I’ve been saving this adventure up for a rainy day, folks.
It’s true, and there’s actually a really simple reason: every time there’s a sunny day, I spend all my free time out at the clothesline — and this summer in drought-plagued Michigan, we’ve had a lot of sunny days.
(Sultry summer sun, meet my never-ending mounds of laundry!)
It’s finally rainy (or, rather, damp — but I’ll take it!) now, though, so here goes. . . .
I love, love, LOVE line drying clothes.
When I was a teenager, hanging the wash out to dry was one of two chores (the other was practicing piano) that I used as an excuse to get away from all my other — ahem — more unpleasant chores.
(Yes, my chore list as a teenager did occasionally include shampooing the carpets in the family cars. Yes, I am a better woman for it. No, I do not now shampoo the carpets in my own cars.)
Hanging clothes on the line is, for me, one of life’s simple pleasures. The warmth of the sun, the cool damp of the soft clothes as the wind whips them against me. . . . I can’t believe some people consider this work.
There are, of course, many practical reasons for an old fashioned girl like me to haul her heavy baskets of wet things out to the clothes line (weather permitting, as it isn’t today).
- It saves money — and if you have three young children and a whole heap of laundry like I do, it saves lots and lots of money.
- It’s easy on the environment.
- It makes my beds and closets smell like a linen-scented Yankee Candle (only nicer and less chemically).
- It gets my towels good and crunchy — and extra absorbent. (Fabric softener is to towels as Rain-X is to windshields.)
- It gets me outdoors and moving around (at least as far as the clothesline and back) on even the hottest, sunniest days.
- It can be really good exercise — especially when (as occasionally happens) I have several loads nearly dry on the line just as thunder clouds begin to boom on the horizon.
- If I hang things just right, the wind will do my ironing for me.
- Line-drying is supposedly easier on clothes and makes them last longer (something to do with less lint being sucked out of them with every dry cycle). I know there is a variety of opinions on this, however, and I’ll readily admit that the sun can bleach out colors and wear out elastic.
- If I happened to live in a neighborhood full of hoity-toits (I don’t), it would really annoy them, and hoity-toits really ought to be annoyed. (I’ve never had any real-life neighbors say anything negative about my passion for clotheslines . . . to my face, at least.)
- No matter where I live, hanging clothes ensures that the whole world knows that I must be (a.) really hip (hippie, hipster, just plain hip . . . take your pick) or (b.) really old fashioned. (Hint: I’m no hipster.)
Really, though, in the end, I hang clothes because I love it. It’s pleasant. Fun, even. Watching a line full of neatly pinned clothes I hung myself dance themselves dry in the wind is deeply satisfying.
What’s more, it makes me feel connected to people like Ma Ingalls (real but literary) and Grandma Mac (real and wonderful and related to me) — and to all the many, many generations of women who have gone before me, relying on the sun and wind (not the gas and electric) to get their laundry crisp and dry on wash day.
Are you a line-dryer? Or not? I’d love to hear why you do it . . . or don’t do it!