Ask LH: Is It OK To Double-Peg My Clothes?

Hey Lifehacker, When hanging out the washing I always double-peg each item. That is to say, I use one peg per piece of clothing, and each peg shares with the item next to it. My wife thinks this is a terrible idea.

She says that this causes wet spots in the corners, but in the Australian sun, does it really? This method saves time hanging the clothes (less searching for pegs) and speeds up bringing it in by almost 50 per cent! Handy for avoiding sunburn. What's your take? And any other clothesline tips? Thanks, Jake The (Single) Peg

Clothesline picture from Shutterstock


Opinions on this have been known to vary — even within our own office. Personally, I'm a big believer in the double-peg approach for all the reasons you've listed above. By contrast, Angus reckons it's a sucky method; especially if you're using an indoor clothesline in cool weather.

They key is to ensure minimal overlap by placing the peg at the furthest corner of each item of clothing. While damp patches still occur, their surface area won't be large enough to linger and will typically dry out in the cupboard without attracting a musty smell.

The only way this could be a hassle is if you needed to wear something as soon as it comes off the line. Even then, it's usually a tiny, invisible splotch that you can barely feel against your skin. If any readers disagree, feel free to back up JTSP's wife in the comments section below.

As for other clothesline tips, some obvious ones that spring to mind include folding as you go to save time, keeping the pegs in a bag over your shoulder and giving wrinkle-prone items a good shake before hanging them up. Also make sure that none of your clothes are folded over in the middle, as this will cause far more dampness than the double-peg approach.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Jesus, I can't believe this is even being written about...!
    Ok, it's simple, using JTSP's method uses half the pegs and makes removing clothes quicker. As for the occasional damp spot that may be left if you need to get clothes in quickly, it's just a damp spot, it won't kill you or cause any issues. It will dry quickly enough in the clothes basket or closet. My tip... Don't stretch T shirts or stretchy items out too far it can cause them to lose their shape or permanently stretch elastic etc...
    This isn't rocket science people, people have been pegging clothes out to dry for millennia...!

    Last edited 21/01/14 2:42 pm

      And now I can't believe how many comments this story has attracted. Clearly a big issue!!

    Are you mad!??
    You have to use your wife's method... no matter what it is!
    She's always right... even when she's wrong... well that doesn't happen... not in this universe.

    Go find some snakes to play with if you need excitement... jez....

      Sometimes I like to use 5 or more pegs per real reason except to annoy my wife. When you have been married for as long as I have you need to make your own fun sometimes.

    1 peg per item, no overlap. There is no requirement to hang it all in pretty even rows.

    I know some people who insist that the colour of the pegs has to match the colour of the clothes. Me, I don't care how it gets hung on the line so long as it gets done, especially if I did all the sorting and washing part already.

      I have many friends that get twitchy when the pegs are all different colours which used to make me laugh until I saw how good it looked. I would go crazy trying to match the pegs to the clothes.

    Instead of pegging up shirts, take the coat hangers out and put them on those to dry. Use wire ones so you can bend the hook smaller in case it's windy and they're in danger of ending up in the neighbours yard.

    They dry flat, and you can just grab all of them off the line and transfer to the closet in one go. Whoosh.

      This is brilliant in theory, but I reckon wind would prove problematic even with bent hooks. I'll give it a try on my next wash and report back.

        I shy away from that method, and wire hangers in general because they cause divots in the shoulders, especially in t-shirts, and especially if you do it while the shirt is still wet.

      I used this method. Every time I pick a clothing out of my wardrobe, I leave the hanger on the empty side. Whenever I do my laundry, I take all the hangers from where I left them out with me, therefore I will always have the right number of hangers. On one end of my clothesline, I have a thin line/rope with one end attached to whatever the clothesline is tied to, and a carabiner on the other. When I'm done hanging all my laundry on hangers, I take the carabiner end of the line, and pass it through the middle section of all the hangers and clip it to whatever is at the end. This prevents the hangers from flying away on a windy day.

    I always used to do this, except for small stuff like underwear and socks. This was also in the new zealand sun, yet I never had any trouble with it.

    I'll take an each way bet. I use both methods, depending on material. Heavy materials and clothing like jeans and jumpers I single-peg, t-shirts and socks I double-peg.

    Not sure about the claimed 50% increase in speed, though. You're not un-pegging 1 peg for every 2, but 1.5 pegs for every 2 (i.e., for every 2 items of clothing, you're using 3 pegs instead of 4).

    As to whether it is OK ... depends on how much "winning" a debate with your wife will cost you :)

      Don't know about 50% but it's definitely faster. Good point with heavy items too, I always hang heavy items with two pegs... :)

      Agreed. Unless I'm told I'm doing it the wrong way, then I'll do it the "right" way.

      Actually you'll use (n+1) pegs for every n items in a row (e.g. 8 pegs for every 7 items), not 3 pegs for every 2 items. Much closer to 1 peg for every 2 than 1.5.

        Someone just HAD to bring out invariants! (I was going to if someone else didn't!)

    I need to point out that if you hung all those undies vertically, you could save a lot of line space.

    Yes I'm in an annoying place lately. Sorry all.

      I totally agree: I'd never waste two pegs on a pair of undies, I always hang them by the side seams, which not only saves space on the line but saves holes forming in the crotch.

    Depending on the size of the load i have to peg out i will either use 1 peg per item or 2 pegs per item (not sharing pegs).

    The OCD in me used to obsess about the pegs... the colours mainly and making sure that NEVER could the same colour pegs be used on the same garment, if it was a two-pegger garment. And the same colour pegs could not be used adjacent to each other either, even if on different garments. And the colour of the pegs had to be as far away on the colour-wheel as possible from the garment being hung. When I got to the point where I was "worrying" about the colour proximity between the strands on the clothes line... and searching online for the biggest and widest variety of peg colours... it was time to admit that maybe I had a problem... at least one problem. ;)

    I now live a happy peg-free life and employ free-hanging for my clothes drying needs. Luckily I have a big shed not used by cars and strung up many meters of green plastic covered wire between the roof rafters. My clothes are now hung freely without need for pegs. And I figure they also get the added benefit of no UV so less fading.

    "Cool story bro..."

    Last edited 21/01/14 7:21 pm

      But you do miss out on the benefits of direct sunlight:
      - Kills germs
      - Fades stains
      - Deodorises

        In Brizzy, clothes can become quite crispy if left in the sun and fade quite alot. If there is a choice, shade is better for me.

    When I used to live in a flat, my downstairs neighbour clearly didn't like the way I hung out my washing. She used to rehang it with the socks in pairs, all the underwear in one section, shirts in another etc. If I left it out too long she used to bring it in and leave it on my doormat in the washing basket. My girlfriend was mortified, but I thought it was great!

      Re-organising your clothes, that seems a bit strange.

      Bringing in your clothes I can understand if it's a shared line, and she needs to use the space.

      I'm guessing you are now in the habit of leaving your washing basket with your clothes?

        Washing basket/floor/back of the chair. They're all pretty much interchangeable these days.

    Unless you live somewhere cold and miserable like the UK or Melbourne in winter, double pegging is not an issue. In most of Australia it is so hot and/or dry the clothes dry out no matter how you hang them.

    Can't believe I am even writing about this.

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