Clothesline Time

by Daisy on 05/18/2009

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It’s time for me to start using the clothesline again.

Some stalwarts dry clothes sans dryer year round regardless of the temperature but I’m a fair weather clothesliner.

I’m opening up this post to your best tips and advice for air-drying laundry, indoors and out.

Technique, anecdotes, advantages and everything else.

Do you let your unmentionables sway in the breeze? (Extra points for giant grannypannies).

How about your favorite piece of equipment? (I am coveting this).

For you urban/suburbanites, problems with the neighbors, homeowner’s associations, etc.?

How do you ‘line?


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Cat Osbourne June 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Unless it is raining or beyond reasonably humid, the clothes are on the line. I proudly display my candy-colored undies for all to see, aimed right at the neighbors who are less-than-neighborly. I made a clothespin apron, which is way easier on my shoulders than a bucket or basket.

I. Love. My. Clothesline.

The weeks of rain we’ve been having, however, have made me distance that love. I long for a dry spell and a free day.

Cipollina June 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Yay for clotheslines! I hang everything from g-strings to sheets. It has never occured to me that undies could be seen as a problem. Maybe it’s a cultural thing? I’m in Italy – and undies are “just clothes” here.

To avoid having t-shirts sagg on each side and get funny marks from the pegs, I hang them double folded over the line at a bit above breast height. That way the peg marks disappear in your armpits, and you save a lot of time and energy ’cause you don’t have to press/iron. You just fold them nicely and put them in the bottom of the stack, and by the time you take it out to use it, it’s been nicely pressed by the weight of the shirts that were on top.

I also have a rack under roof that I use on rainy days.

Synj June 11, 2009 at 2:50 am

i grew up putting everything on the line.

my mom figured out that most things dry with less distortion upside down; pants, blouses, etc, so you don’t get pinch marks on the shoulders. long sleeves are tricky. for long-sleeves flat woven fabrics (blouses and dress shirts) we would put them upside-down and pin the sleeves up, too; for knits mom had a special rack that was poly-mesh on a slight incline.

linda June 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

i love my line… it’s short, only 2 sheets and 2 pillow cases worth… but hey, better than nothing… and YES my undies go up!!! if my daughter (who lives in town) comes when my sheets are up, she’ll wander by my line and bury her head in the sheets… deep breatheeeeee and smile… life is good!!!

Alice July 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm

You bet I use a line. I hang things out everytime I can. Things are softer when the wind is blowing, not enought to send you things over to the next county tho. I give things a good shake before hanging jus to help soften them. The smell is so great and last so much longer then the boughten softener. Getting into be with sheets fresh off the line is heaven. I made a clothes pin bag that looks like a little girls dress. In the winter if it is too cold or wet to hang outside I have a wooden rack by the wood stove and some hooks in the ceiling to hang from. The shower rod makes a good hanger for somethings too. Yes undies go up outside with all the rest. I use homemade soap to wash and vinegar rinse too.

Mary C July 17, 2009 at 9:14 pm

We recently took a trip through a Mennonite community and smiled at the clothesline going UP at an angle from house or post to a high pole. Very neat. There is NOTHING like clothes dried on a clothes line. Our basement is warm enough in winter to nicely dry things overnight even when it is too cold for this lady to venture outdoors to a line.

Vanessa August 30, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I use an old fashioned clotheshorse. I can move it around the yard to where the sun is. However, I covet a Hills Hoist (Google it to see how awesome it looks!). Me want…

Tomato Lady August 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Vanessa–Ooo! Have to check it out. Sounds sturdy.

Handful October 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I agree – there is nothing better than climbing into bed after a long day and smelling that sweet sun and wind captured in the fabric!

My sis lives in a fancy subdivision and I was shocked to hear she was not allowed a clothesline! Maybe some beach towels over the deck railing…. but I see their point… if YOU paid 1/2 mil for a house you probably wouldn’t want to see those huge grannypanties either!

My neighbor has a really neat wooden clothesline – when not in use it looks like a pergola – has maybe 2-3 lines on it.

Unfortunately a recent storm toppled my 60′ blue spruce and took my clothesline with it πŸ™

The cool thing now is you get a good chuckle at my clothes hanging all over the tree! Just have to be careful of the sap πŸ™‚

Oh and I use my shepherd’s hook to dry my “unmentionables”.

Hey – I live in the country – what can I say?

Michelle S. October 17, 2009 at 9:15 am

I’m like Synj, I pin up my clothes upside down, then the pin “dimples” are somewhere less noticeable. As far as the underwear goes, I have 3 clothes lines running side by side and I try to put the underwear on the middle line. Why offend the neighbors any more than you have to, ya’ know?

Em November 2, 2009 at 3:53 am

The lines the thing, but a pulley in the garage suffices for rainy days. The tumble drier shrinks everything as well as costing a fortune – but it can be very handy πŸ™‚ No one can see my line so my underwear offends no one! Not sure anyone would ever look and close though, and hey as long as they are clean right?! Here in Scotland washing on the line is often reffered to as ‘decorations’, so I think its just the colour and themovement folks see and not the individual items.

Victoria September 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

With 5 kids I have 6 clotheslines, each 50 ft. long! I will double up the socks, underwear, and rags on the clothespins, and usually just pin the rest of the clothes to another piece, for example using 3 pins for 2 shirts. We live right outside the city, so all the neighbors can see my pretty pastel granny panties as they drive by. Around here though, most have clotheslines so it isn’t really a big deal. πŸ™‚

Stephanie December 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Clothesline in the garage, a couple accordion-fold clothes drying racks, a dollar-store drying rack (the kind with a clothes hanger hook on top and a bunch of little clothespins dangling from it- GREAT for socks and baby stuff). Oh, and one great big pulley line in the back yard- for those days where it’s cooler than 105 and warmer than 35.

Does maternity underwear count as granny panties? Everything gets hung up. No housing association, and I don’t care what the neighbors think- unless they’re willing to subsidize my electric bill I ain’t drying them in the dryer.

Since I hate how stiff clothes are when dried on the indoor racks, I do toss clothes in the dryer on no-heat for 10-20 minutes after they’ve dried. Ta-da, soft clothes.

Stephanie December 17, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Oh, and save your money on the clothespin holder- take a plastic milk jug & cut a chunk out of it (on the top half opposite the handle), cut the handle near the bottom where it rejoins the jug, and stick a couple little holes in the bottom to drain rainwater if you plan to hang it outside. Hook the handle over your clothesline- clothespin holder that’s cheap as dirt and will last. If your neighbors fuss, tell them you’re “reducing your carbon footprint by re-purposing” it or some such nonsense. Yuppies eat that up.

Shari January 10, 2011 at 7:53 am

I LOVE it when God dries my clothes for free !! My sheets on the line also work very hard…..I’ll go out to gather them up, and will discover my miniature horses standing between the lines of flapping sheets, keeping the flies at bay !!!

Angie March 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I love the tips in the vintage Hints from Heloise- and if you grow berries, put the lines on the opposite side of the house ;(

Lori April 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I hang all our clothes on hangers and line the long privacy fence along our yard. They hang well at a bit of an angle so they get nice breeze and lots of sun.. then I occasionally go along and flip them if one side isn’t getting enough sun. Then when they are dry they are already on hangers and go strait into the closet. πŸ™‚

Colleen February 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Just stumbled onto this website and love it!

I wanted to share my laundry tips! This post might be rather long, but I hope its useful to someone!

I hang clothes outside when it’s clear and at least 60 degrees or breezy.

This time of year, though, I dry them inside. I had Hubby install one-inch iron pipe (salvaged, it had previously supplied water to my kitchen sink) between the side walls of my laundry room (he even thought to paint it white so it didn’t look like an old plumbing pipe and kind of was camoflauged against the white ceiling. It is a few inches from the ceiling so that clothes hanging on this drying bar, as I call it, are above the washer and chest freezer, parallel to and about two feet from the wall behind the washer and freezer.

And you know all those plastic shirt hangers and clippy hangers on which clothes are hung in stores? If the clerk asks if you want the hanger, say YES! I keep my clippy and shirt hangers on the drying bar, ready to receive wet laundry. (Located in my laundry/mud room, it also makes a great place to hang coats, using doubled or tripled hangers if needed, when we have a lot of company!)

I hang the lightest-weight (aka, quickest drying) clothes closest to the front, removing them when they’re completely dry and redistributing the remaining damp pieces to allow for more air circulation.

To access the washer or freezer, I just push aside the hanging clothes, do what I need to do and then reposition them.

In addition, I have put white spring-tension curtain rods in several doorways in my house — about one inch from the top inside of of the doorway. This is great for light-weight things such as cotton shirts, T-shirts and non-cotton socks, and allows items hanging on my drying bar to have more air circulation, thus drying more quickly.

By trial and error, I’ve discovered the best way to hang sheets and towels … A bath towel can be folded lengthwise and secured at the top by two clippy hangers; the towel will be hung vertically (Long items like this hang in between the freezer and the washer). Sheets can be folded in half lengthwise (so they are short enough to hang above the freezer and washer) and then folded accordion style with as many clippy hangers as necessary to take up the width of the sheet; the sheet will be hung horizontally above the washer and deep freeze.

I’ve also discovered that if you run out of clippy hangers, girl-style underwear (that is, with out legs) can be hung on a shirt-type hanger. Just put each “arm” of the hanger through a leg hole and let the crotch hang. Underwear hung this way, however, takes a little longer to dry (because of the folds in the fabric) than when hung on clippy hangers.

Drying clothes inside like this is great in the colder months because it puts extra moisture the air, reducing static and sinus/lung issues that crop up when heat in the house dries things out. (Having an old crock pot running 24/7 with water in it also helps; I cook about three quarts of water daily out of mine!) So, it’s good for your health, good for the environment and good for your wallet!

In the winter months, I can usually get a load dried in 24 hours, except for Hubby’s thick, long underwear shirts; if we need them quickly, I hang them first with clippy hangers secured to the hem (so the arms hang downward), then, when they’re partially dry in the armpits, put them rightside up on a shirt hanger. If I need to wash two loads in a day, I also use my wooden drying racks (along with the spring-tension curtain rods) for items that dry more quickly.

The drying bar and spring-tension rods also are lifesavers in rainy weather. Granted, things don’t dry as quickly as they do in the winter months, but they will dry; if needed, a fan aimed at the drying bar will hasten the process. On days that it might rain, I put my laundry on clippy hangers and carry them out to the clothesline, where I have positioned clothespins at 6- or 12-inch intervals, and put one hanger between each clothespin. That way, at the first sign of a sprinkle, I can quickly gather my already-hangered and partially dried clothes, carry them inside and hang them on the drying bar to finish drying.

When I dressed for an office job every day, though, I would toss my good clothes in the dryer for a few minutes just to eliminate the wrinkles and lint — then hang them immediately.

We’ve been doing this for over four years. Three years ago, when I lost my office job, we completely discontinued use of the dryer to cut down on expenses (a little lint can be taken off with a lint brush, and hair/fur comes off easily with cheap duct tape! And by the way, that colored lint that collects in your dryer … that’s your clothes!) Although he took a little convincing, Hubby is very happy with this my drying bar idea!

Laura Anne March 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I just wrote a post about bird poop on my laundry, but you can’t beat that laundry hung outside smell, so I will take the occassional bird poop. Totally worth it.

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