clothes-lineI love my clothesline.  You know, clothesline?  A string between two poles in your backyard with clips on it?  Your grandmother probably has one.  It’s totally making a comeback.  In fact, I was surprised when the topic came up among the moms on the playground a few weeks ago, and several moms professed their love for outdoor laundering.

Some people imagine that hanging clothes out on a line to dry them is a lot of extra work, as compared to popping them in the dryer.  Personally, my clothesline has saved my lazy butt more than once.  Earlier this week, I was in the laundry room getting shoes for one of the kids when I looked over and noticed there were clothes in the wash machine.  How did those get there?  Well, I put them there, of course! (unless the laundry fairy came to visit…)  When did I put them there?  Good question.  So, I open the wash machine, and of course, the clothes have already been through the wash cycle and things are smelling a little musty in there.  No worries, this was not the first time this has happened.  I took the whole load and hung it out on the line.  A couple hours later – the same amount of time it would have taken me to re-wash them and then dry them in the dryer – my clothes were dry and smelled wonderful, thanks to Mr. Sun.  In addition, I saved water, soap and electricity by not having to wash them again and not running the dryer. (Hello, fellow tree-hugger Mamas!)

Another way the clothesline fosters my laziness – wrinkles.  Clothes that dry out on the line are far less wrinkly than clothes that come out of my dryer.  I hate to iron.  If my favorite shirt is wrinkled, I’ll find something else to wear before I’ll iron it.  Luckily, hubby loves to iron, so I just wait for when he’s around to pull out my wrinkled stuff.  Line-dried clothes are also a bit stiffer than clothes out of the dryer, partially because they miss the chemical bath of the fabric softener.  So, they’re sort of pre-starched when you do need to iron them.

And lazy-saver number three – stains.  I try to spot treat my kids’ daily mishaps, which seem to be primarily food related at this stage in the game, but I often miss stains, or the stains get pre-treated, but just won’t budge.  Bring on Mr. Sun!  My clothesline love affair actually started when my firstborn came home from the hospital and soiled her first cloth diaper.  The Sun can get almost any stain out of cotton-based fabrics, or at least lighten the stain substantially.  Many a tiny t-shirt and sundress have been saved through a 2 or 3 hour stint of hanging in the sun.

My handy-man hubby was nice enough to rig my line up close to my kids’ play area, so it’s easy for me to put clothes on or take clothes off the line while the kiddos are busy climbing, sliding, and swinging.  A load a day is a utilitarian way to make sure that we all get a nice little dose (about 15 minutes) of fresh air and vitamin D rays (sunlight).  Obviously we spend more time than this outside most days, but this gives us a bare minimum, even on those really hot scorchers.

My friend, Liz, has a clothesline too.  She likes to hang her clothes out on the line because she just feels like that’s the way it should be done. “You know, like Little House on the Prairie.”  Liz also pointed out that fewer trips through the over heated, tumbling dryer means your clothes last longer, too.  Another friend, Aimee, says she uses her clothesline mostly for large items like sheets and blankets that are hard to dry in a dryer.  Her line is retractable, so when she’s not using it, it magically disappears into a little holder that hangs off the side of her house, maximizing space in her smaller backyard.

If you don’t have a clothesline, you need one.  If you’re fashion conscious, do it because it preserves your clothes.  If you’re earth conscious, do it because it preserves natural resources and decreases the amount of chemicals you have to use – no stain remover and no fabric softener. If you’re budget conscious, do it because it saves you money (by preserving natural resources and your clothes!).  If you’re a mom, do it for all three of these reasons, plus it gets you and the kiddos out of the house!  And, if you’re like me, you can add laziness to the list of reasons why you need a line in your life.