How to Build a Retractable Clothesline that Works Indoors

What You'll Need

Clotheslines provide space for laundered clothes to air dry as opposed to their being run though a clothes dryer, and a retractable clothesline is sometimes a good option. Use the information below to make a clothesline you can use indoors or out of doors. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, when making a retractable clothesline, you'll have one when you can easily remove when it is not being used.  

Step 1 - The Clothesline Spool

One good idea for procuring your spool is to use a utility cable spool that is often available in the electrical department of a home improvement or hardware store. Or, check with a computer cable installation company or a telephone system installation company for empty spools they plan to discard. Spools from these sources are usually available in a variety of sizes. The best size will be one that can hold thirty to fifty feet of telephone or computer cable. This cabling is typically the same size as a standard clothesline. If you plan to rewind your clothesline onto its spool after using the line, look for a spool that includes a crank you can use to wind the cable onto the spool.

Step 2 - Choosing Your Clothesline Material

Choose your clothesline from a variety of available ropes or lines you can buy at a hardware store or home improvement center. A small nylon line will normally hold more weight than a cotton line, but is more likely to stretch when it supports the weight of wet clothes that are hung on it. You might also use a wire cable or a length of telephone cable, but wire is more likely to rust and will be difficult to wind onto a spool. 

Step 3 - Choosing Your Clothesline Location

If your clothesline will be indoors, you'll need two locations between which your clothesline will be stretched. Install hooks on the walls of places such as the garage, carport, a large utility room, basement, attic, or even your kitchen will often work as a place to place your clothesline. Always install the hooks into your wall studs; otherwise, they will likely be pulled loose by the weight of the wet clothes hung on the line. Once you've chosen your location, measure and cut enough of the clothesline you have purchased to extend between these two points.

Step 4 - Attaching Your Clothesline to Your Spool

To attach your clothesline to your new spool, feed one end of the line through the grommet, or hole, you'll find in one side of your spool. Tie a large knot in the end of the line you've fed through the grommet. This will keep the line from slipping out of the grommet. Then, begin turning the spool to wind the line onto the spool.

Step 5 - Adding Hooks

After winding your line onto the spool, tie a hook or large clip on each end of your line. Choose a hook you can use to temporarily attach the far end of your line to the hook on one of your walls. This will keep the line stretched out when you hang clothes on it.