Drying clothing on a rack is cheaper and better for the environment than using a dryer, but the design of a lot of drying racks is far from ideal. IKEA’s Frost rack is a long series of bars that are horizontally parallel to one another, which maximizes the use for each bar. The closely-spaced bars allow me either to pack in small laundry or put sweaters and thicker laundry across two or more bars to let more air pass around it. On the other hand, many racks are situated with each bar immediately above or below another bar, so if you hang pants from the top bar, they hang down making all of the bars below them useless (i.e. wet). A few companies make potentially-good racks you hang from the ceiling, but they’re usually permanent, more expensive and not so nice to look at. The cheap Frost rack can easily fit an entire load of laundry, whether it’s socks or jeans, and it folds into a large, flat rectangle when not in use. A few racks can easily fit into the back of the closet.
I bought my first Frost rack when I lived in an apartment. But even when my wife and I moved into a house two years ago, we decided to get by without a dryer for a while, mainly to save money. To our surprise, it wasn’t difficult. It’s no problem at all in the summer, when we can supplement our drying with an outside clothesline on sunny days. During the winter, our two racks are in constant use (hint: put the rack beside or above heating vents or radiators to speed drying). We might eventually buy a dryer, but only to make it easier to catch up when we fall behind. I’ve been using one rack for about four years and bought the second about two years ago. I cannot tell which is the old one. They’ve held up quite well. Granted the rack is not perfect: it could be both wider and higher — tall people will have to stoop a little bit to use it. Still, it’s far better than any of the alternatives I’ve found.
One unexpected benefit: our clothing seems to last a lot longer. We’d never realized how rough the dryer can be on clothing. I have shirts that are a few years old I wear regularly and they still look new. I suppose all of the lint in the dryer trap has to come from somewhere.