Thursday, July 26, 2012

To Hang Out or Not

25 + sets of bedding hanging out to dry at Baekeland Camp.
[copyright  Anna Low, 2011]
First, let me start with a disclaimer and apology. I am unceremonious usurping the first Love For Lemons blog post. I've been helping Kate with some design and photography work, so let this read as a test of the new blog. I might as well be on topic though, so here we go. 

At the beginning of the summer I installed a clothes line in my back yard. I have always wanted one. I have romantic ideas about clothes lines, and fond memories - running through drying sheets as my grandma hung out her moo-moos and grandpa's Dickies work pants; a new line and rigging purchased as a thank-you gift for grandparents-in-law for hosting our wedding in their field. Last summer I spent an amazing week at an old fashion Adirondack 'camp' where 25 sets of bedding could be hung out to dry at one time. Clothes lines come with history, tradition and time-tested technology.

I'm also a green clean gal. Before discovering Love For Lemons products, I cleaned my home with vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner's, water and little else. A clothes line was conspicuously missing from my green domestic routine, so it felt great to string one up. Since its installation, I have been both shocked and tickled with the responses it draws. 

The first response that shocked me was mine own. This is such a simple technology, yet I felt compelled to do some research before hanging my wash out. I feel silly about it now, but I had a million questions - What happens if I leave the wash out overnight? Are wooden pins better than plastic? Will they leave marks on the clothes? What if the resident skunk passes by? What if it rains? Through trail and error (and laziness), I've answered all these with a resounding 'it doesn't matter'. 

The second, very pleasant, response came from my husband. I had no idea that he has always loved line dried clothes. I do too. There is a crisp, rough nature to everything hung out. It feels clean. For those of you who go to extraordinary lengths for soft towels, line drying is not for you. If you love towels that exfoliate while drying, you're going to love this.

The most common response I hear is that people feel like they don't have time to hang wash out. While it's true that it takes longer than shoving clothes into the dryer, I am betting overall it takes me only a few minutes more in total to have dry clothes. I have a great, new drier, but clothes I hang out dry in about half the time, so the laundry is finished sooner. And hanging them out doesn't take as long as you'd think, plus it's a brilliant, satisfying, peaceful activity to be out in the sun, with fresh smelling clothes, getting in some bending and stretching exercise. 

I haven't mentioned the obvious benefits. I am saving electricity (and money). I have no desire to calculate how much, but I know it's something. Sunlight is one of the best disinfectants. And if you use a nice detergent, like Love For Lemons Laundry Soda, so not only does the wash smell great, but a beautiful rosemary breeze blows in the house while the clothes dry. 

I have a few more months of line drying before winter strikes. I'm curious to see how I feel about the clothes line then. But until the snow gets deep, peace and hang out.

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