Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Simple Gifts

I used to hang out my laundry all the time. We didn't have a dryer. Twice I fell while carrying baskets of wet clothes--one fall produced a broken foot (try that when you're pregnant!) and the other a badly sprained ankle. When the dryer came, I quit hanging out clothes thankfully.

Funny how we go full circle sometimes. For the past year I've wanted a clothesline again. We still had the poles but they were in the wrong spot. I kept talking about it. Wouldn't it be nice to have sheets that smell of sunshine? Wouldn't it save on our electric bill? At the same time, I realized that given my limited amount of time at home in the evenings and even on weekends, hanging out laundry might actually be a luxury I could not afford as far as time was concerned.

But one day a few weeks ago, I came home to find that Larry had pulled up and re-set the poles in a new, sunny location. I was thrilled. But the weather didn't cooperate on the weekends I was home--until Sunday.
Sunday I hung out four loads. They dried in less than an hour. The clothes smell wonderful. The dryer didn't run all day (my dryer is not working right, I think, because it takes at least 90 minutes to dry one load--ugh).
Such a simple thing, hanging out laundry. Wooden clothespins, sunshine and a nice breeze, clothes fluttering colorfully in the yard--it was part of my life for a long time, and it is good to have it back. I find that we are slowly simplifying our life by removing some of the "conveniences" we've added over the years. First the TV left, then the dishwasher. Quiet returned in their place. Now the dryer will be silent too, at least some of the time.
We will keep the dryer because I know that there will be many times I will still need it, unlike the TV and dishwasher that are seldom missed. But one more thing is unplugged, one more tiny drop in the electric bill, and one more activity that will take me outside to enjoy the sun and air has been restored.
Simple gifts. They're the best kind.

13 comments:

Rowan said...

I have a tumble dryer but have always line dried my washing outdoors whenever it's possible even in winter. Usually I can only manage one load dried outdoors at that time of year because the days are short so I have to use the tumble dryer more then.

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

swampy and i have constant battles over drying clothes! he is a big fan of the tumble drier my mum gave us while i love hanging things outside in the fresh air~roll on warmer weather when i can get my own way!

Laura said...

I hang all of my husband's clothes out to dry. I have grown to enjoy going out to hang the clothes and take that time just to check out what all is happening outside. I only have one line, so I don't think I'd ever get the whole family's laundry done if I didn't dry some of it.

warren said...

Good move! You can't ever complain about a smaller power bill either!

The Holmes Crew said...

I love the smell of clothes that are dried outdoors! I use wooden dryers indoors in the winter as well as the summer. I couldn't however part with my dryer. I put ALL the clohes in the dryer for a5 minutes just to get them a little soft, then hang them and wait for Mother Nature to do the rest!

P.S. I found you through Liz's blog over at Inventing my life!

Janet, said...

I like to line dry in the summer, too. My neighbor's husband once said he couldn't believe I took the time to hang clothes up outside. I told her it was relaxing and I actually liked doing it.

Granny Sue said...

How far we've come! At one time hanging out laundry was considered to be drudgery; now many of us are doing it by choice. It is like many of the old ways we are re-discovering: baking our own bread, or heating with wood, or quilting. Now we can choose to do these things, rather than having to do them from necessity. And in the process, we are finding a richness in the tasks that perhaps our mothers and grandmothers knew--or perhaps they only saw the work as drudgery and missed what we are discovering?

Tammy said...

Like you, I've injured myself hauling a heavy load to the line...I pulled my back so bad!

I do have a clothes line here in town, but only sheets and delicates go on it on a pretty day.

KimT said...

brings back memories

Anonymous said...

And your clothes will lst a lot long too.

Granny Sue said...

I have heard that before, Anon. The lint in the dryer is actually fiber from our clothes. What I don't understand is how that is different from line-drying them. doesn't fiber come off then too?

Jason Burns said...

One thing that John and I love about our house is the clothesline! Of course, our house is old, so it came with one. It also came with a dryer, which broke after I used it one and a half times! My clothesline has yet to break.

Jaime said...

we had a clothesline when we first moved here but unforunately it was in the only flat spot the kids could play in. so that was out. i would love to have one. possible a circular one in a spot where the sun came down and was not in kid space. hmmmm....

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