So you’ve been traveling, camping, you were caught in the rain, or maybe you’re just committed to handwashing your underpants??… but either way, you need some place to hang these damp duds and flinging them all over the dining room chairs is not an option. You’re in a pinch – what do you do? Make a clothesline.
You know that plastic grocery bag that you just used to tote your camping snacks? It’s about to get upcycled. MacGyver style. This is a simple hack and it will give you about 8 feet of clothesline. All you need is a plastic bag, a pair of scissors (ideal), or a knife (not ideal, but definitely more MacGyver). I came up with this idea when I was shooting photos for my post on making a crocheted hand bag out of recycled shopping bags. Here I’d created the plastic yarn for the photos, but as I don’t crochet, I had no use for it. Upcycle fail!
But fret not, my enviro-savvy friends, I didn’t chuck that baby out with the bathwater. Since we’re traveling, we always have a pair of newly washed underpants to hang, so voilà! This plastic yarn had a purpose after all. And it’s much lighter and easier to find than regular clothesline. It’s kind of a perfect travel laundry solution.
The process is simple and you can see step-by-step photos here.
- Lay the bag flat.
- Cut off the handles and the bottom seam.
- Cut the bag horizontally into 2-inch strips – which will be loops.
- Link the loops together to form a chain.
- Pro Tip: Tie additional knots along the line (this makes the loops shorter and keeps the line from getting tangled).
- Hang it between a couple of hooks.
- Hang your underpants on it.
Step 7 is very important. If you don’t hang your underpants on it, it’s just not a clothesline.
This line is pretty sturdy, though it’s not built for several years of use. Couple this with a door hook or a set of suction cups, and you’re good to go. Another nice feature is that you can adjust your length just by tying knots. If you need the line to be a little shorter, tie a knot and and hook that to your post. You can also add to the length of this line by incorporating loops from another plastic bag.
In this photo, you see I’m hanging my fleece and a pair of athletic pants. The clothesline had no trouble with this load. I could easily add 4 more wet shirts and still be confident in this line’s durability.
So there you have it! A fast, cheap, light, waterproof, semi-durable, easy-to-make, upcycled, clothesline. And if you find you don’t need its services anymore, you can always crochet a handbag out of it.