It’s finally Spring! Along with gardening and simply more time outside, this means we can start hanging our washing out on the clothesline again! Clothes dryers are one of the biggest users of energy in our home. Complete energy hogs! In our ongoing effort to be more environmental, I instead try to throw things on the line when I can and let nature do its thing.
One of the things I remember most about going to visit my Grandparents (other than the chocolate and coconut cakes that were always waiting for us!), was the clothesline out back. I still love the feel and smell of sheets and towels that have been dried outside in the sun and breeze. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a crispy, super absorbent line-dried towel to soak up all the water after a shower. Bliss.
We actually have two clotheslines. One is a retractable line drawn across the length of our basement. It’s for items that we don’t want to put in the dryer during winter or rainy weather. And just for convenience since our washer is in the basement (which I loathe by the way). The other one is outside.
Nearly every Australian has a clothesline outside. Since my hubby is an Aussie and I grew to appreciate clotheslines when we lived there, we bought one shortly after we bought our house in the U.S. We have a cheaper version of a Hills Hoist in our back yard and I’m pretty sure we are the only people in our neighborhood who have one.
I love it. Honestly, it makes me happy just seeing it in the yard. There is something methodical and zen-like about hanging clothes on the line and taking them down again when they are dry. Something slow and earth-connecting. I can’t really explain it, but I love doing it.
There is nothing difficult about hanging clothes on the line, though there are a few things that I learned from hubby and my mother-in-law and through my own trial and error.
8 Tips for Hanging Clothes on the Line
- Turn clothes inside out to help avoid sun-fading.
- See #1, unless you are trying to get out a stain or whiten something – then hang it so the sun can work its magic.
- Hang shirts upside down so pegs/clothespins don’t leave marks on the shoulders/sleeves.
- Give your clothes a good shake before hanging and most wrinkles will be avoided, especially on a good, windy day.
- Overlap items, slightly, in order to use fewer clothespins and fit more on the line.
- Hang your unmentionables on the inside lines to avoid sneak peaks at your undies. Or, if you live in a busy area, just do like I do and dry those inside!
- Buy plastic clothespins if you plan to leave them outside. If you buy wooden ones and leave them out, they will get moldy. Mine did and I haven’t tried to clean them yet. I’m lazy about bringing mine in, so I just got some plastic ones.
- Give each line a wipe down before using it (if you go a while without using it) in the Spring as it will have gotten dirty over winter and will leave dirt marks on your clothes/linens. I learned this the hard way on some clean sheets!
It’s best to do your washing in the morning, so you can get it hung up early, giving it ample time to dry. But hey, that’s another plus to me. Forces me to get the laundry done.
I often wonder what people think of me when they drive by and see me hanging clothes or linens or see them flapping on the line in the back yard. I mean, we live in the city. It’s not even a suburb, much less farm-like. It’s pretty urban. And the only other places I’ve seen with a clothesline near me are the projects. So, there’s a definite stereotype about them.
What do you think about clothes lines? Weird? Old-fashioned? Frugal? Environmental? Hippie? A sign of poverty? Would you get one or do you have one already? I’d love to hear about it!