Growing up my mother never used a clothesline. Actually that’s not entirely true. In our basement my mother had a crude line strung from one wall to the other. I know she occasionally hung stuff on it, but I don’t recall why or under what circumstances. We never had an actual clothesline outside, however, and the general consensus was that my dad would never have allowed such an eyesore in our backyard. He’s a very picky man when it comes to his home and surroundings and takes a lot of pride in everything being orderly, pristine and well-kept. I do, however, have fond memories of running through the fresh-smelling, slightly damp, crisp sheets of neighbors hanging on their clotheslines.
Fast forward a couple of years (okay, decades) and I found myself a cloth diaper newbie, renting a house while on vacation at the beach. I discovered, with much excitement, a clothesline in the backyard, drenched in sun, blowing in the ocean breezes. Thus began my love affair with the clothesline. I immediately installed an umbrella style clothesline in my own backyard upon return from our vacation and still, to this day, love hanging my cloth diapers on it.
There are practical reasons to love a clothesline. It saves energy, making it a greener, more earth-friendly way to dry your clothes. It saves money. It takes advantage of the wonderful, natural properties of the sun. The suns UV rays naturally bleach your diapers helping to rid them of stains and brighten them overall. The ultraviolet radiation also kills bacteria, thus disinfecting your diapers as well. And this isn’t only on sunny days. Just as your skin can tan or burn on cloudy days, the effects of the sun on your diapers can be achieved on cloudy and even chilly days. Of course, the fresh breezes are the icing on the cake. Nowhere else does nothingness smell so good than on freshly washed and clothesline dried cloth diapers.
Just as important to me, however, are the emotional benefits of using a clothesline. It may sound silly, but I really love the act of taking my freshly washed diapers out to the clothesline on a sunny day and hanging them to dry in the bright sunshine and warm breezes. Like most of you my days are filled with all of the necessary evils that we’ve all come to love and loathe at the same time: cell phones, computers, iPods, things that beep, things that need to be charged, things that demand our immediate attention and things that inevitably break-down leaving us helplessly paralyzed without them at exactly the wrong time. Stepping outside with my very simple cloth diapers, to my even simpler clothesline, grounds me ever so slightly. No matter what may happen when I step back inside, for that five minute break I am forced to breathe in the fresh air and perform a very simple, but very rewarding task. The only thing better is when I come back out to pull my fresh, clean diapers off the line.
And in case you were wondering…yes, my father thinks the clothesline in my yard is an eyesore, but he thinks the same about the sandbox, the swingset, the toys…
By Jennifer G.