Laundry Love

by Wendy Copley on August 19, 2008

Getting ready for the new baby

A few weeks ago, on the way home from work, I heard this story about hanging laundry out to dry. I thought it was an interesting story over all, but the part that really struck me was the second half of the piece where they discuss how millions of Americans are banned from hanging their laundry out to dry by their homeowners associations because it looks “low class” and it’s “unsightly.”

Unbelievable.

I’ve written about hanging laundry out to dry before but that was before I fell totally and completely in love with it, so I think the time is right for me to write about it again.

I love hanging our laundry out to dry.

I love it.

I find it to be calming and pleasant and almost meditative.

I love being outside in the fresh air and sunshine when I’m doing a chore that should be drudgery.

I love the system I’ve worked out with the best way to hang each type of clothing. Shirts are hung upside down so that there aren’t clothes pin pinches at the shoulders. Socks are hung by the toes so the elastic doesn’t stretch out.

I love giving each damp item a sharp snap to get the wrinkles out before I hang it. And I love that when I pull the clothes off the line they don’t need to be ironed. And don’t forget that fresh, clean smell.

I love that we save money on our electricity bill. That it usually takes less time to dry a load on the line than it does in our dryer. I love that it’s green.

I love the connection it makes me feel to the past. Whenever I hang clothes it makes me think of my grandma doing the same thing 50 or 60 years ago and all the other women who have hung laundry through the years. And though I know they would likely envy my electric dryer — especially in the winters and on rainy days — I kind of think that maybe this was one chore they didn’t mind so much because I don’t mind it so much myself.

And I love how it looks. I love to see the clothes drifting up and down in the breeze. I love how our porch feels like a cozy little room when we hang up big sheets and towels that make “walls” (as Wyatt calls them).  I love hanging like items up all in a row (yeah, I know it’s compulsive — I’m like that) and how it looks neat and orderly. I love seeing my family’s clothes hanging up like little pieces of their personalities. Caring for the clothes they like is one way I show my love for them. And how can I see a robot ninja t-shirt or a fuzzy monkey suit or a geek t-shirt without thinking about the fellas who wear them and how much I love them?

That woman who said that hanging laundry out to dry is “unsightly” must be cold and hard and miserable.

Underpants

Monkey clothes

Socks

I do still hate the crunchy towels though.

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  • If I have the outdoor space, I would love to hang it…hehe

  • If I have the outdoor space, I would love to hang it…hehe

  • Maj

    Awww! What a sweet post! And I love the photos…
    I wish I could pull it off here, but the tiny yard is heavily shaded by a bird-filled tree. Maybe I should try to swing something off the back porch.
    Can you get a whole load up at once? Otherwise, what do you do with the wet stuff that’s waiting so it doesn’t get icky?

  • Maj

    Awww! What a sweet post! And I love the photos…
    I wish I could pull it off here, but the tiny yard is heavily shaded by a bird-filled tree. Maybe I should try to swing something off the back porch.
    Can you get a whole load up at once? Otherwise, what do you do with the wet stuff that’s waiting so it doesn’t get icky?

  • Hey Maj — We have our lines strung between the posts on our back porch. It works really well for us, but I can see how a bird-filled tree could complicate things. We can fit a whole load up on our lines at once. Sometimes it gets really crowded, but when that happens, I usually can either hang things so they aren’t spread out so much (a t-shirt can fit into 1 foot of line space or 2 feet, for example) or we also have a hanger thing that we have up on our shower bar so we can hang things inside.

  • Hey Maj — We have our lines strung between the posts on our back porch. It works really well for us, but I can see how a bird-filled tree could complicate things. We can fit a whole load up on our lines at once. Sometimes it gets really crowded, but when that happens, I usually can either hang things so they aren’t spread out so much (a t-shirt can fit into 1 foot of line space or 2 feet, for example) or we also have a hanger thing that we have up on our shower bar so we can hang things inside.

  • First off – your laundry looks amazing! Seriously! Second – I can’t believe that certain neighborhoods “ban” hanging your clothes up. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the country, but I can’t imagine such a thing. My grandfather always said that my mother hung the nicest laundry he’d ever seen – we always took pride in the compliment. Like you we have a system – shirts upside down, snapping the jeans to get the wrinkles out first, and hanging the socks by the toe. Underpants and bras get hidden in the middle section of the line – no one wants there undies out for the world to see! Towels never get dried – we can’t stand the crunch either. Once again – beautiful laundry and an awesome post!

  • First off – your laundry looks amazing! Seriously! Second – I can’t believe that certain neighborhoods “ban” hanging your clothes up. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the country, but I can’t imagine such a thing. My grandfather always said that my mother hung the nicest laundry he’d ever seen – we always took pride in the compliment. Like you we have a system – shirts upside down, snapping the jeans to get the wrinkles out first, and hanging the socks by the toe. Underpants and bras get hidden in the middle section of the line – no one wants there undies out for the world to see! Towels never get dried – we can’t stand the crunch either. Once again – beautiful laundry and an awesome post!

  • Hanging out washing is an old past time here (I’m and Aussie), and it’s a great activity for both my daughter and I. She loves to ‘help’ me hang out the washing by placing pegs at the bottom of towels and other items she can reach, and counting/naming colours of the pegs is also a great game!

    Lovely photos too 🙂

  • Hanging out washing is an old past time here (I’m and Aussie), and it’s a great activity for both my daughter and I. She loves to ‘help’ me hang out the washing by placing pegs at the bottom of towels and other items she can reach, and counting/naming colours of the pegs is also a great game!

    Lovely photos too 🙂

  • I’m staying in a house I renovated for the owner, who’s a family friend and in his 90s. One of the things I vividly remember of this house when I was growing up was an aluminum spinning clothes-drying “tree” that’s still here.

  • I’m staying in a house I renovated for the owner, who’s a family friend and in his 90s. One of the things I vividly remember of this house when I was growing up was an aluminum spinning clothes-drying “tree” that’s still here.

  • Lucy

    Great photos! I couldn’t imagine not being able to hang clothes out to dry! Here in Australia a ‘Hills Hoist’ (or a spinning clothes drying tree, if you like) in the backyard is a given. There is nothing like the smell of fresh laundry. There is a definite system – shirts upside down, undies, socks & bras in the middle section, darker clothes hung inside-out to stop sun fade… It also gets a bit of use as play equipment when you’re a kid – you take a running jump and hang on to swing around or get a sibling to push you while you hang on for your life! My clothes line gets used every day & each time I hang a load up, I think of all the money I’m saving on our electricity bill.

  • Lucy

    Great photos! I couldn’t imagine not being able to hang clothes out to dry! Here in Australia a ‘Hills Hoist’ (or a spinning clothes drying tree, if you like) in the backyard is a given. There is nothing like the smell of fresh laundry. There is a definite system – shirts upside down, undies, socks & bras in the middle section, darker clothes hung inside-out to stop sun fade… It also gets a bit of use as play equipment when you’re a kid – you take a running jump and hang on to swing around or get a sibling to push you while you hang on for your life! My clothes line gets used every day & each time I hang a load up, I think of all the money I’m saving on our electricity bill.

  • Farah

    Hi!!

    i need to know the brand of the monkey clothes…i´ve been searching for it for ages!!! i´m from Argentina, and we haven´t gt that brand here!!

    i´ll appreciatte if somebody could answer as soon as possible!!

    Thanks!!

  • Farah

    Hi!!

    i need to know the brand of the monkey clothes…i´ve been searching for it for ages!!! i´m from Argentina, and we haven´t gt that brand here!!

    i´ll appreciatte if somebody could answer as soon as possible!!

    Thanks!!

  • Hi Farah — The monkey clothes are from Gymboree.

  • Hi Farah — The monkey clothes are from Gymboree.

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  • John

    Here in Islip, NY a lot of people uses clotheslines

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