Friday, May 15, 2009

Laundry on the Line

Drying clothes on the line is one of my favorite things about a return to warmer weather. There is nothing like the look and feel of clothes and linens that have dried in the sunshine. And the smell -- oh, it's wonderful.

Sure, there are drawbacks -- like having to run out and gather in the clothes in a sudden downpour. (But secretly, I enjoy being out in a summer rain, so even that isn't so bad.)

Another drawback is the time it takes. I have a clothes-tree in an unused corner of the yard. It holds two loads, so that's my maximum number of loads in a given day. (Which means no more marathon laundry sessions? Remind me of the downside of that again??)

The positives are easy to list. Pinning up the clothes gives you time outdoors, it keeps you in tune with the sounds of the birds and the feel of the fresh breeze blowing through the trees. Sunshine is free, unlike the gas and electricity it takes to run my clothes dryer. The time it takes to line-dry my clothes gives me time to reflect and think deep thoughts, to watch the children playing in the yard, to be grateful.

Of course, I imagine there are those who prefer the feel of machine-dried clothes and smell of fabric softener to fresh air. If you're concerned that your jeans or towels might not be as soft if they're dried on the line, try tumbling your clothes for 5-10 minutes before hanging them out. They will dry wrinkle-free and gorgeous. Or, you can give them a short tumble in the dryer after you take them down from the line to help the fibers in your towels, for instance, soften up. Either way, you're saving energy and money.

At our place, the return of line-dried laundry is the return of summer simplicity. We bike to the store instead of driving. We spend our days outdoors. We swim at the pool instead of dragging ourselves out the door to school every day. We grill out and visit with our neighbors on the sidewalk as our children ride their bikes up and down the street. We pull fresh produce from the garden. Lazy, simple summer days.

It all starts with the warmer weather and the clothes line. Now I find I'm checking the calendar and starting the end-of-the-school-year countdown.

Those easy summer days can't come soon enough.

- Midwest Mom


  1. I agree! there is nothing better than the fresh smell of laundry hung outside to dry. Going back as far as I know my entire family shares this tradition. (and it saves money!)

  2. Lovely post. Summertime thoughts! I used to hang my laundry out all summer until we moved. I don't have a clothesline here and don't really have a good spot for it. I miss that! Thanks for the reminder of the simple joys of line-drying.

  3. I am a teacher, so I start counting down even BEFORE the kids do. I can't wait until school is out to do all those things, and to have time to read and blog every day. At least until tomato canning time. I haven't ever had a yard with space for a clothesline, but my new yard has lots of trees and fence posts to tie a line to. That would be fun, except on a day like today when it is pouring.

  4. Such a lovely image - all of it! I do love sheets dried on the line. And, I'm sure clothes smell wonderful, too. However, I hate to iron....

    I'm on that countdown to summer, too.

  5. I love my clothes lines--no big secret. I love that I can hang and leave them and I love scheduling chores with the weather forecast!


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