So it’s time to do some laundry. And to do some laundry line art.
On this day of activism you can hang just about anything from a laundry line, either outdoors or in, to encourage awareness of the personal and social benefits of line-drying clothing. Such as saving money on your energy bills, or lowering your carbon footprint and so helping the climate. And just being more DIY.
So it’s time to create a funky lil’ installation for your kid’s school, your retail store, your kitchen or office.
Get creative! Let the fun of the laundry line tell the story and throw in a few eco-tips as a side dish. You know, get ’em when they’re too delighted to argue.
Like posting eco-messages from cute cards. Or hanging bird seed molds from a laundry line with a take away card explaining why we ought to use clothes lines. Perhaps a year’s worth of photos from seasons in the garden and other earthy projects strung on the clothes line?
There’s lots of ways to tell the story that hanging clothes out to dry is the new cool.
So fresh it’s like line-dried
We’re always romanticizing the clothing line. We picture Auntie Em hard at work in The Wizard of Oz. Sepia toned hankies blowing in the breeze of a Spielberg epic.
We see seed pack party favors hanging from a line at a new lo-fi barn wedding. Or dream from the car window as we pass a full line on a country road.
But when it comes to the actual goods, do we move from our fantasies to doing the real thing in our own lives? Do we really bother to line dry? Or do we forget how fresh and clean it’s supposed to make everything and instead buy into the notion that it’s a hassle? Or what if it rains? Or you don’t have a yard?
My intro to line drying came with a ring but not a fluff setting
When I first met my husband he not only line-dried all his clothes, he washed them by hand. He actually found the trek to the laundromat more of a pain than bending over the tub and giving his pecs and biceps a workout on the washboard. Yes, the old school washboard.
I lived just two blocks away but he refused to use my dryer. Too much energy wasted, he said. And it adds so much to your energy bill each month. It’s the second biggest in-home energy hog after the fridge.
So when he bought me a beautiful Victorian house in the Newtown District of Staunton, and asked me to marry him I just assumed the house would have all the fixins’. But when I moved in, no washer. No dryer.
Quickly I learned to wash and dry by hand. And notably so did my two daughters, then 14 and 12.
What works, what doesn’t
After a while though, he did some research into high efficiency washers and concluded that they actually use less water because they are so super efficient. High efficiency washers end up making less of an impact on Mother earth and save you money in the long run.
But dryers? No way. They’re energy guzzlers that rip through your budget.
So he bought us a nice Bosch washer but, as he said that day, “Sorry sweetie, I’ll never get you a dryer. And there will never be a dryer in a house we live in.” Stern, but oddly sexy!
Hanging on, hanging out, hanging up
And so I’ve learned in all seasons to hang my clothes to dry.
It’s been fine. For the girls, too.
We have indoor racks and outdoor lines, though our house is on a tiny city lot. We hang the line from the upstairs balcony during the temperate seasons. And we have assorted racks here and there during the winter. It truly makes the house feel lived in in the best sense of the term. I mean we live here, it’s not just a museum for our eclectic furnishings and cool art. Not that it’s not nice when things are tidy, but…we also live here!
Anyway, believe me, if I can do it, you can. I went into line drying kicking and screaming like a spoiled princess losing a raft of imaginary servants. And yet after a few loads, it was just the way things were.
In fact, I find it quite meditative to just hang the clothes up. Sometimes I even marvel at how cute it looks, all my dresses blowing in the breeze, my funky Smart Wool socks making crazy patterns down the line. Wrapping the porch in sheets which makes a temporary fort. All the towels after a day at the pool.
Line drying actually does produce fresh clothes. That it’s a boon to the environment, a lessening of energy and a quiet moment to do some thinking helps.
Try it this National Hanging Out Day, and maybe decide to convert for good. It might be just the fresh breeze of change you were looking for.