Monday, July 12, 2010

Like Tweet

Why I Love My Clothesline

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.

21 comments:

nic and krista said...

This post is me to a tee. I LOVE my clothesline. It's so nice to take a break from a busy day to get outside and hang my diapers on the line. It's my quiet thinking time and helps keep me grounded. Thanks for the great post!

Laura said...

I LOVE my clothesline and have used it long before baby & deciding to cloth diaper! Saves energy, keeps my house from getting all hot from the dryer and clothes (& diapers) & I love that the sun helps bleach out those diaper & stubborn baby food stains.

sandra said...

How do you keep them from being stiff as a board. I had my hubby put me up a line and everything is stiff. I don't mind so much on our clothes but my baby's butt is another story. Do you just hang the covers/ pockets not the inserts or prefold?

Melissa said...

I feel the same way about drying my cloth diapers outside. I wish I had a clothesline. I only have a portable drying rack, but I've already asked my husband if we can put a real clothesline up so I can hang more than just the diapers.
I can make due with my little portable drying rack. It still does the trick and like you I enjoy hanging up the diapers and putting them out to dry. :)

Mrs. Grant said...

Love this post!!

Karen said...

Ah, I wish we had a backyard to do this! My mom used to dry on the clothesline on nice days. They always smelled so good afterwards!

Crystal said...

I feel the same way! There is something wholesome and satisfying about marching out with an apron full of clothes pins and basket of wet diapers to be hung on the line. It brings me back to the simple things in life and helps me to enjoy them.

Jennifer said...

My Mother was just the opposite. We didn't have a dryer for the longest time. Growing up with 6 siblings and a father who was terminally ill made it impossible to own things so "luxurious". So my Mother line dried our clothing and bedding even on the coldest, snowiest days in NY.
I would love to have a clothes line. Unfortunately with very limited space it makes it nearly impossible. I may have to look into an umbrella line. We're currently using a rope across our porch as a clothes line, it works but it's an eye sore.

Angela V said...

@Sandra - Usually I put the prefolds in the dryer when they are still damp to fluff them up a bit after they have been on the clothesline. If they are dry, I will get one wet & put it in with the dry ones. Or, chances are I am doing another load of laundry and just put them in with the clothes to fluff up in the dryer. Otherwise, the covers, pockets, and inserts don't seem to have a problem.

Tricia said...

I use a wooden drying rack and it works well.

Sandra, I do an air fluff no heat in the dryer and it softens them up in just a few minutes.

Dan and Katie said...

I am so glad I am not the only one!!! I am the first cloth diaperer in my family...group of friends, etc. I am so relieved that I am not "weird"! Something so simply makes me feel so good!

Nikki said...

I too love hanging my diapers outside. Right now I've only got a portable drying rack, which I anchor in the ground with tent stakes on windy days! BUT, I'm getting some clothesline poles from a fellow freecycler and hopefully will having my "real" clothesline up by next week. My Grandma dried all her clothes on the line, and some of my fondest childhood memories are "helping" her hang out and take in the wonderful smelling clothes.

Sabrina said...

I have to say it is so fun to look out and see all those cute diapers on the line.

Cari said...

We don't have a clothesline, but using a drying rack and I LOVE when it's sunny enough out (I live in the Pacific NW) to use it. It would be nice to have an actual line though since dragging the rack out and back can be kind of a pain :).

megpie said...

i love my clothesline, too. technically, they're forbidden where i live, but i will keep it up until they call me on it! i'm actually thinking it's time for dh to add some length...or just another line!

liz.burns said...

A clothesline isn't really doable the way my backyard is set up but I bought a big collapsable metal drying rack from Ikea last year and I LOVE it. It is coated metal and is designed for use outside so I just leave it back there. It makes such a difference with diaper stains. I am a total convert.

Bao said...

I wish I could hang my clothes outside. Alas (1) I live in Seattle where it rains ALL the time and (2) I live in a condo that doesn't allow clotheslines on the balcony :( Boo hoo...

Lilypad Mom said...

We just started cloth diapering and are at a beach house with a clothesline. I love it ad have already told my husband I have to get one when we get home.

Diana said...

I can identify. i love seeing my fluffy cloth on the line, and the moments that I take to put the diapers on the line , and bring them back in again. I love to smell them--the nothingness that happens after a day or two on the line!

ategeler said...

I sooo want to get a clothes line! Planning on getting the umbrella style ones, i have always loved clothes dried outside!

Christine said...

I am new to cloth diapers with my second child due in 8 weeks. I hang dry about 80% of my clothes and this will be no different. It is so refreshing to hang dry your clothes!!