I’ve recently started hanging all of my laundry outside on a clothes line to dry. It’s a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way of doing the family wash. My cottons are crisp and fresh-smelling, my whites are whiter, and I know my clothes will last longer. But that’s not all. Here are the top ten advantages I’ve found to using a clothes line:

Save money on your energy bill.
Using the dryer adds approximately $1500 to your energy bill over its lifetime. It is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. Having ten kids, I do between three to five loads of laundry a day and it feels great to save money by hanging each load on the clothes line after it’s washed.

Save money on bleach and dryer sheets.
The sun is a natural whitener, so no bleach is needed. By drying on the line you also eliminate the need for dryer sheets and their chemical perfumes. Besides, the clothes never stick to each other.

Burn calories.
I’ve never been a big fan of having a regular exercise routine (not something I’m proud of), so I’m always looking for way to burn a few extra calories throughout my day. I can burn approximately 130 calories per hour when I use my clothes line.

Get your vitamin D.
Studies show we need from five to thirty minutes of sunlight on our face, arms, back, or legs twice a week to help our body produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our immune system fight illness, so with flu season approaching, it’s important to make sure we get enough sunlight. Hanging clothes on the line is a great way to do that.

Stretch your clothing budget.
All that lint you have to clean out of your dryer every time you use it?  Those are little, tiny parts of your clothing being consumed by the dryer each time they take a tumble. Hanging them to dry preserves your clothes so they stay looking new and crisp longer.

Contemplate your family members.
I’ve noticed that without my specific intention, my thoughts turn to each family member as I hang up their clothes. Hanging loved ones clothing on the line gives me time to contemplate, ponder and even pray for them. I love using this time to think about how I can be a better mother and wife.

Commune with nature.
The soul delights in the feel of a light breeze, the song of a bird, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the seemingly boundless blue sky. Spending time outdoors hanging laundry can relieve stress and help us center ourselves.

Spend time with your kids.
Every morning when I go to hang my clothes out, I call my three little boys to come and play. They run around, throw the football, or chase the dog while I hang the clothes, often running back to me to receive encouragement or tell me something funny. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.

Get that “fresh scent”.
Laundry detergent manufacturers spend countless resources trying to reproduce that “fresh air” scent. Hanging laundry outside makes your clothes smell great naturally and chemical-free.

Embrace your domesticity.
As I hang my clothes on the line, wearing my apron to hold my clothes pins, listening to my little boys merrily run past me, I think of times of yore when things were simpler, families were closer, and times more innocent. Hanging my laundry gives me a feeling that I can take back control of my hectic schedule, organize my time to save money and help the environment, and embrace my role as one who lovingly cares for the needs of her children and husband and strives to make her home a lovely place to be.

So the next time you take your clothes out of the washer, contemplate hanging them on a line and embrace the advantages of nature helping with your laundry.