Clothes on the Line

Sheets flapping in the wind

Sheets flapping in the wind

I was going to write about drying clothes on the line as a lost domestic art.  I am not so sure that is true.   If your time is limited, do you want to spend the day tending clothes on the line?  Have you ever experienced clothes dried outside, If not maybe there is nothing for you to loose if you never had it.   Houses no longer have clotheslines in the backyard, so the opportunity to try it doesn’t exist.   So maybe it is a dying opportunity not necessary a lost domestic art.

Growing up my mother hung clothes out on the line.   They would stay there for hours until it was convenient for her to bring them in.    It was a way of being thrift, by not running the drier.   It was also freeing as once they were on the line my mother could do other things until she was ready to work the finished laundry.    I would argue that putting clothes on the line was a great time management technique for her.   Some days she would hang the laundry out early and take off and shop for groceries and run other errands and the clothes hung there until they worked into her schedule much later in the day.

I love the smell of clothes dried on the line.   I try to put out one load daily.   Lots of folks hesitate to put towels out for fear they will end up rough.   Lucky for me I have wind that howls most days and they end up as fluffy as if they had run a cycle in the clothes drier.  The sunshine also helps to eliminate any “sour” smell that might come from towels and washcloths hanging damp in  your bathroom.   As to shirts, the wind pulls out wrinkles in shirts.   No meeting the drier and pulling them out one at a time and putting them on hangers.

This summer it has been a bit of a challenge because I was constantly dodging the smell of smoke.  Fortunately for me, if I got my clothes out on the line early, and my wind was anywhere near normal, they took less than a hour to dry.   They were in and back in before the afternoon smoke rolled in. There were only a few days my system did not work.

I am starting to think about the changes of season and how the days of clothes on the line will come to a close, not anytime soon fortunately.


7 comments on “Clothes on the Line

  1. I have loved line-drying periodically in my life but haven’t been inclined to use one in the past two places of residence… in Wyoming it was so dry and windy that the dirt from the road dirtied the laundry before it dried and now in North Carolina, Nothing Dries because of the humidity! There is, however, nothing better smelling than line-dried sheets – sigh, something to miss.

  2. I LOVE the smell of clothes off of the line- My POS old, cheap line is now in a crumpled metal mess. I really, REALLY want a good ole fashioned, sturdy 3 – strand clothes line in the back yard….big enough to hang king sized sheets. Your post brought back my longing for a clothes line. Now I just hang clothes off of the deck.

  3. There is nothing like clothes fresh from outside, especially sheets! My mama still uses her clothes line and was pretty adamant about it electricity savings. I miss my clothes line! I had one until we moved into our new house. Digging holes for posts into the side of a mountain is rather difficult and I hate to put that burden on my husband. One of these days I may change my mind…

    • We live on a pile of rocks and if you get through that it is solid clay so hard you have to use a pick axe to break it up. It took my husband every night after work over a week to make the holes for mine. We are now both thankful for the effort, but during the process he tried to talk me out of clothes lines.

      • Lol! It took my husband about as long the last time I had him dig some. He did ours with a old screwdriver (chisel) and hammer. I envy your clothes lines 🙂

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