4 awesome clothes drying racks for your house

retractable clothesline
© Urban Clotheslines

These are some seriously innovative ways to hang-dry clothes.

For my birthday last year, my parents showed up with all the materials needed to assemble... get ready for it... a backyard clothesline! To answer what you're likely wondering, yes, I was happy with the gift. (Seriously, I was.) I'd been making do with folding racks and wanting a real clothesline for years.

Never in a million years did I think I'd get excited about clotheslines. Maybe that comes with starting a new decade. But after spending some time perusing the internet, I've discovered a whole host of fascinating clothes-drying options that go way beyond the basic backyard line. There is a marvelous website called Urban Clotheslines that sells line-drying systems in categories that range from 'family' to 'couples' to 'single.' Check out some of these beauties:

1. Seven Lath Gismo Ceiling Clothes Airer

7 lath gismo clothes dryer© Urban Clotheslines

This cool clothes rack features seven slats of wood, held together by cast iron ends. It works on a pulley system, which lowers the rack for loading up to 66 lbs of wet laundry, and then raising it to the ceiling to dry. Up high, it uses "the naturally warm rising air which becomes trapped in the ceiling space of your home," and it's also conveniently out of the way.

Assembly is supposedly to be easy -- "no expensive handyman fees to install" -- and the company says you'll save yourself more than the cost of the Airer within a year, if you avoid using a tumble dryer.

Seven Lath Gismo Ceiling Clothes Airer, $170

2. InstaHANGER Fold Away Clothes Dryer

InstaHANGER clothes dryer© Urban Clotheslines

This nifty invention is multipurpose. Its most basic form is a plastic panel that mounts to a wall, flips open, and reveals a chrome steel bar on which to hang up to 50 lbs of laundry on hangers.

It can be combined with a second panel, spaced 4 feet away, with an additional bar that stretches between the two panels. This provides more hanging and drying space, while functioning as a closet, as well. The intriguing part of drying clothes in this way is that they're already in the closet; there's no added task of putting the clothes away.

This kind of super-compact, discreet clothes dryer is perfect for people living in smaller spaces.

Single panel InstaHANGER Fold Away Clothes Dryer, $23

#3. Hills Supa Fold Duo Folding Frame Clothesline

Hills Supa Fold Duo Folding System© Urban Clotheslines

The fanciest clothes drying system I've ever seen, the Hills Supa Fold is designed to be mounted on a wall, and then folded down flat when not in use. It has 10 lines for hanging laundry, which can be replaced individually if needed, totalling nearly 70 feet of hanging space. The manufacturer offers a 10-year guarantee. The price tag isn't for an uncommitted clothes-hanger, but for those who do it religiously, it's far cheaper than a tumble dryer. Smaller, more compact sizes also available

Hills Supa Fold Duo Folding Frame Clothesline, $357.87

#4. Stackable Sweater Drying Rack

sweater drying rack© Urban Clotheslines

Have you ever hand-washed a sweater, only to struggle to find a place to put it afterward? This rack features breathable netting, which keeps your sweater flat while allowing it to dry. You can stack another on top to maximize drying space. Foldable version also available.

Stackable Sweater Drying Rack, $30.92

These are just a few of the interesting options offered by Urban Clotheslines. I already have an idea for what I might want for my next birthday, coming up soon...

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