How to Hang Laundry Outside


crocusIn my world, there is a right way to hang laundry outside on a line.  I’m not sure where this notion came about but over the years I’ve realized that I have a certain order to hanging out my laundry on the line.  Maybe it’s because my clothesline ends at a tree that the pulley is screwed to or that my line is about 50 feet long or that it holds 2 full loads of laundry.  Anyway, I think I ‘schooled’ most of my kids on the correct order to hang their clothes on the line and expect them to adhere to my high standards.  Hahaha.  There are no ‘one pin’ clothes hanging on MY line or shirts hung sideways , etc.   Nope, at this house a line full of clothes blowing in the wind is a work of art!

When hanging towels, one must first begin with the facecloths.  I suppose that’s because, like I said, the line ends at a tree so I don’t want long towels blowing against the tree getting bark all over them.  Plus there’s that snowball bush that I planted underneath the line a few years ago, that has grown taller than I thought it would.  After facecloths comes hand towels, then regular towels, large bath sheets and finally the kitchen towels followed lastly by the kitchen dish cloths.  I’m nuts, eh?  If there are sheets to be hung at the same time, then they must be put right after the bath sheets.  Blankets and comforters usually get the line all to themselves since they take up so much room.

One load hung, one load to go

One load hung, one load to go

My personal laundry is usually done once a week on a sunny day – wind is nice – but if I see a tiny peak of blue sky amongst the clouds, I declare the day fit for hanging laundry outside!  My children have always done their own laundry by the time they reached their teens – with 7 children, it was a real break for me when even one of them did their own laundry!  I have a similar system for my own laundry with things grouped together like shirts, shorts, jeans, socks, etc.    Clothes are hung near their seams – shirts from the bottom, pants from the waist, socks by the toe.  In the early spring, I usually hang clothes individually with two clothespins, but once it’s warmer outside, I double up, pinning one shirt beside another with the same clothespin.

When it comes to clothes pins, not all of them are alike either.  Cheap small wooden clothespins break easier than the larger wooden clothespins, which are almost impossible to find these days.  When I do find them, I’ll be buying a couple of hundred!  I’ve never used plastic clothespins.   I usually have a roll of extra new clothesline, winches (which join and tighten the line……and can break with no notice, leaving my clothes all over the ground!), and clothespins.  You never know when your line will suddenly break and I just hate driving all the way to town just for a new line.

Left-cheap / Right-good,strong clothespin

Left-cheap / Right-good, strong clothespin

I have to confess that in the winter I use my clothes dryer as well as a drying rack by the wood cook stove.   My youngest daughter always complains about how ‘crusty’ her line-dried clothes are so I’ve offered her a solution:  she’s allowed to put her clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes only to soften them up a bit ……. after they’ve been dried outside on the line.     I kinda think that ‘crusty’ towels are akin to an expensive, exfoliating  luffa sponge anyway.

I have a thing about using a dryer to heat clothes and the house when it’s 30 degrees celsius (86F) outside!  It just seems more sensible to me to use this outside heat to dry clothes………for free.  I makes no sense to me to pour more heat into the house at the same time I’m trying to keep it cool!

One of my top ten smells is the scent of line-dried clothes.  It’s like fresh air.  (BTW, I have ‘top tens’ for all my senses, lol).

My favourite thing to see hanging on a clothesline are cloth diapers – I just absolutely love seeing those square flannelette white diapers flapping in the wind!

Now of course if you’re camping, it’s perfectly acceptable to tie a rope between two trees and throw your towels or wet bathing suits over – no clothespins necessary.

I remember when my mother used to hang our clothes outside year-round, even in the winter.  Those clothes came inside, after a day in the sun, stiff as a board – the pants creepily stood all by themselves lol.  But as if by magic, they would ‘thaw out’ and be ready for ironing.  Yes my dear sweet Mother ironed EVERYTHING, even the facecloths!!  Not me.  Wrinkled clothes are nouveau chic IMHO!   I usually only dig the iron out when I’m sewing something and need to flatten seams or iron interfacing.  I think my daughter Nellie asked for it today to work on a costume – “that hot thingy”.

Now that I’ve shared all my laundry secrets, I hope that you will continue to visit my blog in the future.  Thank you for allowing me to share my passion over hanging laundry!



13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wild_E
    May 05, 2013 @ 20:17:54

    Did you know that in Whitby and Ajax your not allowed to hang laundry outside!
    so much for the environment..


    • grammomsblog
      May 05, 2013 @ 20:21:45

      Yes, I know – it’s criminal! They claim they are ‘green friendly’ but make stupid rules like no line drying. One city, Kanata, now part of Ottawa rescinded this by-law.


  2. Maureen Sinclair
    May 05, 2013 @ 22:27:52

    I love my clothes on the line.There is nothing like it, I agree with everything you said Linda, That’s what we learn from our Mum’s, Thanks for sharing.


  3. penny
    May 05, 2013 @ 23:18:35

    my one rule, that I sometimes forget and then regret, is do the dark load first, it takes longer to dry!


  4. Betty
    May 06, 2013 @ 01:26:52

    I can understand your passion for hanging clothes correctly on the clothes line!! When I did hang laundry in the old days (haha)… I was VERY particular with the order in which the clothes were hung…and how they were hung…

    And I too, truly love the smell of clothes after they’ve been hung outside to dry…I miss it… Perhaps some day I’ll be able to do it again… and yes… I remember our dear mother bringing those frozen clothes inside in the winter to thaw… her fingers all red and cold…(after washing them in the old wringer-washer)…

    Yes… sista… Hanging laundry IS an art!!…

    Love Bet… xo
    P.S. Rob is laughing like crazy at us!!!… but he did say he might put a line up one of these days!!!… YIPPEE!!… loL


  5. Fred Schueler
    May 06, 2013 @ 12:09:36

    I’m not sure why I believe this, but it seems to me that the best way to dry clothes is to hang them out in the winter to freeze and dry frozen. IMHO the clothes drier was one of those “ideas” of the 1950s which turned out to be a dud.


  6. cuckoo
    May 07, 2013 @ 13:46:47

    In my world the pants hang by the bottom, not the waist. The socks by the cuff, not the toe. To each their own…


  7. Trackback: Clothes Dryer Maintenance | Grammomsblog

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