Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Hang It-Grateful day 19

Line drying clothes should be making a huge comeback except Homeowners Associations are very opposed to the clothesline. I can see they could be unsightly if they are the old T style posts with permanent lines with clothes pins on them. I think those are yucky and the pins get dirty.

A long time ago there was an art to hanging clothes and your sheets went on the outside and your undies were hung on the inside so as to not be tacky. Line drying sheets is a way to really save some cash on the electric bill. I don't have room now for hanging sheets, but I do have a line on the patio for hanging items of clothing that I do not want to put in the dryer...shrinkage is first and foremost in my mind. My clothes have a tendency to "shrink" on their own and do not need any help at all in that direction.

One of the dryers with square lines and a center pole would be my choice these days. I used to have regular lines with T posts and four lines. Before hanging clothes the lines had to be cleaned with a damp clean white cloth so no dirt was transferred to the laundry. We had a little bag for pins that slid along the line as clothes were hung. It was a metal and cloth contraption and handy as all get out. The clothes were taken outside in a laundry basket. We did not leave pins on the line. It was tacky and also they got dirty and could ruin your laundry with dirt marks on it.

Hanging clothes had another plus in staying up on how your neighbors were doing. It seemed we all hung laundry the same day mostly and we chatted across the fence while working. It made the time go faster and was a pleasant pastime. Now my fences are made of wood and I can't see my neighbors that much. Nobody hangs clothes anymore so no chatting over the fence, either.

On the days we did laundry everyone kept an eye out for rain clouds. I've run out and gathered laundry so many times when it would start to sprinkle. If it rained a LOT, then the clothes had to be rewashed and hung again. Also, if a blue norther came in while I was out the clothes would freeze, and there isn't a real freeze dried option with a bunch of wet clothes. That is what it is.
Blue northers come from the north or northwest with a line of blue/black clouds followed by really cold weather. I haven't seen one in a while, so maybe they are due to come back again. Sand storms were another weather condition to strike horror in the hearts of women whose laundry was on the line. There were lots of sand storms in the fifties when I was growing up. It was a time of great consternation when that happened, because everything had to be rewashed and the house cleaned to get the sand out. I don't miss those at all.

I found this site while looking for background and actually there was an email detailing how to hang laundry a while back, but I didn't find it. Here is the link to Texas Mama's blog. I think everyone who read it loved sheets that had been line dried. I did, too. Especially if they had been ironed after being brought in. But line dried sheets smelled so wonderfully clean, and if they hadn't been ironed they were wonderfully scratchy a little. Texan Mama has a bunch of pictures of some fancy lines with gears and such. There is also a picture of a woman using a 2x4 to prop up her line of clothes in the middle so they didn't drag the ground and get dirty all over again.

When I was young my family was pretty large. Three children and the two of us could generate a good bit of laundry and ironing. I was a happy woman when fashion turned to polyester, especially for kids and husbands. I wore my share, too. You didn't have to iron it and that was such a wonderful release from the ironing board. Ironing is a whole other story for another time. There are many tips about that. About that time our dryer started getting more and more of a workout and they art of hanging clothes on the line dropped off to not that often. I didn't use the pinning technique she shows on her blog. We used one pin on one side and on the other two garments and one pin. That made the pins go farther and the space on the line was utilized in a good way.

Oh yes...I am truly grateful to have a dryer and not feel too guilty using it to dry our clothes. I have two indoor hanging racks for the clothing I do not care to put in the dryer. Ooops there goes the ding on the dryer signalling the clothes are dry.


  1. my husband and I were talking at length this morning about line drying clothes! I miss that urgency to get them out of the rain, that "WAY" to hang them so there are no marks, sunbleached sheets, cursing a bird that poops on your favorite shirt!!

    also, thank you so much for your words on my blog today. I get so riled up and angry and upset about very few things in life, but finding some happiness with my boy when it comes to holidays is really up there on my list of Beautiful Things About Motherhood, and when people get in my face (thing one that I hate) and tell me that something is wrong (thing two) I about lose it!

  2. That was the way clothes were dried for ages and I had helped many times to wash the iron clothes lines wires off with a wet rag. And we hung the underwear and holes in the toes socks on the line closest to the house so the passersby couldn't see them. It saves a whopping amount of electricity or natural gas.

  3. I am thankful for my dryer but love the smell of sheets that have been dried on the line. Used to dry everything outside when my kids were young and we lived on the farm and the sheets always went on the outside of the lines! I have an inside dryer rack I use sometimes, too.
    I have never frozen the rolls, Amber, but see no reason why they would not freeze well once cooked. When I make them for Bob and me, I make half the recipe. They don't last long. Have a good weekend.

  4. As a child I loved the "job" of hanging the laundry outdoors! But I look at old black and white photos and see evidence of the rainy days when the laundry was hung inside on racks and indoor lines and chairbacks - by a very tired young mother who was not smiling into the camera. I still love wooden clothes pins and keep them around the house - constantly inventing uses for them!

  5. The dryer is one of our biggest energy hogs.
    However, this year in Arkansas, my April wash would still be on the line waiting for a sunny day.
    While I know dryers eat the cloths up for that lint is just part of your clothes that no longer cares. Still, I do love the oonvience and the softness of dryer clothes. Guess I am hooked.

  6. Thanks for the birthday wishes it was such a fun day and you know I'm stretching it out for as long as I can (at least through the weekend). I loved your post, ideed their is a right and wrong way to hang out clothing. I love to see sheets and quilts hanging on the line, really is homey and comforting.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.