Two summers ago, it seemed every blog I read was talking about using a clothesline. I learned a lot, but didn't have a clothesline. At the end of that summer, a friend came over to visit and I mentioned my desire for a clothesline. She asked if I had some rope. I did. So she immediately grabbed her cub scout son who was with her and the three of us headed outside and strung up a line between my trees. I started using it but not always.
Then last summer, as soon as school let out, my husband got laid off from work. Not knowing how long I would need to stretch our funds, it became a necessity to use the clothesline. I only used the dryer for "privates" or if it was raining. In the process, I remembered some of those tips I had read the previous summer and learned from experience.
This last week a friend posted on Facebook "A certain friend of mine will be excited to here that I hung up a clothesline today." I naturally assumed that friend was me because we had talked about it a few days earlier. I immediately commented with some tips for her and thought it'd be a perfect Works for Me Wednesday post.
Here are those tips.
1. Hang everything loose. When I first started, I'd hang the clothes tight between the clothespins. Do you know what that gets you? Stiff clothes. They need to be able to blow in the wind and the clothes need to rub against themselves.
2. Hang pants and shirts by waistline. There are two reasons I've come up with for this. First, the larger opening is held "open" by the clothespins so more air gets inside the clothes to help it dry. Second, if you end up with any clothespin marks, they are hidden more. Imagine you hung up your shirt by the shoulders and the pinch from the clothespin is visible while you wear the shirt later.
3. Hang towels and sheets folded in half, with fold toward ground. This creates an opening at the top to let air in and the halves rub against each other - the friction decreases stiffness.
4. Snap clothes before pinning up. I'm not exactly sure what this does - I'm assuming it gets out a little more water but if I don't snap, the clothes tend to be stiffer.
5. If out of pins, hang panties with other clothes. This one is a silly tip. But if you're run out of room on your line or out of clothespins, you can hang panties by hooking the legholes over a clothespin already in use.
6. If concerned about fading in the sun, hang inside out.
7. If too stiff, put in dryer for 15 minutes. Sometimes, items just get stiff (especially queen size blankets that I can't snap before putting on the clothesline on days when there is little wind). When this happens, I simply throw the item in the dryer for 15 minutes to soften it up. It's okay because I'm running the dryer less than I would to completely dry the item.
The benefits I've had from using my clothesline are many. First, I use less electricity so my utility bill is lower. Next, I'm not heating up my house from the clothes dryer so I'm using less air conditioning to counter that heat, so my utility bill is lower. I'm not an outside person and this gets me outside for short periods of time (so I don't become overheated) and I get sunshine. I also get more exercise from walking the clothesline and pinning than I would from tossing the clothes in the dryer (every calorie counts, right?). My sheets smell wonderful. I think the towels are more absorbent (but that only lasts for 1 or 2 uses). Also, my clothes/sheets/towels have no static cling!
For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out We Are THAT Family!
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