I know that “beloved” and “clothesline” are not usually words that you see together in the same sentence. But I really do love my clothesline. So far, of all our home improvement projects thus far, the clothesline and the reverse osmosis water filter are my favorites.
Steve built the clothesline for me in a few hours. It has 4 parallel lines, approximately 20 feet long each. I can fit two full loads of laundry on it, as long as there are no bed linens in those loads, since those take up a lot of clothes line real estate. He didn’t have to use cement around the posts, since the sand (aka dirt) is soft and deep enough in our yard that he could just dig to a depth that keeps the posts stable. The lines are positioned at about 6 feet high, which is perfect because I don’t run into them all the time, and when they sag with the weight of the wet laundry, they still keep everything off the ground.
My clothesline is also a great habitat for wildlife, apparently. There are little spiders on it everytime I use it. I think that they see these long, long lines of cord and think “oooh! Sweet! Half the web already built for me!” I figure they’re eating bugs, so I just move them when needed. Geckos also love to hang out on the clothespins…I assume they are hiding from my carnivorous cat. So far, I have had no issues with birds pooping on the clothes as they dry. We put the clothesline on the one side of our house that is not covered by trees, so that probaly helps. The only negative is that I get absolutely eaten alive by mosquitoes during the summer when I go hang the clothes in the morning, but they are little mosquitoes and the bites only last about 24 hours; less if I got AfterBite on them right away.
It does take more time to hang clothes on the line than throw them in the clothes dryer. But, I have found that I really enjoy my time out there. I am outside, which is (almost) always a great thing. Even if I get hot and sweaty from hanging clothes in the summer, well, at least I’m getting more vitamin D, right? It is quiet; there is no email, no cell phones ringing, nothing to clean. It is a 5 or 10 minute respite from everything else going on that day, and I really enjoy my little break for solitude.
Laundry used to be my least favorite chore. I would rather scrub toilets than do laundry…but not anymore! See, if you forget about taking the clothes off the line…they don’t get wrinkled! Heating elements use up a lot of household energy; evern “warm dry” vs. “hot dry” uses quite a substantial amount of energy. I get my clothes dried for free–and the dryer is not heating up my house. Everytime I go gather the clothes in the afternoon and they are dry and HOT from all that great Florida solar radiation, I think, “what a waste! All this excess solar energy, cranking up the Earth’s thermostat…the least we could be doing is drying clothes with it!” Plus, as Steve pointed out, people pay money for detergent companies to add scents and flavors like “summer breeze” to their clean laundry…we get that for free!
Through trial, error, and observing how the Amish people dry their clothes (I figure they’re probably the American experts on clotheslines) I have come up with some hints and tips that can make line drying easier and more successful.
- If you live in a humid climate, put in your wash load right before you go to bed so that it is not musty by the time you need to hang it on the line
- If you live in a humid climate prone to afternoon rains, make sure that you hang your laundry by about 8 am so that it has time to dry thoroughly and you can get it in before the rains hit; I usually try to remember to have it in by 2 pm in the summer
- hang shirts upside down, with the bottom hemline pinned to the clothesline
- hang lightweight collared shirts and blouses by the collar, attached with about 4 clothespins
- if you can avoid it, don’t double socks up…one sock per clothespin is best
- hang pants and shorts upside down, too, by their bottom hemlines
- hang sheets over one or two lines, but make sure that you pin the edges to the clothesline (see picture above)…I had to rewash a couple of sheets that blew onto the ground before I figured that one out!
- make sure you get the clothes back inside the house by evening, or they will get damp with dew
- morning sun and afternoon shade is best for clothes so they don’t fade as much (at least, this is a consideration in FL)
- put really heavy things, like bath towels, closer to the posts when possible rather than in the middle of the clothesline
- if your clothes get rained on, you can either leave them out there till they dry, or bring them inside, put them through the spin cycle on the washer (depending on how drenched they are) and then use the clothesdryer..I have only had to do this 4 times since April, so it’s not too big a deal
- if you want, you can fold things as you take them off the line
- you can categorize things as you hang them…I usually try to hang all the socks together, underwear together, t shirts together, etc. because as I fold them while I take them off the line, they are much easier to stack into the correct piles in the laundry basket and thus easier to sort into the correct drawers; maybe I’m neurotic about this, but it does make things easier in the long run