Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old-fashioned clothes lines. Drying for Freedom.

The environmental blogosphere is fond of promoting line-drying over using a clothes dryer. I dry our clothes outside, but don't have a clothesline; I use the patio furniture after Em moves it to the middle of the yard. Our patio furniture resembles metal screening, enabling air to blow from below and above. That's where I set my sweet potatoes to "air" before curing.


So, some things I lay on the table, some things I lay on the chair seats, and long things get hung on the backs of the chairs. Shirts/blouses get hung on hangers and the hangers get hung around the table edges. The patio furniture even lends itself to using clothespins to hold the clothes in place if the day is particularly windy.


We don't have T poles, and the fences around the yard (which belong to our neighbors) lack the ability to stand on their own through a good wind without any strain. I had a never-used clothes line that I bought several years ago and when No. 1's hemp-string clothesline broke I gave it to her along with a bunch of clothespins. That clothesline also broke recently and she called asking where I'd bought the clothesline because she was having no luck finding a replacement. So, I did a little googling on clotheslines and learned that the rope clotheslines aren't so common anymore. At Clotheslinesource.com, I found clothesline poles, retractable clothes lines, umbrella clotheslines, and wall-mounted clotheslines. No. 1's backyard already has the T poles, so all she needs is the clothesline. They don't sell them. Urbanclotheslines doesn't, either.

I lived in an apartment building with a patio in a blue collar neighborhood south of Chicago in the late 1980s/early 1990s. and one of the tenants complained to the landlord when I hung a few items out on the patio to dry, but I had no idea entire states had banned line drying.

Project Laundry List has a store, which doesn't sell them, either, but I watched their video about places that ban/have banned outside clothes drying. Another story about banning clotheslines here and a great trailer video for a documentary on the subject at Drying for Freedom. Who knew? There are a few places online where one can still buy rope clotheslines. Clotheslineshop sells a few. We're going to check out Walgreens and even Ace Hardware to see if ANY brick/mortar stores still sell them. If you know of a place, let me know.


Diane said...

I never dreamed it could be so difficult to find a clothesline. Sheesh. Here, they have them at WalMarts (I know you don't do WM but there it is for those that do), all of the variations of Dollar stores, plus hardware stores, farm stores, etc.

I have a clothesline hanging in the greenhouse now. All towels go on there until crispified, then one is tossed in with each load of clothes in the dryer. The towel, being over dry, sucks up mega-moisture, and cuts total drying time down to just a few minutes (I've never timed but I should -- it's short) AND everything comes out soft. Best of both worlds.

/hat tip to Mary for the idea

Casey said...

I've seen them at the survivalist/Libertarian hardware store near my house. I wonder if Tractor Supply might have them?

When I was a kid in San Antonio, our T-poles had some kind of heavy-gauge wire. How they didn't rust, I don't know, but they never broke.

I had to give up my umbrella clothesline last year after my allergist pegged outdoor drying as one of the big villains in my chronic respiratory probs. I've switched to a drying rack and hangers indoors. Not as sweet-smelling, but a lot less pollinated.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I've always loved the look of clotheslines. It makes me think of my grandma's house. The dryer is one luxury I keep using, but I'd like to hand laundry in the basement this winter when the wood stove is cranking. Perhaps next summer I'll get my husband to build a clothesline (and a chicken coop, and all those other projects I want).

Ethan Smith said...
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