If you've never had the chance to hang your laundry on a line outdoors you are really missing out. Line drying your clothes is just as romantic an activity as it seems to be in pictures. It is one of my favorite things in the world to do. Surrounding myself in the smell of clean laundry invigorates me while the sound of sheets billowing in the wind seems to cleanse my over stimulated ears. And my hanging laundry creates an artistic installment in my boring backyard. There are many other reasons to line dry your clothes. Here are a few*:
- Electric dryers use five to ten percent of residential electricity in the United States!(Some say it cuts their electricity bill in half!)
- Save money (more than $100/year on electric bill for most households).
- Conserve energy and the environment.
- Clothes and sheets smell better.
- Clothes last longer. Where do you think lint comes from?
- It is physical activity which almost anyone can do.
- Sunlight bleaches and disinfects
My first encounter with hanging laundry in the real world was at a neighbor's home down the street. I was only about 7 or 8 and I thought that they must be so poor if they needed to hang their laundry! This stigma is changing and line drying laundry is quickly become the chic thing to do for those who care about the planet. That day, I also went and felt some of the clothes expecting to feel something akin to that commercial with the fabric softener bear. I was surprised when it felt stiff and hard. I have now learned tricks for overcoming that stiffness. Right before hanging the clothes snap them a few times by shaking them hard. Do it again when removing them. And hanging them so that the wind can continue to wave and snap will increase the softness. If it still isn't quite soft enough - especially on those towels you can throw them in the dryer for a couple minutes. I've never felt the need to do this but maybe if guests were coming in town I might make an exception!
Something I hate about laundry is the mountain of clothes it makes after I dump them all out on my bed or sofa. In fact, sometimes this mountain is so overwhelming we start just dressing ourselves out of the laundry basket for a few days until we finally break down and fold the laundry. With line drying that step is completely eliminated because I fold each item as I take it down so that it's ready to go straight to it's proper place once I go inside.
Once you've started putting up your laundry you'll start to develop some tricks for quicker drying or more discreet placement. I, for one, like to put my underwear towards the inside behind my other laundry so that neighbors get to enjoy billowing sheets not bras!
In the end, hanging laundry is a spring and summer activity that I look forward to and enjoy. It gets me outside and enjoying the weather and it makes me feel happy knowing that this enjoyable activity is helping save resources that are really in need of saving. So whether you rig up your own clothesline, use an existing one, or buy a new one - I'm sure you'll find that it fast becomes a treasured quiet time to reflect and enjoy mother nature's best resources!
*List of items comes from Project Laundry Website.