Monday, June 30, 2008

New Thing #171--Flapping in the Breeze

I usually try to get my laundry done in the most efficient way. My laundry room is right off the kitchen, so I can put a load in the washer, listen for it to be done, immediately put it in the dryer, then take it out right away. However, I also love the smell and feel of crisp bedsheets dried outside, so today I hung my sheets on a clothesline.

Normally something like this wouldn't be a big deal, but our neighborhood indentures say no clotheslines! Technically I could have gotten in trouble with today's activity, so today I also struck a blow against stupid regulations.

When we moved into our house and found out we couldn't line-dry our clothes, I wasn't too concerned. At the time I was doing laundry for five people, and it would have overwhelmed me to hang it all. However, I now realize that the regulation is really absurd. People in our neighborhood should be able to make their own decisions about this topic. As I was doing research, I found out that there are actually "Right to Dry" laws in several areas, and a group - Project Laundry List, that's dedicated to promoting simple ways of saving energy--such as line drying. Their website states that by hanging your clothes you can save money, conserve energy, and make your clothes last longer.

I didn't want to put a lot of effort into making a clothesline today since it wouldn't be put to permanent use, so I strung the line on the deck from one side to the other and back, using the deck railing to support the line. The sheets were flopped over the line on either side of the picnic table, and the pillow cases were placed on the end by the stairs. When I needed to take some things to the compost pile, but couldn't get there because there was laundry in the way!

The other problem I realized I had partway through my project was that I had no clothespins. I improvised and used binder clips from my desk. They worked fine, but if hanging the laundry turned into a more-frequent activity, I'd have to invest in the correct tools.

I left the sheets on the deck all afternoon when I was at work. It clouded over a few times, and I was afraid it was going to rain. When I came home and brought them in, the cats really investigated the unusual smells.


  1. Hi Kathy,

    I know I couldn't believe the laws relating to using a clothesline in my neighbour either! It just seems crazy to me why such an eco friendly product can not be seen in the public eye. My neighbour told me I should not be using a clothesline...but i fixed her!..I found a portable clothesline on the internet and now I sneak it out and in before the old bag even has seen the laundry drying!! neat blog 2

  2. I try to line dry my laundry most of the time (not owning a tumble dryer helps of course) but the smell of outdoor dried laundry has to be rated up high along with new mown grass. Was amused by the name clothespins - over in the UK we call them pegs... but I am sure they are one and the same.

    Go you rebel, rock the rules and save energy at the same time.

  3. We have the same neighborhood rule about clotheslines also. It's probably a visual thing--some old clotheslines can get pretty ratty looking. I occasionally look at the portable ones, but our deck is frequented by birds, so I'm afraid my laundry would get pooped on. I wonder what the neighborhood association would think of a clothesline with attached plastic owl...

    We're also not supposed to have storage buildings, and our "2-car" garages are barely adequate for just the 2 cars, not counting the lawnmower required to keep the grass within legal limits. And don't plan on parking your car in the street--that's not allowed either. Sometimes builders/planners don't think these things through. Or maybe they all run lawn services.

  4. You are fortunate to have clean air in which to hang clothes. Right now, we are in some of the worst air in history due to the forest fires raging all over California, but even without the fires, our air is usually not going to provide for clean smelling clothes.

  5. Freshly washed sheets from the clothesline is one of my fondest childhood memories. I still believe that hanging them on the line made them cooler for sleeping on those hot summer nights. :)