Clotheslines are considered old fashioned and unsightly in some American neighborhoods.

Why is this?

When did hanging out your clothes for the sun and wind to dry them become obsolete and unsightly?

In some areas of the USA, outdoor clotheslines are banned by town ordinances, such as: Poughkeepsie,

NY, Schaumberg, IL, Vallejo, CA and all the historic districts in Columbus OH.

According to Alexander Lee over at LaundryList, 5-10% of US residential electricity is used by home

clothes dryers, the second most costly appliance we have in our homes. Oh, and they

also attribute 15,600 household fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries a year to automatic

clothes dryers in our homes, with a national cost of $99 million dollars.

laundry on the line

I can recall helping my Mother & my Grandmother hanging out the clothes. It was a magical sight to

see the sheets and towels catch the wind, snap and try to sail away. There was also something

verytidy and domestic about seeing everyones pants, socks,and underwear lined up

on the line. It was a visual sign that you belonged to this tribe, your possessions were right there

on the line with theirs.

I have many fond memories of a day camp made on the clothesline with a big blanket and some

rocks to hold down the edges. It was our fort, or hide away, our secluded retreat from

the adult world for the day. We got to take our lunch of jelly bread sandwiches inside the

tent which made them taste much, much better. If you were really brave, you could sleep overnight

out in the clothesline tent – but this was only for intrepid souls who didn’t mind the night sounds,

animals and bugs, like me, my little brothers were not up for it. In their defense, they were

only 2 and 5 years old at the time.

Let’s reconsider the lowly clothesline on Earth Day and here after, as a means to

dry our clothes responsibly and not add to the energy grid and polluting the earth.

We get clean, fresh smelling clothes (sunshine is a natural germ killer and bleaching agent] and

our children can have visual memories of the family rainment literally flapping in the breeze.

Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008

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