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21 July 2008

Project Laundry List Celebrating and promoting air-dried laundry as a small simple way to make a change.[More:]I got to see Bill McKibben speak yesterday, and he's involved with this project. He spoke a lot about small local community-based actions to reduce energy use, and this was an example of a program that does so - he's on the board.

I like that they're into celebrating laundry lines as art. They really are beautiful, aren't they? They were such a part of the surrounding landscape when I was a child. Now, you hardly ever see one.

There's a laundry line in my backyard, but I rarely use it. I think the main reason is that it would mean I'd have to iron. As things are, I take stuff hot from the dryer and fold or hang it so wrinkles never set in. I'd have to iron a lot more if I used my laundry line. But I should try it - really, I should, especially while it's nice out and summery.
I like when you see them in the city hanging off of windows above the ground level.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 21 July | 10:01
I've had exactly the opposite experience. The air 'round here is polluted as hell, and the clothes always stank when they hung outside. That is, when the wind wasn't blowing dust and getting things all dirty again. When the dryer hasn't worked, I've hung stuff inside, and everything is stiff. I wonder if it's the hard water.

How do they keep towels from getting stiff in this routine?
posted by lysdexic 21 July | 10:15
Answered my own q: cheat :)
posted by lysdexic 21 July | 10:17
We have laundry drying thingies in our common yard. Anyone can dry their laundry outside. It feels so seventies chic when people do. :)

Yeah hard water stiffness can be cured with either fabric softener (gag) or much smarter water softener (a type of salt you pour in). I dry inside a lot but teh water isn't as hard here as it was in Copenhagen where I had to use that salt stuff every time I washed.
posted by dabitch 21 July | 10:26
Wow, I didn't see that part of the site. Using the dryer for only the last few minutes makes a ton of sense. OK, I'm onboard.
posted by Miko 21 July | 10:30
I often do the opposite: tumble dry for a few minutes to get the major wrinkles out, then hang dry. (Or just hang dry and let the wrinkles sit there, smiling their crooked smiles at me.)

Then again, I'm always pretty rumpled, so my style/laundry tips might not be the ones to take. Hee.

During the winter, I bypass the dryer entirely. The bone-dry air in our apartment lets everything dry in a snap, which helps raise the humidity above nose-bleed level: a win-win.
posted by Elsa 21 July | 10:39
(I didn't have a dryer at all back then, so I couldn't do anything but air-dry. Ironing things when still a tad moist helps a lot for softness too.)
posted by dabitch 21 July | 10:42
we tried this. sadly we have a pigeon infestation in our neighbourhood, and I think trying to get purple berry-stained pigeon shit out of whites may trump the energy savings of air-drying. sucks because I personally prefer airdried clothes, too.
posted by lonefrontranger 21 July | 11:09
We cannot have clotheslines because of the damn HOA. I do, however, dry nearly all of my clothes inside on a rack. The only thing that goes into the dryer are towels and sheets. I would string up lines through my house if it weren't impractical. I love line drying.
posted by msali 21 July | 11:22
My mother was the queen of laundry. Six kids, and twice a week she'd hang the clean sheets to dry in the sun, then put them in the dryer and warm them up before making the beds, just before bedtime, so they'd be warm and cozy. I didn't know how good I had it.
posted by StickyCarpet 21 July | 11:22
My mother also had six kids, and years ago my dad strung two laundry lines through the yard and across a gully. There are lines hanging in the laundry room too for winter time. Last time my ex went to visit with me the outside lines had been knocked down by a storm. He crossed the gully and climbed the tree to re-hang them, then nearly broke his ankle getting out of the tree.
posted by rhapsodie 21 July | 11:38
I've been hanging my laundry this summer to keep from heating the house up AND try to save on the electric bill. I hang my shirts on their hangers, then hang those on the back porch from the bar under the awning that was meant for hanging plants. Everything else I dry on a rack that I stand out on the deck... I need to go put some clothes out on it right now, in fact, since I just realized the washer's stopped.
posted by BoringPostcards 21 July | 11:41
My mother still line-dries her laundry, as do most of the people I know in New Zealand. I had never heard of homeowners associations not allowing it until I moved here.

Hanging out the laundry was one of my favourite jobs to do when I was a kid. And there is very little that needs to be ironed... just shirts really. Jeans etc. are folded up and put in the hot water cylinder cupboard to air (which I guess you don't really have over here either).

And on a warm day line-drying doesn't take much longer than using a drier, and the clothes are much better smelling. And it's *so* much cheaper. I can't imagine why anyone would prefer to use a drier if they had the option to do otherwise.
posted by gaspode 21 July | 11:46
I like Bill McKibben - I've read a couple of his books and especially liked Long Distance, about his athletic quests. Miko I'm totally with you on the ironing thing. I very rarely iron - I listen for the dryer to stop so that I can grab everything, smooth it out, and fold it up, all to avoid ironing. But you're so right .. it is one small step that I could take, at least in the warmer weather. I probably won't though, I'll probably just feel a little guilty every time I run the dryer now.
posted by Kangaroo 21 July | 12:54
I hang my shirts on their hangers,

Now that is brilliant and step-saving!
posted by Miko 21 July | 13:20
Drying on the line sounds romantic and green and all but it rains pretty constantly where I live. It rained something like 25 days in June. I'd be waiting a long time for my clothes to dry.
posted by octothorpe 21 July | 13:46
If people need to be told to air-dry laundry, not because it's the simplest, cheapest way of doing things, but for some nebulous environmental benefit, then we're all going to die anyway.
posted by pompomtom 21 July | 23:21
It's a little less simple, pompomtom, really. On sheer simplicity, the dryer has it all over the line. For one thing, you don't have to handle every separate piece of clothing when you put it into the dryer, only when you take it out.
posted by Miko 21 July | 23:27
Oh, I wish I had the option! I have a terrace on which no laundry is allowed to be hung. I didn't have a dryer before I moved to London as I didn't need one, but living in a flat I don't have a choice. I love my washer-dryer though - put the washing in, set it, turn it on and an hour later washed and dried clothes.

I would love a field of lavender on which to dry my clothes more, though!
posted by goo 22 July | 12:28
Miko: I'm thinking we have different definitions of simple. I can dry stuff over the back of a chair when the power's off, without having an appliance.
posted by pompomtom 22 July | 23:26
It's still going on. || Hi'ya Bunny!