Monday, August 8, 2011

The Laundry Low-Down

I've been line-drying my laundry since March, not for some noble cause like being "green" or taking up homesteading or saving money.
My dryer broke. That is all.
In the spring I wrote a post about "Life on the Line" and it sort of put a positive, perhaps even existential, spin on the whole thing.
But it is August in the South and I don't have to tell you that it's hot as Hades down here. I do laundry at the risk of heat exhaustion and fire-ant bites. A couple of days ago I was chased by a wasp. Also? Tiny spiders build itty bitty webs in my clothespins. For real.
My clothes have been rained on and covered in lawnmower dust. They have been washed and pinned up only to be rewashed and re-pinned. I have left them out overnight, found socks in the fairway, and strewn clothes across the kitchen table, desks, and countertops to dry on rainy days.
By the time I finish clothes-pinning a full load of smallish shirts and shorts, I am sweaty, seeing spots, and may or may not be muttering expletives {mostly} under my breath. So yeah, the nostalgia may have faded a bit by the end of May.
As I was pinning clothes today, however, I did think of some line-drying perks. So in an attempt to look at the bright side {and in case inquiring minds want to know how the clothesline experiment is going,} here's my list:
Less laundry overall. When you work hard for every article of washed and dried clothing, you wash less. We've all become a bit more conscious of whether something really needs to be washed. And I'm realizing that we could all survive just fine with far fewer clothes.
A quiet time to pray and think {unless I am too mad at the sun for being so hot}
Crisp, folded clothes & completed laundry. Because I have long been sort of slack with the laundry, it often sat in huge piles until someone ran out of underwear or until I lost a toddler in a mound of towels. And once I washed it, I had a tendency to not fold it. I'm not sure why. Laundry has simply been my most dreaded domestic task.
But now? I am terrified of getting behind. You can't procrastinate and do 8 loads in a day when you depend on daylight to dry it. I am actually, finally keeping up with my laundry. It's amazing. 1950s technology has somehow made me more efficient.
Also, the clothes dry flat and crisp. My folding time is cut in half. I fold them as I take them off the line, stack them according to person, and put them away {usually.} And because it is hot, I hurry.
Heavenly linens. Nothing beats the smell of line-dried sheets. Even after I get a dryer, I may dry all the linens outside in the warm months.
Exfoliation. Kiss your loofah goodbye. A line-dried towel serves as a great exfoliator. And if you dry off vigorously enough, you may never have to shave your legs again. What you lose in softness, you gain in smoothness.
A better tan, a slightly lower electric bill, and {sort-of} exercise are a few other perks.
Along the way, I've found a few shortcuts. If you spin your clothes a couple of extra times before you dry them, it really saves on drying time. That's true if you're using a real dryer as well.
Also, do not waste time and energy and line-space hanging underpants and socks.
This is my current drying method for undies, socks, and other unmentionables.
Yes, it is a lawn-chair / drying rack on my deck. We are classy around here.
So, those are my thoughts on line-drying. I've been doing this for a solid 4 1/2 months now and the bottom line is: it works. It is both better and worse than using a real dryer. Like most things, it all depends on how you look at it.
Am I still drooling over a shiny, stackable, front-loading ensemble so that I can turn my tiny laundry closet into a laundry closet / mudroom like Kimba's?

Of course I am.
Electrolux, you have until the first frost to make that happen. Call me?


  1. Easier to be philosophical when it's not quite so hot, isn't it? Surely hellfire has nothing over Southern summers, I'm afraid. Oh, dear. That sounded heretical, didn't it? But I think you know what I mean.

    Instead of telling you how much I loved this post (although I did, but I always say that, don't I?), I'll give you a small piece of advice. You didn't ask for it, but I'll give it to you anyway. Ready? Don't be lured in by the sexy appearance of those front-loaders. I bought fancy-schmancy new machines two years ago, and I so wish I had my old machines back. The new machines look nice, but I promise you that my clothes don't get nearly so clean in them. I'm not kidding. I comfort myself a little bit with the knowledge that these machines use less energy--but when you have to wash something twice just to get it marginally clean, there's definitely no savings.

    Okay, advice over. Now, I'm going to try to get my family to follow your pattern of only washing what really needs to be washed. That sounds like a really good trend to me. Maybe I should start hanging out my clothes?

  2. Ha at "unless I am too mad at the sun for being so hot"!

  3. OK . . . I'm back home and back to laughing, too. This was simply fun to read, my dear. And as a bonus, you inserted lots of truth in there amid the humor. LOVED it!


  4. Girl,
    You can go get my dryer any time. We are not bringing it to SC with us. Our new house already has a dryer. Are you up for getting a dryer out of my house and cleaning up dust bunnies??
    The cost....?....just a trip to see me when life calms down...ok?
    Love ya like a sista!!


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