Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hanging laundry in February

"I am happy," I told my husband.  He came out the back door to find me hanging wash on our clotheslines. It is an unusual, brilliantly sunny, mid-forties, mid-February kind of day. Mid-February in Chicago is normally associated with blizzards, pools of blackened slush, icy sidewalks, snow drifts, and heart attacks as a result of strenuous shoveling.  Last year, this time, the children were sledding down a story-tall mountain of snow on the seats of their snow pants.

There is a 3-story porch attached to the back of our building.  Some years ago, I tied clotheslines straight across to posts parallel to outer railings, parallel to diagonal stair railings. Surprisingly, considering my lack of knot tying skills, the lines have held up.  Sagging occasionally, and subsequently tightened, they weathered well.  They are a strong, white, woven, cotton/something else blend.  No fraying or transfer of blackness like from plastic lines in the past.  I turn clothes inside out and pluck them off when they are dry to avoid fading from the sun.  

Some great things about hanging things out to dry on lines:
+ Long sheets, towels, and blankets hang straight and dry well vs getting balled up snarling together and staying damp in the drier.
+ Elastic lasts longer,  the dryer kills elastic.
+ Great smell of air, even in the city.
+ Clothes stay the same size, no shrinking!
+ Longer lastingness of fabrics, no rubbing away or thinning.  I shudder to touch dryer lint.
+ Crunchy texture of stiff towels and jeans.  I'm addicted to it.  I was in college before I touched a fluffy towel at a friend's house.  Kind of creeped me out or at least surprised me.

If I use the little wooden folding drying racks for socks and undies, I can have enough room to hand up 2 full loads of laundry from our front loading washer.  I think it has double the capacity/volume of the kind that has an agitator in the middle.  Another bonus is that it really wrings clothes out.  Much less wetness compared to the conventional washer. a downside is that more prewashing is necessary for even slight stains.  My husband put the racks away in the basement for the winter.  I'm too lazy to find and wipe them down today so I hung up the socks and undies one by one on the lines.  If it's a hot, windy summer day, I can do multiple loads in a day, taking down load one, and load three is ready to be hung.  My tiredness threshold dictates stopping for the day.

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