I was reading The Simple Dollar, one of my fav-o blogs, and as I went through the posts (Note: readers sure are great for those of us who are skimmers.), one that particularly caught my eye was about clotheslines and his decision to choose not to install a clothesline because of the perceived “poverty” it (may) imply. I decided to come jot down my thoughts on the Simple Dollar’s post, before reading the comments that followed.
Growing up we always had a clothesline. I remember mom hanging out clothes in our small town house. I remember using the poles for a multitude of imaginary play (kissing the boyfriend-pole, as a soldier husband/boyfriend returning from war, twirling around the pole as a dance partner, etc). When we moved from small town house, there in the bigger city backyard was a clothesline. My first apartment didn’t have one, neither did my second. But I often hung clothes in the shower, or on the deck. Not a lot, but often enough. I was very pleased when our first house had a clothesline in back. It felt like home again.
One of the first signs of Spring is the ability to, hang clothes out on the line. In Winter I will sometimes hang clothes indoors, but it isn’t the same. I hang clothes out of habit. It is free, simple and brings me joy, the simplicity of it all. I was once told that each load of laundry dried in the dryer is about $1. I’ve seen it quoted as less, but in my head I stick to that dollar amount as motivation to hang it outside. As if I needed it. I love the smell of line-dried clothing. Sheets dried under the sun make slumber that much more sweet.
Sometimes when I’m hanging the clothes out to dry, the neighbor will tease, “When you’re done over there, you can come hang mine, too!!” We laugh about it. A friend of mine saw my lines and asked if I used them, “What a little homemaker you are, line-drying your clothes.” That was the first time I realized that, duh, not everyone hangs clothes out to dry.
Never did I think it might be a sign of poverty. Never did I think that someone might think it absurd or “ghetto” to dry my clothes on the line. I enjoy the sight of sprinklers and clotheslines, toys in the yard and people on porches. To me, it is neighborhood life. Personally, I don’t think I could live in a neighborhood where line-drying was unacceptable, and the pressure to not have a clothesline in my yard kept me from doing so. Although, I would simply overlook that pressure and do it anyway. That may not be the comfortable choice for Simple Dollar, though. But there is an alternative: an Indoor Clothesline!! Ooh-la-la. Make the neighbors happy, while being able to line-dry clothes. You miss the nice bennies of the sun, fresh air, etc. But for pure frugality? Can’t be beat.