Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Actually it's clean laundry, but it's still out there for everyone to see. As I mentioned the other day, we're using cloth diapers for baby bee. We've got a dresser full with sizes ranging from newborn to big enough that this-kid-had-better-not-use-these-in-college-after-a-night-of-drinking, they're clean and ready to go, so there's really no going back now. With adding another member to our family and especially with one wearing cloth diapers there obviously will come a lot more laundry. And I don't like the dryer.

The reason for my disdain for the dryer is three part: first, my dad used to charge us 25 cents for every light we left on (it may have just been a threat, but it was so effective I can't remember) and he totally freaks out if the dryer is turned on when it's dry outside, no sun needed - my parents hang laundry in the winter. In Maine. Where the laundry freezes. If that laundry isn't in a frozen solid state of semi-dry, it's not going in the dryer. Bottom line is I'm scared to use "too much" electricity. Second, I let a friend borrow my favorite shirt in high school and her mom dried it in a dryer. It got pills on it. I never wore it again. Third, I'm really tall and I've got arms and legs disproportionally long for my body. Sleeves and pants shrink in the dryer. A quarter inch makes a huge difference when you're already struggling to make high-water pants look cool. So clothes drying rack it is.

A clothes line running across the old basement and a portable drying rack from Ikea did the trick up until now. But after spending the summer in Maine, where I obviously didn't use the dryer (except those couple times I had to preshrink fabric for projects with the dryer on high, OMG don't tell or they'll never let me back), I decided I needed a clothes line, NOW. So I mentioned it at least three dozen times to anyone who would listen, and guess what appeared on our doorstep the other day?
An anniversary gift from my parents. I was psyched; the last time I asked for something that many times I was ten and I definitely didn't get the puppy I wanted for at least eleven years. S was ecstatic; I don't think he could possibly think of something he wanted more - the eye rolls gave it away. Whatever, they're my parents!

So of course I fast-tracked "install laundry line base" to the top of our to-do list. And in record time - less than 24 hours from delivery - we were outside installing our Brabantia Lift-O-Matic All Weather Rotary Dryer. We could have installed it the first day had we not spent 10 hours discussing where it's best to hang one's underwear when one's home is located on a corner lot. "Over by the HVAC thingy, it's ugly over there anyway" won.

The clothes line came with everything we needed except a hammer and a piece of scrap 2x4:
Including a nifty base with a pointed tip that you just whack into the ground. The packaging said the diagonal span of the clothes line is just over nine feet, so we measured between the chimney and the fence, found that it would fit with two inches to spare, centered the ground spike between the two and whacked away.
S plopped the clothes line into the holder in the ground and we jiggled it around to get the base fairly straight.
And now we have a clothes line:
That folds up nice and small and has it own cover to keep it nice and clean. 'Cause there's nothing worse than taking clean laundry off the line and finding dirty spots from dirty, molding clothes lines.
The whole thing can easily be taken out of the ground for storage and the base even has its own little red cap to keep dirt and water from clogging the hole.
And because I'm kind of a fanatic about keeping stuff new and neat, we did store the whole thing in the shed last night and it was super easy to just pop it in the ground this morning, ya' know, when I wanted to air our laundry for the whole world to see.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make sure I didn't leave the light on downstairs by the washing machine....

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  1. almost every household in australia has a 'hills hoist' clothes line in the backyard. (google image it and you'll see - they used to double as playgournd equipment also!!) a friend of mine (aussie family) just spent 4 years living near new york and she commented that they weren't allowed to hang washing outside where they lived!!!! i was shocked. i guess we're lucky that we mostly have warm weather - but even in winter we only use the dryer if we're desperate! and nothing smells as good as freshly sun dried laundry!
    anyhoo - i'm babbling!
    love your new outdoor clothesline.
    cheryl xox.

  2. Wow, what a childhood! We're laughing hysterically!

  3. Anonymous9/18/2011

    This brought back a memory from my childhood when women had wringer washing machines (if they were lucky) and ONLY solar dryers. There was never any adult female underwear on the clothesline next door so my sister assumed that the Mrs. went commando. How scandalous! Oh, how we tried to get a peek up under her housedress to verify the theory but we were never successful.
    Kathy from NJ

  4. Kelly H.9/20/2011

    Being a native Mainer and recent North Carolina transplant this really hit home! We put up a clothesline in our backyard down here and get the weirdest reactions from our southern friends. We just grew up not using the dryer, especially if it's hot and sunny out, just feels wrong! We're trying to pass on our Maine efficiency (read "cheap-ness") to our little one that will be coming along shortly. We're also going to try cloth diapers, we'll see if cheap and eco-friendly win out over tired and desperate. Best of luck with your little bee!

  5. Just found your blog. So cute! I love the elephant themed nursery. Cutest
    In searching around for more posts about your newest baby bee, I found this one.
    I'm so excited I found it, I can't even tell you! I've been wanting a clothesline for.ev.er. But we have a tiny backyard. Yay for this discovery.

    Excited to hear you are CD-ing too! We will be doing the same for sure!
    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog today.


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