18 January 2008

Things I like about summer, I

Being able to hang laundry outside to dry on the line.

Line drying is best.

Recently I've been reading BlueVicar's posts about trying to find a folding rack for drying clothes. She lives in Colorado now, after living in France for a while. In France, a lot of people don't have clothes dryers. Even though we have one, I don't like to use it. It seems like a waste of energy.

If Walt or I had to get dressed and go to work every day, we wouldn't have the luxury of drying clothes on the line — in the garage in winter, or outdoors in spring, summer, and autumn. It's a luxury. That seems paradoxical, I guess, since for most people drying laundry in a clothes dryer would be a luxury.


  1. Just last night my daughter was saying that she is thinking about "giving up her dryer" as it's a waste of energy resources. I was telling her about how my mother used to hang the clothes outside in the summer and in the basement in the winter when I was a child in the 1950s. In America now we hardly ever see clothes lines.

  2. My daughter has one of those clothes racks that she uses inside all the time.

    I used to help my mom hang clothes on our line which was strung up between two big trees. Some people had a pole that they propped up the line with after they loaded it up. Perhaps that was an effort to keep kids from touching the clean clothers.

    There's something basicly right about hanging clothes out to dry although it's not seen much nowadays in the US.

  3. It is unfortunate that in some municipalities or towns in North America, we are not allowed to have clothes lines. I miss the freshness of the bed sheets/pillow cases that we used to hang outside in the summer.

    I have a rack that is in the basement for socks/ undergarments and delicate fabrics whilst everything else goes in the dryer. With the kind of weather that we have in Montreal, I guess I have no choice but to use a dryer in the winter.

  4. Hi Ken,
    You can tell your blogging friend that Lowe's and IKEA sell drying racks. In the winter when we heat with wood (which we're now doing, and what a relief to be getting constant heat after the disappointing on-and-off heat from the oil furnace), clothes on the rack dry quickly and add some humidity to the dry air in our house.

    I loved your photo of drying clothes. Roll on, summer!

  5. I started drying my laundry outside last winter when PG&E offered a rebate for cutting our energy use by 20%. Now two of my friends do it too.

    We're fortunate to have frequent sunny days even in the winter.

  6. Chrissou, I wish we had as many dry days in the winter so I could dry clothes outside. As it is, I am drying heavier pieces -- jeans, sweatpants, some towels -- on radiators in the house in the morning hours. By noon, we turn off the furnace and later in the day we have a wood fire.

    Louise, I'll tell Anne at Bluevicar about the drying racks at Lowe's and Ikea. Maybe there's an Ikea in the Denver area.

    Conn and Ev,

    Isn't it strange how hanging clothes out to dry has become a sign of poverty? When I was growing up, my mother hung clothes out and in coastal N.C. you could do that pretty much year 'round. Clothes that have dried on the line outdoors are crisper and fresher than the ones you dry in a machine.

  7. Dryer did not exist when I was growing up, in Montréal. My mother hung the clothes outside, in the backyard, on a ligne à poulie even during the cold winter. It would freeze solid!
    After two hours, we would help bring the clothes down to the basement for drying. We could not even fold them. She said, like Ken, that the clothes were fresher this way. It smelled better! There was a very special technique to hang clothes: by size, general items first, then personal ones, then socks. then cleaning rags.
    No clothes lines in Toronto!Alas!

  8. Beaver and Claudia, What in the world did people do about drying their clothes up there in Montréal and Toronto before there were dryers?

  9. I was not born in Montreal but my MIL told me that the basement ( or the bathroom will do) was the place and if you have a fireplace/wood stove in a room then you are lucky.

  10. By the time I came to Toronto, people had dryers. In Montreal, whether we lived on the first, second, or third floor,each tenant had outside separate stairs and balconies, front and back. In the back, to hang the clothes, we used a pulley line which extended from the balcony to a post in the back alley. As I said, in my previous comment, my mother insisted in using it even in winter.We would bring the clothes in, frozen solid, and put them in the basement, or a spare room to finish drying, "Avec une bonne senteur de dehors!" my mother would say. In those days, there was a routine for housework. People all washed the same day. You could see everybody's washing, sur les cordes à linge. Maybe 20,25houses, of three floors, a different family sur chaque étage, all the houses sharing
    the same walls, from the beginning of the street till the end. You have to see the streets of Plateau Montréal to understand community living! I hope it hasn't changed...

  11. Oh my....I'm flattered to have been a catalyst for your post about laundry. It is amazing how we do things differently depending on where we are and what resources are available to us. I'm going to check out Lowe's...in search of a retractable multi-line "thingy" that will hang below eye level so as not to offend but will still get the job done.

    It's great to learn how many people are out there flapping in the breeze...uh, their laundry, I mean!

    Meilleurs voeux!!


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