Posted by: juliegirl | April 13, 2009

on the line

There’s nothing like clothes on the line. Nothing like the smell of sun-dried clothes on your body, nothing like seeing the wind do the work of your dryer for FREE. There’s also the satisfaction of knowing that less energy is being used to keep the household running. Well, more of my energy was used, but I guess that’s what I’m all about these days. More of my personal time and energy, fewer non-renewable resources used to make my life good. I am a completely renewable resource each morning, so it works out fine.



I don’t have enough space for a permanent clothes line, so I decided to pick a solution where I can dry clothes a load at a time  and then take down the line. I needed a big enough line to hold roughly what you see above and I also wanted a line that could completely hide but be accessible whenever I needed it. No hitching up something complicated every time. I hit upon a three eye-hook, carabiner solution. 

Laundry Hanging Tips

Tip #1: Don’t hang things from the top of the garment. Drape about 3 inches of the bottom of the t-shirt  or the pants cuffs over the line and pin. This puts the heavier part (usually including the sleeves or waistband) at the bottom, pulling wrinkles out. 

Tip #2: Double up. It dries in about the same time. 

Tip #3: Don’t put wooden pins directly on delicates. They snag. Hang a towel or hankerchief over the *item* and pin that way. (This has the secondary benefit of keeping your underthings private, in case you care about those kinds of things.)

Tip #4: Get acquainted with the neighbor’s barbecue schedule. Nothing is worse than freshly line-dried clothes…smelling of ribs. 



I’m committing to dry every load on the line this month and I’m going to check my energy bill to see if the word on the street is true: apparently you can save 20% in energy costs by drying your clothes on the line. 

The first load, hung at midnight with a flashlight, was a delight. The cold laundry draped across my arm. The rough feel of clothespins held in my mouth. The interesting work of making sure everything fits, layering like colors, and hiding underthings beneath larger, less delicate items. The unmistakable connection to a shared past of women who made these same motions, the same bending and reaching and pinning and heaving through necessity, not choice, over the generations. 

We’ll see how delightful the rest of the loads are when what used to take 30 seconds to load in the dryer takes 15 minutes to hang on the line. 


Modern conveniences mostly are designed to save us time, and what occurs to me is that saving one resource (like money or non-renewable energy) sacrifices another (like time). But what I lost last night in time I made up for today in money–hopefully my energy bill will be lower. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t waste resources that can’t be renewed. And, of course, at 5:30 this morning I stumbled outside, remembered the midnight clothesline episode, and plunked down with my coffee to relish the moment. Feeling connected to the air and the sun and how useful and good they are…priceless. 


Experience it for yourself here:




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