The blog post describes Alex’s attempt to save money on energy bills by hanging clothes outside to dry during the winter in the UK, using a rotary airer under a gazebo to protect the clothes from the rain. He experienced several setbacks, including the realization that the heating bill, not the electricity bill, was the primary concern, the clothes taking up to three days to dry in single-digit temperatures, and the rotary-gazebo airer failing during a storm. Additionally, Alex‘s dog used the gazebo as a toilet during rainstorms which caused problems. Ultimately, the author found that using a dryer was more cost-effective than the rotary airer method.

I am very fortunate that the current cost of living crisis in the UK only mildly affects me. It means I can afford to be creative when coming up with money-saving ideas without the consequences most would suffer if the idea didn’t work.

By the end of the summer of 2022 (I’ve just had 40-degree Celsius heatwave flashbacks, eurgh) the intensity of my generalised anxiety lowered to the point of being able to go outside and hang my washing out on my own.

I wanted to prepare for the winter ahead and the astronomical energy bills. After about ten minutes of solid googling, I discovered that the primary energy culprit in the home was dryers.

If I had persisted for at least ten more minutes of googling, I would have discovered that the electricity bill was not the one to be worried about – it was the heating bill. This was reason number one why hanging my clothes outside in winter was a terrible idea.

To deal with the 40-degree heatwave we set up a gazebo in the back garden. This was in a futile attempt to generate shade to keep me cool outside. Yeah, using shade to protect against forty-degree heat is like using a pair of wellies to protect your feet when crossing a river of lava.

We kept the gazebo up in our garden for the rest of the summer for all the non-40-degree days. When it was time to take the gazebo down a thought occurred to me “Why don’t I put up a rotary airer underneath the gazebo?” I figured it would protect my clothes from the rain and I hoped the wind would be strong enough to dry the clothes. Yes, it would take longer, but I realised I could leave them to hang up overnight.

I found out that I was correct…ish. The clothes do eventually dry in single-figure temperatures (Celsius), it just takes about three days. This was reason number two why hanging clothes outside in winter was a terrible idea.

Reason number three arose, ironically, on my third attempt of hanging my washing on the rotary-gazebo airer. A particularly vicious storm rolled through. So, erm, too much of a horizontal wind vector causes rain to bypass the gazebo shields. That is the best way I can put it. The clothes were wetter when I took them down compared to when I put them up.

Due to my inherent nature to persevere through problems, or more likely, my inherent pure stupidity, I continued using the rotary-gazebo airer method throughout the winter.

The only thing I learned was that it is quite perilous to put up the washing while it is dark. Not because there is anything dangerous about doing so. More, my dog has figured out that the gazebo provides a lovely shelter from the rain to do his erm… business.

I’ve only been caught once, but still, tiptoeing around underneath a crowded rotary airer smelling something foul but being unable to locate it with a flashlight is stressful, to say the least. Dog: 1, Me:-4.

The final reason this was a terrible idea, number five, was because of cost. Putting my clothes in the dryer for the entirety of winter would have cost less than the price of the rotary airer. In trying to save money, I ended up spending more.

I think this might very well be the worst idea I have ever had.

Still, I’m sure there are much worse ideas out there, right?