Sunday, April 20, 2008

I've Been Waiting All Winter For This

A day nice enough to hang my laundry. Although the lady next door has hung hers out several times already, and one of my sisters hangs her laundry out year 'round -- anytime it's not raining or snowing.

Unlike my sister, I don't hang my laundry in cooler weather. We have an electric dryer and a converter to vent the warm moist air back into the basement during the winter.

Few things can beat sleeping on sheets that were dried outside. To me, there's also something peaceful, wholesome even, about seeing laundry swaying in the breeze. So much so that one of our factors in choosing where to buy a house was that it be in an older neighborhood where clotheslines are still allowed.

It seems that everyone who hangs laundry has their own peculiar methods. For example, my mom hangs shirts by the tails and jeans by the ankles. I hang jeans by the waistband and only hang shirts that will be tucked in by the tails. Some people like to sort their laundry as they hang it, putting all their towels together, all their t-shirts together, etc. I prefer to sort mine by the line. I use one line for Shane's clothes, one for mine, one for Kat's and one for the house (towels, sheets). Then I sort and fold them as I take them off the lines.

I'd venture to say that most of us wear underwear, but it seems some people are just too embarrassed to hang them outside. I usually don't hang our whites outside, either, but it's not the underwear that embarrasses me, it's Shane's socks. White socks in brown leather work boots all day get really nasty looking and the dye just doesn't come out. A large majority of our white load is made up of socks and kitchen towels, and a few t-shirts. I usually just pick the shirts out to hang with the next load and throw the rest in the dryer.

I know some people think softness (or the lack of it) is a problem with line-dried laundry, but we don't pay much attention to it. Even the stiffest of jeans will soften up after wearing them for about five minutes, and many of the wrinkles will fall out as well. Line-dried towels have an invigorating texture. And besides, we don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets, because we don't like the smell or the way it builds up on fabric, so we aren't used to ultra-soft clothing anyway.

In addition to that wonderful fresh smell, there are other benefits to line-drying clothing. Clearly, the free solar-powered dryer saves on utility costs. Clothing that is line dried lasts longer than dryer-dried laundry (think of all that dryer lint...that is your clothing literally falling apart from the heat and friction of the dryer). It's also good, cheap exercise. Carrying wet laundry up the basement stairs, through the kitchen and down the stairs on the back deck, then back in when it's dry is great weight-bearing exercise for me, since I have osteoporosis. Bending and stretching to hang clothing is good exercise for just about anyone.

OK, I'll admit that having a dryer is a convenience I'm not likely to give up entirely, but I'll glad give it up for 5-6 months out of the year. But don't even ask me to give up the washing machine.


Donna said...

I mix together, 1cup bleach, 1cup of dishwasher powder and let my whites (socks & underwear)(cotton) soak about 30minutes before I wash. Makes a huge difference on your Hubbys socks and cotton underwear...any white garmet. Have a fun night sweetie!hughugs

Annie Jones said...

Donna: Although I have to say that with a front loading washing machine, it may be a challenge. I don't relish wringing everything out before I put it in the machine, but if I can figure out how to get the laundry in the washer without a huge mess, I'll try it. It definite can't hurt.

Tug said...

I LOVE line-dried sheets & jeans... and I don't use dryer sheets either, unless it's something really clingy. YAY for wonderful weather!!

Annie Jones said...

Tug: It's about time Spring got here!