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How do you feel about an outdoor clothesline?


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Being honest, I've always considered them to be a little tacky. Now that we live in a nice warm area and the electric bills are so high, I'm wondering if I should reconsider my opinion. I've hung a few things indoors, blankets, quilts, I air dry sweaters, and hang my jeans over the bar in my laundry room, but most everything else goes in the dryer.

 

Now that we're in TX, I think hanging my towels and certain things outside would dry them faster than the dryer, and at no cost! I'm not sure I can get past the mental block I have... perhaps it's because I came from the north where electric costs were extremely low and the weather wasn't conducive to an outdoor clothesline?

 

IF I do decide to try it, what about sun-fade? Do clothes turn out stiff? Filled with allergens?

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I love them. But our homeowners' covenants won't allow them.

 

You probably won't like the way your towels or socks feel (yes, stiff). And yes, the sun will fade things. I used to hang dark/bright colored things inside-out or in the shade (we always arranged our clothes line so that part of it was shaded).

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I just use a little fabric softener in the rinse cycle and my stuff usually doesn't get stiff (unless I forget about them and get them off when it's almost dark):(

 

I don't hang sheets and towels certain times of the year because of pollen, but I usually always hang jeans as they seem to take the most dryer time.

 

I'm very thrify (read cheap) and I believe I've saved much $$$ over the years by trying not to use the dryer.

 

HTH,

 

Melissa

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I think they are wonderful. I have a lot of great memories associated with outdoor clotheslines. I don't understand the hang-up a lot of folks have with them. Want to be environmentally friendly? Want to lower your energy dependence? Go for it! We have ours in the backyard and they retract out of sight. My kiddos love to run among the billowing sheets. My 8yo DD can hang out laundry as fast as I can. She also has her own smaller clothesline for hanging out her doll clothes. I'm a country girl at heart though.

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I love them, too. I hung out dd7's cloth diapers--yes, the sun can bleach things, so hang in the shade those items you don't want to fade.

Sometimes, I'd just hang things for an hour or two, then I'd bring in almost dry clothes and finish them off in the dryer. We lived in Dallas, and it just heated the house too much to run the dryer multiple cycles, esp in the summer. This helped with wrinkles and softened the clothes, too.

I'm just constantly showing myself as Happy Medium Girl, aren't I? lol

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I love them. I live overseas and we do not have a dryer but when I move back to Canada I want to have a line to dry my clothes. Yes my stuff is a little stiffer and the fabric softener does not really help but I do not find it uncomfortable to wear the clothes.

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They can be tacky if you hang all lace your undies out in your front yard, LOL ;)

But they can be helpful, I agree with mostly drying heavy items on a line and then letting

them toss around in the dryer for a few minutes afterward.

Another thing to consider- do your neighbors burn leaves in their yards? Do they smoke?

I doubt you'd want your freshly washed clothes smelling like smoke, so that might be an

issue, or it may not.

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When I grew up (In the North, too!) my mom, and everyone in town, pretty much line dried everything. I think it was this old fashioned "What on earth would you use a modern convenience for, when you've got a perfectly good way to dry clothes!" kind of attitude. Mostly in the back yard tho...away from the streets so you didn't scare the horses!;) She'd hang clothes in winter, too. They were very stiff and ice but after warming by the fire they were better....I love the smell of line dried clothes!

 

My mom would just use the dryer on low/or fluff dry in order to take the stiffness from the jeans/towels if need be.

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Another thing to consider- do your neighbors burn leaves in their yards? Do they smoke?

I doubt you'd want your freshly washed clothes smelling like smoke, so that might be an

issue, or it may not.

 

 

Oh, that's true! Our neighbors don't burn leaves or smoke, but they do use their grill and smoker often. It smells delicious, but I don't think I'd want my clothes smelling that way! If I decide to hang things, I'll have to peek out and see if he's using the smoker that day. ;)

 

And if he is, I'll hang around to see if he'll share. :D

 

 

Actually, one of the reasons I'm hesitant is that our backyard is very visible. I'm going to see what we can do to screen our yard a little bit, but it's pretty open, and you can see it from all sides. I already get frustrated when the kids leave their toys scattered all over, it looks pretty tacky.

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I've used one for years. We bought a nice one that retracts when not in use. Got it from Home Depot. It is in a round case, on a wheel, and we attached it to one wall of the yard, and it reaches a long way. We had a post with a bird house that we attached the other end to. We liked it because we could take it down to mow and when company was over and no big deal.

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I haven't used the dryer since we moved into this house (Sept '05). I hang clothes out for the sole reason that I am cheap, cheap, cheap, and I can't see paying the extra money to run the dryer.

 

I use Charlie's Soap and the clothes are coming out softer than they did when I used fabric softener. Towels and socks are still a little stiff, but they are far softer with Charlie's (I don't use *any* form of softener any more) than they were with Downy.

 

I keep any eye on the forecast and don't do laundry if we're headed into a cold or rainy spell. I did recently purchase an indoor drying rack so that I can wash in bad weather if I need to.

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I don't hang things outdoors because of the allergens and because I don't think I can here in this here condo...but I do hang things inside.

 

I bought an expandable tension shower curtain rod and put it across the walls of the little half-bath right across from the washer and dryer. No one uses that bathroom, and it was close by, and clothes dry nicely overnight--especially in the dry electric heat here.

 

I dry underthings and towels and socks in the dryer still, and I will take pants and shirts and tumble them after they're fully dry with a damp washcloth to de-wrinkle a bit, and it helps.

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I use my clothesline on the side of the house in the nice weather. I love the way it makes things smell, and I like the way it makes them feel (esp. towels). I even had my dh hang a clothesline in the garage so I can hang up jeans and sweaters in the winter. They don't have that nice sunshiney smell though.

 

I have to admit, I do think a clothesline in view of the world is a little tacky--but really, who cares? I go grocery shopping in sweatpants and purple crocs, which I KNOW is tacky. :D

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I hang as much as I can, spring through fall. I got a line that is retractable. I have it nailed to a tree and when I need it I pull it out and hook it by my porch. It's great because it doesn't permanently take up space in the yard.

Mine is similar to this one, but there are others at this site that look cool too.

Jean

http://housewares.hardwarestore.com/37-186-outdoor-clothes-dryers-/sunline-retractable-clothesline-131086.aspx

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IF I do decide to try it, what about sun-fade? Do clothes turn out stiff? Filled with allergens?

 

 

Allergens would be my concern. You might try hanging some things outside in the spot where you would place your line and see how it works, before installing the line. :)

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...I'm not sure I can get past the mental block I have... perhaps it's because I came from the north where electric costs were extremely low and the weather wasn't conducive to an outdoor clothesline?

 

IF I do decide to try it, what about sun-fade? Do clothes turn out stiff? Filled with allergens?

 

Can you imagine the pioneers thinking it was tacky to hang laundry? Course, their nearest neighbors were miles away, so no one needed to see Ma's bloomers, right! :D I love, love, love having a clothesline, and I use mine all the time. I can't imagine paying to dry all those clothes, plus I love how a line dried piece of clothing smells. I don't mind the "crinkle" of air dried towels and such, but if you do, simply machine dry them a bit before you hang them, or after, and they should fluff right up. Fading has never been an issue for me, but then again, I don't wash and dry stuff every single day. Allergens would only come into play for me if we had super allergic people. Dh and dd1 are both a bit "allergic" -- though they've never been formally tested to prove what triggers them -- but the line dried clothes never bother them.

 

JMHO,

Doran

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not even now that I'm in Texas.

 

My neighbor has one. A friend in Virginia has one (and thinks I'm a terrible Southern girl because I don't, lol). But I just don't think my utility bill would be that much lower. It's the AC that does it, KWIM?

 

And who would want bird puckey and all sorts of allergens all over her clean clothes? Not I! And suppose we had one of our infamous changes in weather and my clothes were caught in a rainstorm???:eek:

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I miss my clothesline. I would always hang sheets out there. They smell so wonderful. I don't like scratchy towels, so if I hang towels to dry, I put them in the dryer for a few minutes afterward to let them rub on each other a little to soften up. I sometimes hung other clothes out there, if I had time. It's therapeutic for me. I love the smell of the wet clothes, and the brush of the cool, wet sheets on my arm on a hot summer day.

 

I miss my clothesline.

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I used to do it all the time! It ws the norm when I was growing up, no social stigma. Now only certain neighborhoods or country homes have laundry hung out, but I don't care. I might start again; it really saves money and the clothes smell fresh! We lived in Sicily for a time and it seemed like everyone hung their clothes out. I guess Americans are just weird about it!

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I used to do it all the time! It ws the norm when I was growing up, no social stigma. Now only certain neighborhoods or country homes have laundry hung out, but I don't care. I might start again; it really saves money and the clothes smell fresh! We lived in Sicily for a time and it seemed like everyone hung their clothes out. I guess Americans are just weird about it!

 

 

Americans are totally weird about it. At least where I came from, I don't remember seeing any clothes hung on a line, except in the poorest, most run-down neighborhoods. (Again, this probably was largely due to the fact that electricity was CHEAP.) So, to me, there is a stigma attached to it.

 

I also want to be considerate of our neighbors who have to look at our yard. I really wish our backyard wasn't quite so visible. You can see it from practically every angle... We DO keep our grass neatly trimmed, and there's nothing unsightly about the front of our home. The backyard always has toys scattered from here to there... and I regularly send the kids back out to tidy it up, but I also want my 4 kids to be able to enjoy their backyard without Mom being too picky.

 

Why do I care what people think? I don't know, but I do. ;)

 

Anybody out there willing to say "Yes, I think they're tacky and I don't think I could bring myself to do it." I'd like to hear both sides.

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Guest Lorna

We had an outdoor clothes line in the UK. It was wonderful. The clothes always smell amazing and the whites stay nice and white. If your clothes are going to dry quickly, even better. I certainly wouldn't use the dryer.

If you have hay-fever and the clothes are going to be on the line more than an hour I would hang the clothes (especially bed sheets) on an airer indoors (this need only be done when the pollen count is high).

We dry clothes on an airer in the house even in winter. A dryer is only really for emergencies and laundrettes.

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I started line-drying my laundry last summer, and I love it! I have an umbrella-type line that not only retracts, but I can take the entire pole out and put it away during the winter. During the winter, I use the dryer - I'm too big of a wuss to deal with cold weather. :p The umbrella-style takes up less space and you don't see laundry hanging from one end of the yard to the other. If you're feeling self-conscious about it, then you might look into that style.

 

My clothes are a bit stiffer, but I don't mind. I absolutely LOVE line-dried sheets. In fact, we had a warm spell Saturday and I immediately got together all the sheets so I could wash them and put them out in the sun. However, I will not line-dry towels. I guess I'm spoiled in that I want soft SOFT towels. Also, I've never had a problem with fading.

 

I started line-drying as a way to save money and be kinder to the environment, but I've also found that it has helped me to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. It's nice to be outside for 15-20 minutes hanging laundry - it's smells so wonderful!

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Daisy, I totally agree.

I think they're beautiful. I love the long ones - not the little square of closely spaced rows.....although that one does remind me of hanging clothes with my grandma. But the long ones look proud and puposeful. I love the way sheets look blowing in the wind with the sun shining. It's soooooo earthy.

 

One of my favorite "in the moment" memories is one afternoon out in the country hanging clothes with my daughter and it was a quiet breeze, the sun on our faces, the distant prarie behind our house. (It's not even really a prarie - it's a pasture for cows....but it was so quiet that day). And we were working together enjoying our work. I will never forget how the sun felt on my face. When we were done I stood there a long time just soaking in the sun and the breeze, the scenery and my kid. I felt like a real mom. (So many times I feel so young and still like a kid - but this was a very peaceful MOM moment). And I felt really alive in this space in time.

 

 

WHISPERLILY - get the long far spaced lines. It is so awesome when sheets are on the line and when you are a kid you hide in them. The sheets and blankets smell so wonderful. I leave them on the line a little longer than need be and then that night they are on the bed and smell like fresh air and sunshine. There is nothing more devine than a relaxing bath and climbing into clean sunshine sheets.

 

You will fall in love with a clothes line and eventually you will begin to notice them everywhere. Sheets blowing in the wind behind beautiful old houses where children play in the yard and the sun shines high in the sky.....

 

I guess that's what it is!!!! I love a clothes line because it represents good weather. All my clothes line memories are good because you don't use them in the cold wet winter. Cold wet winter is instead the smell of fresh warm bread and home made soup. Funny - I am very seasonal and realizing just how so right now!!!

 

Get the line! Some things actually dry quicker on a line than the dryer. And just for the record I HAVE NEVER SEEN FADING ON A CLOTHES LINE UNLESS IT WAS LEFT OUT FOR DAYS. Of course - I don't use fabric softner - could be a link there. I notice more fading in my dryer.

 

Jeans and towels are physically hard to the touch from a line - but the jeans soften once on the body for 10 minutes and you can always throw the towels half dried into the dryer for a few minutes to dry them all the way and soften them.

I think a clothesline extends the life of clothing. Dryers fade and wear the clothes out.

You will be amazed how quick line drying can be.

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I love it, but it's pretty time consuming so I don't use it that much now that I am working fulltime (and homeschooling.)

 

Things dry differently on a line. The number of layers matters more than the material. So, for instance, towels might dry faster than T shirts because towels only have one layer and T shirts have two.

 

Hints:

Towels and sheets should be stretched out so that they dry in the right shapes. They are a little stiff, which I like. The sheets feel as if they have been ironed, and the towels feel a little less soft but more absorbant. They both smell wonderful, for about 3 days after you take them down.

 

For best results with jeans, hang them upside down, two pins per leg, legs spread apart enough not to touch.

 

For T shirts, hang them full width, two pins per shoulder for best results. If you have organically dyed T shirts, they will fade horribly in the sun. Don't even try this. Normal T's can be hung up inside out to avoid sun damage, but I haven't really noticed any problem with them.

 

Perma pressed shirts can be fluffed in the dryer after they are dry if you don't want to iron them.

 

Hot, windy days are fastest for drying. If you have allergies, avoid hanging clothes outside on windy days, though. They will pick up pollen and bring it inside.

 

Canvas bags and shoes don't dry on the line fast enough to avoid smells except on the hottest days. I would tie them into a cloth pillow case and dry them in the dryer for a really, really long time.

 

Mine was in the back yard, so it didn't bother the neighbors. I asked DH to put it in when deregulation hit Southern CA--I could see that the next year electricity was going to be unreliable and expensive for us, and sure enough, it was. Plus this is good for the environment. I bought a Sun Oven at the same time--had a lot of fun with that, and we had some great meals that didn't heat up or smell up the house on hot days! Again, I'm not using that anymore because I'm not home enough, but maybe one of these days I will be back to it.

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Alright, I'm the lone dissenter. :( When I've line-dried, my clothes smelled awful. I think there was something wrong w/ that particular day, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what.

 

And yep, mine got bird poopies. Etc.

 

NOW, though, I'd love to give it another try. Some of the apt complexes on campus have clothes lines, but not ours. :( And the driers here cost .75, & of course, you can't do a shorter amt of time, so if something doesn't get all the way dry...oh well!

 

Worse yet, the time on it continues whether you use it or not. I had some laundry get dry with about 10 min left on the drier, so I thought I'd leave the 10 min for someone else. No such luck. Plus, if you open your drier to add something else & forget to push the go button again, you lose your time.:eek: That only happens once, lol.

 

Oh, but you asked if it was tacky. I did think so when I was a kid. We were the only ones who used a line; we didn't have a drier, & we. were. poor. And when dh & I bought our first house, it was a very poor part of town, & still, only the poorest houses used clothes lines.

 

However, the older I've gotten, the more I've wanted to give it another try. The house we almost bought before moving here was old in a really quaint way. It had a HUGE back yard that was so filled with memory, you could almost taste it. And it had a clothes line. You knew it had been used for generations. (Well, I think it was built in the '50s, so, like a couple of generations, lol.)

 

The back yard was shady enough that it was a degree or two cooler than the front yard & big enough you could run & run & run...well, if you're 4 or 6. I liked the *idea* of being out there w/ the dc, hanging laundry to dry, etc. And maybe it's easier to embrace when your choice is a line in the hot back yard or a drier in the hotter garage!;)

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We live abroad and most people I know don't have a dryer.

 

I've never had a dryer. Few people here do - and then they're used only in emergencies. It's absolutely the norm to hang clothes out and nobody regards it as tacky at all.

 

We have drying racks - I move them to whatever sunny and/or breezy spot there is (inside or out).

We use fabric softner for towels.

 

I also find it interesting that most people in the USA seem to have air-conditioner. Although South Africa is a warm country, few houses have airconditioning. Most offices and shops do, though.

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Hello Hannah

 

Nice to 'see' you. Both my boys are still enjoying your Aesop. Calvin just reads them - Hobbes does the copywork too.

 

Laura

 

Hi Laura,

 

I'm so pleased that they're enjoying it. Thanks for telling me.

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I loved it when I used to have an outdoor clothesline - everything smells so good when you bring it in. We can't use one anymore because of ds's allergies, though.

 

Towel and jeans will come out a little stiff. I never noticed fading when I used a clothesline.

 

nt

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I love snuggling down into sheets fresh off the line. They smell grand! I don't hang things out often, though, mostly because of the high humidity. Most of the year they just feel "icky" when I bring things in -- even if there's a good, stiff breeze.

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Aubrey-- I tend to be w/ you. I *don't* like the smell of line dried clothes! i would actually PREFER they smell like smoke. happy campfire memories :)

 

I detest the stiffness. I hate needing to BUY extra or different stuff just to make the clothes softer --it seems to negate the benefits to me.

 

However, I absolutely believe in clotheslines, esp for larger items. Sheets, blankets, towels, and jeans. I let the towels and jeans fluff the last ten minutes or so in the dryer as others have mentioned. The bazillion socks that come w/ having seven people in the house.

 

No issues w/ pollen in our family, but I do tend to slack off and not bring the clothes in when they need to be. Thank God my older kids are getting to where they can take on that task! i *hate* having it rain on my clothes --what a waste of time it took to put them out! I can't take the cold either --another weather wimp here, lol. It has to be solidly sunny and HOT w/ no rain in sight to get me motivated to hang clothes.

 

Haven't had any problems w/ bird stuff, but BUGS and ANTS are another issue: I've had ants crawl up the house/tree/whatever and down the line to get to the moisture on the clothes. Nothing says "WHAT the HE77 WAS THAT!??!!" like laying down on fresh bedding that has fire ants crawling on it. No, shaking does NOT get all the ants off fitted sheets. It does, however, give you a false sense of security the second time you lay down and have fire ants bite you in the butt.

 

I'm a fan of indoor dryer lines for underwear :D

Just make sure that your indoor dryer lines don't stretch across your hardwood floors. [oops.]

 

All that to say: No, I don't think they are necessarily tacky, but neither do I find them as beneficial [or enjoyable] as some might.

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