In support of Earth Day, I have decided not to use my clothes dryer as much as usual. That’s right. I’m going to start hanging the laundry out to dry in the back yard. This is not a new practice for this family. When we lived in Belgium, I routinely hung out the laundry. There I was motivated by a desire to fit in with my neighbors who wouldn’t think of using an electric dryer. Clothes were made to hang on the line. Daily. That’s right – these ladies did washing daily. I had never seen so many sheets and towels in my life. And, oh the underwear flapping on the lines – what a sight. I must admit that the sheets and towels did smell wonderful and hanging up the laundry was a good form of exercise.
Then we returned to the States and our trusty electric dryer. When we moved here to the Midwest, again I noticed neighbors putting the wash out on the line. The former owner of my house had attached a retractable clothes line apparatus to the back of the garage and had a metal pole out in the yard. Every few days I would pull that clothes line out and attach it to the pole and hang my laundry. It was, dare I say, somewhat therapeutic. I enjoyed watching the sheets blow in the breeze. I didn’t enjoy my Australian Shepherd, Harley, stealing laundry off the line or out of the basket. One day he grabbed one of my bras and took off on a victory lap around the back yard with this bra flying out behind him like some type of winning team pennant. My neighbors got a real kick out of that. I was not amused and from then on the bras and underwear were hung on racks inside. Harley is in doggie heaven now and our current canine companion, EmmaLou, the Golden Destroyer, also has an affinity for laundry. She tends to favor socks and washcloths versus underwear, though.
Then we moved to our current house which has no clothes line available. Back to the electric dryer for me. The other day I remarked to Devoted Spouse that perhaps we should start hanging clothes outside again. It might save some money on the old electric bill, and during these days of retirement I’m all in favor of saving some money. The biggest decision is what type of clothes line system to use. I suggested we hang a couple of lines from the garden shed to the back deck – but there isn’t that much room between the shed and the deck support poles to actually string lines. And I’m not so sure I want my laundry to be seen from the street. So, I’m looking for a different solution — something behind the shed perhaps. There’s some open area between the back of the shed and the garden where a pole could be erected and a retractable system put onto the wall of the shed. I’d like to be able to put the lines away out of sight when I’m done. I always thought those clothes line contraptions that you spun around were so ugly and unsightly. I don’t really want that sitting out in my backyard. But in the spirit of being eco-friendly and economical, I’ll certainly look into it.
Now the only obstacle is convincing Devoted Spouse to carry heavy loads of wet laundry up the basement stairs, through the family room, and out to the back yard. That could be a toughie.