All this talk about solar and wind powered energy and yet clothes lines are banned in many towns. The green movement is baseless as far as I’m concerned because it is more about what others can do than what we can do as individuals. We use cardboard in the garden and to start fires in the wood stove because it’s smart. We don’t have to haul it to the recycle center and it doesn’t waste it. We put branches and yard scraps in a pile to build a hugelkulture because it’s a productive way to garden. We hang our clothes on the line because it is economical, kills germs, smells great, and is smart. Since we haul our own garbage, we see the huge piles of waste and I mean waste. Much could be put to use elsewhere. I remember as a kid walking through the dump picking up stuff and carting it home with my folks. It was more like a rummage sale. But wait, we are suppose to be talking about clothes lines.
Television has enlightened me. This wonder of modern technology has allowed me to travel to other parts of the world from my living room. What I saw or rather did not see was clothes dryers in most of the homes. The front load kind where the clothes tumble around and around while hot air is blown in. How were these people getting their clothes dry I wondered? Then I learned that some machines washed and dried, poorly it appears from the forums I checked as they take hours to do a small load. Most used a method where they sucked moisture out, not blew hot air in. Hanging clothes outside or in the home is common even in Finland, Norway and other countries where it gets bitter cold in the winter. In Norway they have large bathrooms where the washer is and the clothes line or racks. They say it takes planning and I can see that. I saw in many of the homes in Europe where the washer is in the kitchen and a clothes line dropped down from the ceiling.
My husband has encouraged me to figure out ways to use our own dryers less, in the winter also. I can’t complain since he hangs clothes and takes them off the line too. I think we could figure out a way to hang a line in the laundry room. I have two clothes racks we could use by the fire at night but in my search, I’ve seen ones I like better. That would take care of winter. Last fall we finally got our outside clothes line up and ready for business. There was a rickety affair which attached to the house and stretched out to a pole that never worked well. It wouldn’t stay taunt. We had borrowed a post hole digger for our tractor from hubby’s brother and were doing gates so I insisted we include clothes line poles and the bird feeder pole too. The poles are an old fashion kind, stable and made of thick pipe. His dad had built them long ago and had given them to his brother. Since they had sat unused for years, I asked if we might have them.
There is nothing like the smell of fresh laundered clothes fresh off the line. Whites become whiter as the sun bleaches them and kills bacteria. We can save approximately $200 over the course of a year hanging our clothes. Not a great deal but include other savings of hauling our own garbage etc. and it adds up. In other countries the cost of energy is much higher and one wrote that they saved $200 a month by hanging laundry. That is huge! Here I can do four loads of laundry and dry them on the line all at once in far less time than it takes to use the dryer. Besides it saves on the wear and tear of the clothes. I often look at the weather and if it isn’t forecast to be windy, I hang clothes before going bed and fold them in the morning. In the summer of course.
As the well has to be pulled a third time and we are hauling water STILL. I’m thinking pretty heavily about a back up for our back up plans. I’ve cleaned clothes by hand for a month once for the five of us and I could do it again if I had to though it was with running water. I’d really rather use the washing machine. Clothes drying though, I could do differently on a regular basis. Change is easiest done a step at a time. If we had a generator hooked to the well (a well that works), rain barrels under all our down spouts, and a water bladder cistern in the crawl space we would at least have water. I really do want an outhouse even though we have three bathrooms, one is in the garage (super handy). I used an outhouse a few weeks ago on a ranch and at the lake yesterday when we went canoeing. It would be comforting to know an outhouse is there if we need it. Yes, two old fogies took up canoeing as their new hobby.
Call me green, call me smart, or even call me crazy but I’m going to work on ways to hang my clothes even in the wintertime.