Drying Clothes

Spring clothespinsThere’s nothing quite like walking out of the house on a spring morning with a laundry basket of clothes ready to be hung. Birds sing, the sun shines and as you pin them up, the clothes become a part of the scene, flapping gently in the breeze, whispering tales of hundreds of thousands of women over the years. They’re all listening to the birds, feeling the sun on their faces and hands as they pin the family laundry to the line.

Once upon a time, women would get up early, put a pot of beans or a stew on the stove and then begin the laundry. They would start early so the clothes would all be on the line drying by noon and then they’d have time for lunch (often called dinner) and to clean up after it and have a little time for other things before bringing in the clothes, clean, dry and smelling fresh.

In this once upon a time land, laundry day was on the same day every week for every one of these women, unless it rained, of course. You couldn’t do laundry then because the clothes wouldn’t dry in the rain.

Clothespin Apron

Now, you can do laundry on any day and even at night if you want to. Indeed, some people do a load or two of laundry every day! Ugh. Limited to an automatic washer and an automatic dryer, a woman’s work is indeed never done!

It’s not too late, though. You can still hang your clothes outside and enjoy the morning. Drying clothes outside has changed a little over the years, but the concept is the same.  Along with drying your clothes, the sun will sanitize them and make the whites a little whiter. A little breeze softens the clothes but doesn’t beat them to death like a dryer does. Pop quiz: Where does dryer lint come from?

Clotheslines were, at one time, always wire lines, sometimes coated with plastic or rubber and strung between two posts, trees or other objects that were several feet apart. The clothes were pinned to the line with clothespins until they dried. Now, “clotheslines” are more properly called “drying systems” and while they may include a clothesline, they also include umbrella or spinning types of systems and racks of all kinds.

Extra-Large Spinning Clothes Dryer with Crank
Extra-Large Spinning Clothes Dryer with Crank

You don’t use clothespins with racks and some umbrellas but you will definitely need them with clotheslines. Don’t buy spring type clothespins from a dollar store or “big box” store because the springs are wimpy now and won’t hold heavy pieces on the line. How do I know? I now have a few dozen spring pins that are good for nothing but holding potato chip bags closed and don’t even do a good job of that.

While few households would want to be completely without a dryer, most dryers are overused. Electric dryers can use as much as 75 cents worth of electricity for every load and that’s not counting repairs and the cost of buying one in the first place.  Let’s take another peek back into our once upon a time: Clothes lasted longer. Electric bills were smaller. And you could go off to town or take a nap after the clothes were washed because you didn’t have to wait around for the dryer to finish.

What’s not to like about that?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

[…] is the celebration of National Hanging Out Day. It’s a day of action to encourage people to line dry instead of using a power dryer for […]

Carla Snyder Salada
Carla Snyder Salada
12 years ago

I just got your catalog in the mail….love it!!

Lora Kirk
Lora Kirk
12 years ago

“Birds sing, . . . ” How do you prevent them from landing on the clothesline or flying by and pooping on the clothes?

Share lehman's

also by this author

Great Garage Sale Tips

Now is the perfect time to have a garage sale. Kids are back in school so you have a little time to sort through things. It’s time to clean the coat closet, put away summer things and get things in order for colder weather. And, many people will be looking for deals this time of year on off-season items.

Read More

How To Make a Rag Rug

I was in a large department store recently and saw a huge display of rag rugs – in coordinated colors throughout. They were tightly woven

Read More


Lehman’s loves to help folks lead a simpler life.  Submit your email address below, and we’ll send new recipes, simple living tips, and announcements to you.

Follow Us

people also enjoyed reading