Resurfacing: A newbie hangs her laundry

It’s been a crazy week. I’m already working twice a week for one client and then I got a rush job from another client, which left me spending every spare moment this past week at my computer (yet neglecting my blog). The state of our home was rather disastrous, laundry piling up in huge heaps at the bottom of the stairs, toys and books scattered everywhere…it’s a true testament to what I do around here on a daily basis to see what happens when I’m otherwise occupied! So first a big thank you for coming back after I abandoned without explanation. And now that the report is finished I was able to get back to a more normal day today. I’d like to tell you about my adventures with laundry…

It was a warm and sunny day and I was washing bed linens when it dawned upon me that now would be a good time to start using my clothesline. For the record, I have never used one before. Though I do have memories of my grandmother’s house and the apron she kept loaded with clothespins (it’s amazing how many of my activities lately bring back memories of my grandparents). I’m not sure whether the clothesline here is just old and decrepit or whether I have a bit of a learning curve ahead of me, but the first thing I noticed when I started hanging sheets is that they sagged the line quite a bit. Okay, actually I have to back up because several weeks ago I hung a large tarp off the clothesline (the one I had used for mixing SFG soil, and which I had then rinsed clean). I made the mistake of pinning it to the top line, which of course caused the whole thing to twist around. Yes, this is how much knowledge our culture has lost that a woman with a PhD can’t figure out how to hang laundry! So today at least I pinned the stuff on the bottom, but then I encountered another problem:

This little doohickey is supposed to keep the bottom line from sagging way below the top line. Ideally it should end up about halfway along your clothesline once everything is hung. So I tried that, and when most of the laundry was hung I ran into another problem:

This other doohicky is a crank that you can apparently use to tighten the clothesline. Well, the red stacking thingy in the picture above will not travel past this cranking doohickey. I ended up creating a snag in the line which started to bunch up my laundry. So I had to take the laundry down and line the clothesline up so that the red stacking thingy didn’t encounter the cranking thingy until I had all my laundry up. ‘Course then I had the sagging problem again, but by this point I was willing to call it a day and hope the learning curve is steep. Here’s the final result:

I’m sure if I play around with the line I’ll figure out where the cranky thingy should be when I started hanging so that it won’t get in the way, but will also allow me to put the red stacking thingy in the middle of the clothesline to prevent sagging. Fortunately the clothesline is high enough up that the kids can play and not touch the laundry.

I will say that I was very impressed with how quickly everything dried, even though it wasn’t in direct sunlight by the time I got around to hanging it. I’d say the temperature was at least 15 C, maybe a bit higher. That’s quite impressive to a newbie clothesline user such as myself.

At this point I am not sure that I’m going to use it for all my laundry. With four people in this family, two of them young children, I do a lot of laundry and it’s all I can do these days to get it put away let alone find time to hang and remove. And we are still far and away from the dry season here. But I will definitely be doing it for sheets and I may experiment with towels, too. My goal is to one day have a setup like Rhonda’s over at Down-to-Earth with clotheslines under a verandah, so that rain won’t be a deterrant. But it’s all about Baby Steps, right?

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Categories: Homemaking, simple living | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Resurfacing: A newbie hangs her laundry

  1. This is quite impressive! How neat to see laundry flapping on the line. Seeing all the doohickeys that make it work was also neat – my eyes haven’t seen those things since I was a little girl. 🙂

  2. Hanging my laundry out on the line is one of my favourite things to do…there’s nothing like getting into a bed made with sheets fresh off the line! It does add time to the “chore”, though. Thanks for the laughs with this post!Good for you for getting out there even if you didn’t know exactly what you were doing. By summer you’ll be a laundry-line whiz!
    Bonnie

  3. Congratulations on getting the line working 🙂
    Clotheslines are commonplace in Australia, although ours doesn’t have doohickeys to contend with. There is nothing like climbing into bed made with clean, line-dried sheets. You’ll be hooked I’m sure.

  4. Dominique

    Hi i just wanted to say I really have enjoyed reading your blog & i will bookmark it & come back. It was real food for thought and even though I recycle at home & always try & make sure I dont use plastic carrier bags in shops, grow vegetables etc(first time though!). These things I do are a basic basis but i would like to turn it up a gear and look at the whole bigger picture and stop buying certain things. I will go to my local lush and look for shampoo bars now (thanks to your blog ).
    many thanks

  5. ruralaspirations

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I look forward to that “sheet freshness” I read about so much on my fave blogs. So far I just did the kids’ bedding so I’ll have to ask them if they notice a difference!

    Dominique, I’m glad I could provide some inspiration! I’m just passing it on, the inspiration that I have gotten from so many other bloggers. Thanks for visiting!

  6. Nicki

    Hi M, it’s been ages since I’ve gotten around to reading your blog, and I still love it! I hope you’ve figured out you need to have the line tightener (have you turned the crank?) on the bottom line, right in to your porch end before you start — so it has the full length of the clothesline to run out before it bumps into the wheel at the far end. The you start hanging the clothes, and attach the anti-sagging thingie when you figure you’ve got about half your clothes on the line. I find with mine that it’s better to put another clothespin right next to the anti-sagging thingie or else it tries to run down the line and gets gimbled up in the laundry. Then once you’ve hung the rest of the laundry, the thingie should be around the middle of the line.

  7. ruralaspirations

    Thanks, Nicki. What a great tip about the clothespin!! I can’t wait to try again!

  8. I’m a student at Pomona College in Claremont, California and recently spent a good amount of time looking into the various clothesline and drying rack options since Pomona is going to purchase some for student use and I wanted to make sure we purchased the best available option.

    In my research, I was shocked to find that there is NO good website explaining all the different clotheslines and drying rack options, so I made my own! It’s a wiki page on the Tip the Planet sustainable living wiki that ANYONE CAN EDIT. You can check it out here: http://www.tiptheplanet.com/index.php?title=Air_dry_washing

    I’m trying to spread the word so that the site becomes a clearing house for drying rack information, and people have to spend less time scouring the web for the best products. Have a look, share it with your friends, and by all means add your wisdom!

    Take care,
    Chelsea

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