Drying Time

Author Photo
By Erin Sheehan

One of the first things we did when we moved into our urban homestead was put up a clothesline. We have a semi-shaded backyard, but it does get enough sun to dry our clothes, especially in the summer.

We’ve learned that clotheslines are considered a thing of the past. Although it is in our backyard, our clothesline is slightly visible from the street. One afternoon we overheard two passersby commenting on how old-fashioned and unusual they thought our clothesline is. Only one of our neighbors line-dries her clothes. Our other neighbors probably think we are crazy or at least unseemly, having our unmentionables out on the line for all to see!

We aren’t trying to evoke an earlier era or be quaint by drying out clothes this way. We’re trying to save money and use less fossil fuels. Why use electricity to do what the sun can do so well? I suppose one could argue that it’s more work to line-dry, but I appreciate the rhythm of hanging up and taking down clothes. I don’t find it a chore. On warm, windy days, I treat it like a challenge: Can I get two loads dry in a single day?

Line-dried clothes have a different quality than dryer-dried. Yes, the towels and jeans are stiffer. But only for a minute until you use them or put them on. You also have to watch out for insects. The other day Jim found a bee inside one of his socks just before he put it on! And being mindful of the weather helps, unless you want your wash load getting soaked by rain.

I encourage everyone to put up a clothesline. If you live where clotheslines aren’t permitted, try to fight it. You could have a lower electricity bill in your future!

Published on Sep 25, 2014