A backyard clothesline has always been part of my home life. I have vivid childhood memories of what appeared to be miles and miles of clothes and sheets flapping in the warm sunshine and fresh air. I think we had the longest clothesline in all of Long Island. It extended from a corner of my house all the way across the lawn and attached to a large oak tree. I guess it could hold at least 2 loads of laundry. I continued the clothesline tradition in 3 out of 4 houses that we lived in and it’s time to reestablish the tradition.
As a child I spent many summers in Norway on my grandparent’s farm. My mother spent many- an-hour in the cellar washing clothes for her family of 5 and my grandparents. There was no dryer, so all the clothes went on the clothesline. Then in the early 1980’s they built a summer cabin in the mountains of Norway (pictured above) and the washing and drying of clothing continued the old fashioned way. I know that is hard for many of you to imagine, but that’s how things were back in the old country when I was a kid. So wherever I was living, a clothesline was hanging in the yard.
I’m sure my kids have the same memories of a clothesline. I used my clothesline year round. Everything went on the clothesline that needed some airing out: blankets, pillows, sweaters and coats. I even was a little OCD with how I hung the items. Ask my girls, they can attest to my fastidiousness.
I always found it odd that hardly anyone used a clothesline in all my years of adulthood. I can barely think of one household that had a clothesline. I’m sure that’s not the case, but honestly I can’t think of anyone. I also find it very strange in this day and age of climate change that there hasn’t been a resurgence of the clothesline. Why wouldn’t you want to reduce your carbon footprint and hang your clothes out in the fresh air? I guess I know the reason: it takes time and most can’t be bothered. Trust me, I get it. I know what it’s like to work full time, raise kids and the thought of carrying out a laundry basket filled with heavy, wet clothes, dropping it on the ground and one by one hanging up your clothing items can be a little daunting. But…it’s so worth it. Sure the clothes may be a little stiff but other than that, they don’t shrink and man do they smell good. You know there’s nothing like crawling into clean sheets that have been on the clothes line. Right?
So let’s be responsible steward of planet earth and put up a clothesline. You might find the effort to be very enjoyable and rewarding. The other consideration, perhaps just “airing” certain items is enough? Maybe we could save some water in the meantime, that would be another worthwhile cause. But, as for me it’s time for me to make it 4 of 4 houses and keep the long standing clothesline tradition alive and active while making efforts in preserving our earthly home.
*The pictures below are from our recent trip to Italy. However, my favorite clothesline picture is hanging on a wall in my house, taken in Italy by my daughter Sarah. Somehow I’ll have to “borrow” that photo from her and add it to my collection so I can share it with you.