow 2-3 days to dry in the fall/winter months. However, in the summer, it only takes 2-3 HOURS. Lesson learned... only wash 3-4 pairs at a time and do laundry every day so that I have clothes to wear while I wait days for the clean stuff to dry. Not efficient at all. :(

Most people in Japan use clotheslines or drying racks. Some housing in Japan have a washroom fan heater. The heater of a washroom fan can dry laundry that is on a clothesline beneath. All outdoor clotheslines and drying racks of Japan are underneath an outdoor roof extension. These designs mean a tumble dryer is not needed. Tumble dryers are rare in Japan. In Japan, a person can be fined 10,000 yen for attaching a clothesline or a drying rack to a plant.

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