I got as much a charge out of reading everyone’s “clothesline” comments as I did out of the original post! Philippa made a comment about “laundry trees,” so I thought I’d elaborate a bit more on that topic.
I use a “laundry tree” all winter long. (I love this term, by the way, since it actually describes the contraption I currently have.) I used to use a “butterfly rack,” which had “wings” that unfolded and could be supported by brackets, all of which supported one washload; that lasted me for many years, till my grandson decided to use it as a jungle gym. (He was about two at the time.) At that point I went looking online for a substitute, and found this laundry tree at Williams-Sonoma. I must have gotten the last one, because it’s no longer featured. (Silly people.)
Anyway, the “tree” supports one full load of laundry. It’s about six feet high, which means the top racks are taller than I am, and I have to stretch to reach them; but what I especially like about this “tree” is that I can hang sheets from it, if they are folded in fourths, so for the first time ever, I can hang all my laundry off this thing. Winter or summer, I do one load a day, though when the kids were home, I sometimes upped that to two loads.
When I do whites, I put all the “unmentionables” on the inside (I’m just that old-fashioned about underwear), and things like T-shirts and sweatshirts on the outside, so everything in between is covered over nicely. The rack actually stands in my kitchen, behind the kitchen table; people who know me know about my “idiot-syncrasies,” and those who don’t — well, if you object, don’t come visiting.
Always an early riser, I’d have my washing on the line (or the rack) by 8:30 am the latest; when I got a job that began at 8:00 am, I just got up earlier and put my laundry on first thing. Last year, I got hit with a double whammy: more abdominal surgery, which meant that I couldn’t lift more than five pounds at once, and the Summer-That-Wasn’t, which all of us in the Northeast remember: That was the year that Mother Nature confused us with the Pacific Northwest, so we got all their rain, and they got all our heat. I think it rained throughout June, July, and August, except (of course) for the two weeks I was at the Summer School in Jordanville.
Anyway, under those two constrictions, and with no electric or gas dryer, I was forced to hang laundry on the laundry tree in the kitchen, and discovered, to my amazement — that it dried just fine. Took a little longer than in the winter — in the winter, because the heating system dries the house out so much, things can be dry in six to eight hours — but every 24 hours, I was able to fold dry stuff and hang out more wet stuff.
So I am completely liberated from slavery to a dryer and its attendant horrors, like remembering to clean out the lint filter from time to time. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get too old to hang out laundry. Probably just go into assisted living…. 😉