Monday, May 4, 2009

Thoughts on Laundry Day

Yesterday was a perfect laundry day-the sun was shining, a slight breeze blowing as butterflies danced around the backyard flowers.
it was only a year ago since our family began a concerted effort to forgo the dryer and go back to letting Mother Nature do the drying for us. While the dryer had afforded us the convenience of doing a quick load at any hour its days were numbered when I learned the true cost of that convenience. According to Alexander Lee, a lawyer and clothesline activist from my native N.H. using a clothesline and washing with cold water saves the average family 15% of their annual energy costs. Lee started Project Laundry in 1995 to promote the benefits of hanging clothes to dry. Fifteen percent of my electric bill was enough of a benefit for me to bring out the post hole digger and set up some line.
So with some grumbling from the kids I started drying all our clothes on a solar clothes dryer . The electric dryer still sits in the utility room though it now has a few boxes piled on it. Occasionally, we use it when we have a string of rainy days or one of the kids remembers at dinner that they need a certain shirt for school the next day. And my teens have now discovered that the triangular device with a handle and a cord sitting on the utility room shelf has a use. It is great at removing wrinkles in their favorite jeans. My seventeen year old son has even become quite the expert at pressing a shirt.

As for myself, I have rediscovered the joy of folding a basket of sun-dried clothes freshened with Mother Nature's scent. The smell of fresh laundry straight off the line-that alone will keep me forever a clothesline gal. Few simple pleasures reap such rewards.


  1. Greetings! New to your blog. I found you from a comment you posted on Cold Antler Farm. I also use a clothesline. I remember my Mom hanging out clothes when I was a child and running among the shirts, sheets, pants. My 2-year-old grandson was visiting recently, and he did the exact same thing - running around and through the clothes. It must be some innate drive. It was a happy day for my Mom when we got our first automatic dryer. It was a gas heated avocado green model from Sears. But my husband and I stopped using a dryer about 8 months ago and I must admit, I really love the process of hanging the clothes on the line. Bending to get an article of clothing, placing the pins, sliding the pin basket down the line... at first, I saw this as just another chore, but it has become a time of reflection. I live in the desert in Texas, so the ultra low humidity, abundant sunshine and breezes usually mean my clothes dry in less than an hour. I'm amazed that more of my neighbors don't do this, too. It's such an easy way to reduce one's electric bill. But they don't. I see few clotheslines around and even fewer with clothing hanging on them. My lease agreement has a clause that clotheslines are not allowed, but my landlord struck it from the lease for me. My friends think I'm nuts. But I'm smiling every time my electric bill comes and just feel good that I'm doing something positive for the environment that also saves money. Thanks for sharing.