By Elizabeth Seward

One of the biggest eco-offenses families on Wa$ted own up to is running their dryer way too frequently, which raises their utility bill and their eco-footprint simultaneously. Dryers use an incredible amount of energy, coming in second place for the highest energy-consuming household item. Hang drying your clothing is better for the earth AND your wallet. However, you may not have known this before, but hang drying is also much better for your clothes! The heat from the dryer is remarkably intense and it strips the fibers straight from the materials in your clothing. After all, that IS why lint exists.

Think you may want to start using your dryer a little less? Here are some tips that should help get you started:

- Decide on a clothes line or a drying rack. Some apartment buildings aren't exceptionally open about the idea of a clothesline hanging out on your porch or balcony, and some neighbors aren't overly enthusiastic about seeing your underwear blowing in the wind. For these reasons, a drying rack is often a better choice. However, if you've got tons of outdoor space, go for the clothesline. Nothing beats that warm, sun-dried feel.

- Shake and smooth before you hang. It's always a good idea to shake your clothes out before you hang them to try. Also, smooth them out by pulling on all pockets, zippers and collars. One of the most popular arguments against hang drying clothing is the fact that the clothes dry with more wrinkles outside of the dryer, but those can be easily fixed through shaking and smoothing out the clothes beforehand.

- Hang them inside out and upside down. Dryers can fade the colors in your clothes and the sun can certainly do the same thing. Dry your clothes inside out so that any fading that might take place happens on the interior instead of the exterior. This applies to colored shirts, of course, because whitening your whites is never a bad thing. Hanging upside down will leave any marks from your clothespins in a less noticeable place.

- Make sure you have a strong line or rack. Nothing is worse than realizing that your clean clothes are now covered in dirt because you used a line or rack that wasn't strong enough. Don't hesitate to spend the extra few bucks to get something sturdy.

This is all best done during warm weather, but if it rains, don't worry. Many fans of hang drying claim that the rain actually makes their fabrics softer.