Posted by: juliegirl | May 23, 2009

ode to line drying

After one full month of not using the dryer even ONCE, I’ve become surprisingly accustomed to the rhythms of laundry day. Running the wash, remembering to add fabric softener during the rinse cycle, loading the wet clothes into a basket, rigging up the line, hanging the clothes, waiting for several sun-drenched hours, bringing the slightly stiff clothes off the line, and then folding them and putting them away. All just a part of life now.

I haven’t been annoyed not even once at the process, and that’s saying a lot for me.  I’m pretty easily annoyed at things that waste time and/or are kind of a hassle, which this is (compared to plopping the clothes right in the dryer and walking away). I didn’t freak when I found Oso lying  on a towel he’d dragged off the line and into the dirt. I wasn’t miffed when, minutes after hanging a load in the bright spring sun, the sky opened up and rained for an hour. I didn’t even blush when a friend came by and my undies were blowing in the breeze. (At the beginning I had tastefully hidden these underneath a pillow case or a towel, but by month’s end I’d lost all laundry modesty.)

AND, I was even more pleasantly surprised when I got my electric bill for the month.


Yes, I’m totally not kidding. My electric bill went from $120 a month to $60, all because of the DRYER. I conducted a fairly scientific study here, too. If anything, I used more air conditioning than the previous month because it’s been so hot lately. And you might be thinking, “there’s something wrong with your dryer. You should really get that fixed,” and you wouldn’t be the first person to bring this to my attention. But now that I’ve learned to live without the dryer, why get it fixed? I’m happy not using that energy at all.

In celebration of all things laundry-related: a poem.

Ode to Ironing

By Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Poetry is white:
it comes from the water covered with drops
it wrinkles and piles up,
the skin of this planet must be stretched,
the sea of its whiteness must be ironed,
and the hands move and move,
the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
and that is how things are made:
hands make the world each day,
fire becomes one with steel,
linen, canvas, and cotton arrive
from the combat of the laundries,
and out of light a dove is born:
chastity returns from the foam.




  1. Julie,
    This was the best reading. I didn’t realize you were so eco-friendly. Your items can air dry and still have a touch of softness if you add fabric softener to the wash. Try it and tell me the results. 🙂

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