I confess to being a fanatic about hanging out my wet clean laundry out on the clothes line to dry. Going green by saving electricity is not my primary goal although saving some change is an added bonus. Believe it or not, this is a revered family ritual followed for generations on end and I experience immense satisfaction from continuing the tradition. And as I’m hanging the clothes and taking them down I feel one with my mom, my Mama Mac and my great aunt Stalice, my clothes line mentors. I also receive the added bonus of reveling in the peace and joy from being outside; I have a sense of accomplishment from drying several loads of laundry all at once without the use of the dryer and the clothes smell so fresh and clean.
These clothes line secrets are guarded like treasured recipes. An efficient snap of each piece of clothing before hanging makes all the difference. I can still remember my grandmother’s sharp snap that eliminated all wrinkles! Smaller lighter items go in the middle with the larger and heavier items on the outside. Skip lines here and there to maximize air flow to speed drying, My family took pride in linking clothes together so that one pin would anchor two items on each end but I find that pinning them up separately facilitates air flow. And if heavy items like jeans are taking too long to dry, turn them around to speed them up. Another trick–send heavy items through a second spin cycle.
Get an early start and when the clothes are dry, take them down. Once the dew is set the clothes have to be spread out around the house to dry. And once those clothes are pleasantly flapping in the breeze, keep one eye on the weather. Many a time I’ve rushed out to the line to save dry laundry from falling raindrops–you would be surprised to see how fast those clothes jump off the line. Planning and strategy is crucial. Laundry days are planned around the weather forecast. And no mowing or weed whacking in the back yard while the clothes are hanging on the line.
I have been hanging clothes since I was old enough to reach the line and before that I was handing out clothes pins and gathering them up at the end of the process. I learned so much about life while visiting at the clothes line and while working together as a team although most of my clothes line work these days is done solo. Who would believe that hanging my clothes on the line would be a spiritual experience for me! I feel a deep connection to my women folk that bridges time and space, a deep appreciation for my loved ones in my life as I keep this tradition alive in suburbia. Now my 6 year old niece hands me the clothes pins and the tradition is passed on!