Monday, June 27, 2016

DIY -- clothesline

I realize that in this day and age, some  of you  may not have space to put up a clothesline.
Or if you do it, people might complain.

I have a tiny yard -- although it is bigger than my brother's --
and my HOA has rules on where things can go.

I had one choice for location: the south side of my house, where the mail and trash service comes.
There was only one other thing to decide.
I could have concrete installed in the sloping lawn and put up a permanent umbrella clothesline.
Or I could get a portable umbrella clothesline and put it on the sidewalk, and remember to take it in every time I use it, before nightfall, so it wouldn't rust from dew.

Yeah, I got the portable.

1.   The weather doesn't have to be hot for this to work.  Sunny March and November days are acceptable in the DC region.  So are cloudy hot summer days but you have to be there if there's rain in the forecast, so you can take in the damp clothes and the hardware.
2.   The WIND matters.  Winds above 30 can blow a portable umbrella clothesline over.  Keep an eye out for it so you can set it back up if it falls over, or wait for a calmer day.
3.   You still need to use a mechanical dryer for big heavy things like towels and bedding.  The support for the umbrella isn't strong enough.
4.   Make sure and stabilize the bottom of the bottom tripod.  I forgot to turn the thumbscrew far enough one day and the base started to collapse.
5.   It's true.    Whites will come out whiter.  I've had old turmeric stains bleach out in five hours of sunshine.  To keep other things from fading, make sure that their insides are turned to the sun.
6.   You won't get the softening or fragrance you get with dryer sheets or dryer balls.  You also won't get the chemicals.
7.   If you didn't get a bad stain out, the newly washed garment should not be put in a dryer.  The dryer will bake the stain into the fibers.  You don't have to worry about that with things dried on the clothesline.

I never put the clothesline up on trash day until the trash has been picked up.  The trash gets put into wheeled barrels that get rolled along the sidewalk. 
Mail carriers I figure can go around the clothesline.  Haven't had a complaint from them so far...

This is one of those reasons our foremothers were always on the hop.  They had no weather forecasts unless they had a barometer in the house or could tell by the clouds, the sky, the behavior of birds. 
Blue jays really do scream a lot in the couple of days before a storm, for example.
If our foremothers thought they were going to have a sunny day, they had to get their wash done early so it was ready to hang out. 
They had to boil water on the stove before they could wash or they had to use cold water. 
They had to have coal in the house or dry firing on the porch to boil the water.
And if they guessed the weather wrong, they had to bring the things inside and string their clothesline up in the kitchen, which was probably the only room in a house warm enough to dry the things.

I was watching a PBS "reality" show on people trying to live like wilderness days in Idaho or Montana. 
They arrived in April and one of the women decided to wash ALL the clothes the same day.  Which would have conserved firing.
Unfortunately, there was a late snow that day and she had to dry everything inside.  What's worse, her kids had to walk miles to another homestead to milk their cows for the time being.  With no dry clothes to wear, they had to wrap themselves in blankets to go to the other homestead. In the snow.
But at least she didn't have her clothesline fall onto muddy ground and have to do the laundry all over again.

My clothesline will pay for itself by the end of 2017 in lower power bills.
I need the exercise.
Getting out in the sun a couple of times a day is nice, and it gives me an excuse to suck down some iced tea in the summer.
I have lots of clothes and don't need to do laundry every day.  Not even every week, really.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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