The Simple Dollar had an article today about clotheslines, and the ‘poverty perception’ thereunto.
First, I was outraged at the very suggestion that a clothesline has a ‘poverty’ connotation! Mostly because I was using clotheslines today! Harrumph! The very idea!
Then, I had to admit that there was a time when I, too, thought clotheslines were somewhat…less than classy. And that when one of my back-fence neighbors put up a series of enormous and also permanent clotheslines and promptly began leaving sheets and towels on them morning, noon and night – even in the rain! – I made grumbling noises about it.
I got over it. His estimate of $0.35 per load is about what I came up with; I generally run between seven and ten super-sized loads a week, let’s call it 8.5 on average, which comes out to $2.975 a week or $154.70 a year if I were to line-dry all my clothes. Which I don’t. In the winter, I only dry the first one or two loads on the line, and the rest in the dryer.
Sometimes all of it in the dryer, if it happens to be raining on Laundry Day. Or, frankly, if it is wicked cold outside – on those days, any heat I can generate inside the house doing chores is a good thing. Let’s make pies! And soup! And extra bread! Anything that heats up my kitchen works for me!!
But in the summertime…it’s a different story. It’s getting to that time of year where clothes dry faster out on the line than they do in the dryer…and I don’t want anything generating heat inside the Den, thank-you-all-the-same.
We took two boating clamps, similar to these, and bolted them firmly to the house. Sometimes, I suspect the clamps are what holds that side of the house together.
On washing day(s), I take my clothesline and fasten one end to our big wooden play structure – there’s a handy beam perfect for the purpose. Then I run it across the yard, slip it onto the clamp, pull like the dickens on it to tighten, and then simply twist the rope under itself a time or two (or three, if I’m feeling nervous) to hold it. Repeat with the second clothesline, and I’ve got room for two average-sized loads of wash.
When everything is dry, down it comes. No permanent footprint in the backyard, and in the unlikely event that any of my neighbors were having a Fancy Pants Party or some other Event that would make my clothesline an eyesore…well, what clothesline? I don’t see no stinkin’ clothesline…
The biggest complaint we had about the clothesline was that the clothes were stiff as boards. My husband actually asked that I not use the line on his underwear or jeans due to the stiffness.
Found a way around it.
When the clothes you wish to soften up come off the line, put them into the dryer with a damp towel and/or half a softener sheet for five to ten minutes on low to medium heat. I’ll stuff my dryer with two or three loads worth of dry, but too stiff, clothes at a time to soften them up. Works like a charm, and no more complaints about sandpaper briefs.
It’s cheap, it’s environmentally friendly, gets you out in the fresh air and gives your clothing that ‘fresh air’ smell.
I’d do it even if my neighbors were the sorts who would recoil in horror.