Dry Your Laundry Like You’re in Italy: How to Use Drying Racks and Clotheslines

Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite things: clotheslines.

Clotheslines? Oh yes. We’re really getting crazy now.

They’re such a normal part of life in other countries, but since they’re less common in the states, we’ll share tips and advice for people who may just be getting started with line drying their laundry.

I love hanging clothes out to dry even though it takes a few minutes longer than tossing them in the dryer. Hanging clothes is a peaceful and calming ritual.

You methodically hang your clothes up to dry, and nature takes care of it. It’s quiet too; there is no loud appliance. It doesn’t seem right to me to heat up the inside of your house with a dryer and then cool it down again with the air conditioner when it’s already hot enough to dry your clothes in a couple of hours outside during the summer.

In Venice some people would hang their clothes on lines over the canals. I don’t know how they didn’t lose all their clothes. I regularly dropped something from the clothesline once a week, and my neighbors below had to give it back to me.

This drying rack above is what we used in Venice, and it’s by far my favorite style. Drying racks are perfect for when you don’t want the neighbors to see you have polka dot undies. It holds a lot even though it folds up flat like an ironing board and is lightweight. It doesn’t tip over from the slightest knock.

With drying racks you can quickly drape your clothes over the rods without taking time to pin them. You can move them around and out of your way, or inside when it rains.

We didn’t have a drying rack in our apartment in Florence, so during winter I hung clothes over the radiator and the bed rails, and they would usually dry by the next morning.

If you get tired of hanging your clothes around your apartment, you can point a fan at your clothes to simulate a breeze and speed up the process.

I planned ahead and did laundry by the weather. When I didn’t know what the weather would be that day, I could look across the garden to my neighbors’ apartments. If they were hanging out their laundry that morning, I could count on the day being nice.

I don’t do more ironing with line drying than when I use the dryer, but my family wears a lot of knits. Smooth clothes as you hang them to minimize wrinkles. If you hang shirts upside down and pin them by the hem, you won’t find a hard crease in the noticeable middle or shoulders of your shirt.

I like the convenience of leaving clothes on the rack until I have time to put them away, and they won’t get wrinkled, as opposed to when you leave a load of clothes in the dryer for too long.

Some people think that line-dryed clothes are too stiff, but I don’t find that to be an issue. They might be a little stiff when you put them on in the beginning, but they soften up after you wear them for a minute or two. I skip fabric softener because I’m particular about not wanting fragrance or residue on my clothes, but one alternative is to use vinegar as a softener in the rinse cycle.

Optionally, you can let clothes tumble in the dryer for a few minutes before you hang them, or just give them a good shake as you remove them from the line.

With line drying you never have to worry about the heat setting a stain in your clothes, causing crunchy elastic, or shrinking your new cotton blouse.

The sun makes your whites whiter. To avoid fading, hang your colored clothes in the shade or turn them inside out.

Lint can be a problem, so try to identify which of your garments are likely to shed lint and wash them separately, or use a lint brush.

Using a line can save you some money. Do you know how much it costs to run your dryer? I wrote about how to figure out the cost of electricity for your dryer, your computer, and other appliances. It costs me about sixty cents to run a load in the dryer.

In a previous Texas apartment we had enough space to hang a clothesline on our patio. We used a simple pulley, and you can see how we installed it here.

I have a small drying rack that is just right for hanging a load of diapers. When you put baby clothes and diapers in the sun to dry, you don’t need to use as much stain remover product. The sun makes baby poo stains disappear. It works like magic.

Sometimes drying racks can be more expensive than you think they should be. If it’s hard to find a drying rack in your area, try Amazon. I like the FROST drying rack at IKEA. I want to get one of these clip hangers for little things.

Do you like to line dry your clothes too?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hey Rachel, thanks for this wonderful post! I never really thought about how most Americans don’t hang their clothes, but thanks to you I now know it’s pretty special – or weird lol – that I don’t own a dryer. I live in the Netherlands and lots of people hang their clothes to dry here, even though we have lots of rain as well. I normally hang my clothes to dry in my guest room, but whenever the sun is out I move my wet clothes into the garden. I love that outside smell clothes get that way! It’s simply gorgeous :D.
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…Your House is Never Going to Be Perfectly Clean

  2. When I lived in Australia for a couple of years I got used to using a clothesline. We didn’t have a dryer. The problem was that I would get lazy and leave my clothes outside for a few days at a time, which meant that birds and bats would poop on them (gross) and they got very very bleached out (didn’t think to turn them inside out. Duh).

    Now that I am older and wiser, I am back on the clothesline bandwagon, even though we own a dryer. I find that the dryer heats up our apartment a lot in the summer, so it is kind of like baking- I try to avoid it on those 100 degree days.

    And I second the diaper/clothesline combo! Incredible to see the stains that bleach out with the sun!
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Cutting Corners

  3. I too, love clotheslines! And, I even have a blog about them and old timey recipes and other fun stuff….

    If you’d like to have you and your clothesline featured in my weekly clothesline profile, please give me an email! So far, we’ve featured lines from Tasmania and Canada and of course, the US too!

    lifeontheclothesline at gmail dot com

    When I was in Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, we always used a clothesline… of sorts. With no electricity and no money, no one had a machine to wash the clothes with, no less dry them. Once the clothes were hand washed in the river, they were “hung” to dry on barbed wire fences. Yes, it made a few holes in clothes and no, it never occurred to me to put up a “sweet” wire line… and I have no idea why I never did that!
    clothespin´s last post…Gram’s Slaw

  4. I only hang the things that will shrink in the dryer. For the things I do hang, they dry on plastic hangers and can be stuck directly in the closet or just left on the drying rack. I’m all about minimizing time and effort. If I didn’t work outside the home or I didn’t have a dryer vent to outside, I could see hanging everything. But, I like to have laundry over and done with as quickly as possible, and I like knowing that my underwear and t-shirts aren’t collecting dust or pollen while hanging up. That way, if my allergies go crazy, I can shower and put on something really clean while I wait for the antihistamine to kick in.

    Love those pictures of the clothes hanging outside, though :-)

    • Our family has allegies, but even in Ga pine pollen season, our clothes hanging out didn’t bother us. I left them for up to 8 hours at a time. Plastic hangers are good for drying inside, great tip!

    • Magdalena says:

      I like your attitude Jessica “I’m all about minimizing time and effort”
      I put wet clothes on hangers and hang them over the bathtub on the shower curtain rod. No wrinkles, folding and ironing. To save even more time, we developed an easy trick, each family member puts socks together with a plastic clothespin as soon as taking them off. Washed like that they are easy to hang and it saves so much time pairing. Folding? I gave it up too, I just put the socks with clothespin attached in the drawers.
      My mother -in -law just started using a dryer for one reason: she is almost 80 and can’t reach the line to hang long and heavy bed sheets. All her life she was air drying her laundry – common in Germany.

  5. I have a clothesline too. Actually I live in Greece and it’s sunny most of the time, so it’s natural for us to hang our clothes dry, just like people in Italy.
    I love my clip hunger from IKEA, it’s shaped like an octopus!
    Claire´s last post…A weekend on the beach

  6. I love to hang laundry out, especially sheets. They smell so fresh and feel so crisp when you crawl into them. One of life’s little pleasures.

  7. We had to hang our clothes on the line when I was growing up and I hated it. The clothes always felt so stiff. Towels were the worst. I hate drying off with a scratchy stiff towel. I’ll happily pay that 60 cents a load and save my pennies some other way. I do like the way the clothes look hung over the balconies, though. So colorful.
    Melisa´s last post…Summer of Color – Green

    • I discovered (embarrassingly recently) that the stiffness is because of soap or detergent that didn’t get rinsed out. With soft water, it takes amazingly little soap to get things clean, and using white vinegar instead of fabric softener really helps to get it all rinsed out. (The clothes don’t smell like vinegar – honest!) With the soap all gone, clothes (and especially towels) dry soft on the line, and they really do have a heavenly smell. Drying dish towels outside in the sunshine is the only way I’ve found to get rid of that awful sour smell they sometimes get too.

      • Interesting! We have very hard water here but my new washer does use much less soap than my old one. I still prefer to dry my clothes in the dryer but this is good to know for the few things that can’t go in the dryer.
        Melisa´s last post…Summer of Color – Green

  8. My mother used to do this… She was German. ;)

    One of my most vivid memories was of her taking down clothes from the line and finding that a little bird had left her a present on a favorite blouse. I found it hilarious (as a 6 yr old), but naturally, she was not amused. But I think that memory has stuck with me, because even though I find the idea of line-drying clothes so practical and a bit nostalgic, I have this deep-rooted fear of birds (bugs even… we live in Louisiana, lots of unwanted insects!) getting into my laundry.

    Do I just need to get over it and make sure to give everything a good shake? Or is there something that can help prevent these possible mishaps?

    Thanks for the awesome share! :)
    Sarah Martina´s last post…WMSC 52 – A Year to Remember…

  9. Claire, I also have the octopus! (which I call Paul, for obvious reasons if you followed the world cup last year).

    In Minnesota we had a coin washer and dryer of our apartment building base rooms, but I found out it was better to hang them in a closet in winter so we could give some moist to the air in the apartment. In summer the dryer was the way to go.

    In Uruguay I wish I had a dryer, we’ve had a lot of rain and things never dry. Besides, they get smoked from chimneys… not nice, really.
    Julia´s last post…Whats cooking

  10. I have a big clothesline on my back porch. Since I live way out in the country in Florida, there’s no neighbors to care about the stigma of a clothesline, and I can hang clothes year round. It takes a lot longer to dry, though, since our humidity is so high. I try to start my laundry by 8am so that they will dry by nightfall. As far as stiff towels go, as soon as the steam from the shower hits them, they soften, so I never have a problem with it. I just hate sweating buckets while I’m pinning everything up!
    Ivy Mae´s last post…New pictoral content!

  11. My mom hangs the laundry out during the warmer/sunnier months each year. Last year I hung laundry when the weather was nice; this year, I fill up the drying rack, but everything else goes into the dryer because of space. My only objection is how scratchy towels get, otherwise it’s so much fresher to hang things out! Great post!
    Eliz. K´s last post…fathers day

  12. Love to line dry our clothes! We use drying racks primarily in the winter–we’re in Maine–or for longer stretches of rainy weather. But our primary line is outside our second floor laundry room. It’s an Amish reel system that connects from the outside wall to the top of a spruce tree we clipped the top off. Because the line is about ten feet above ground, it looks like city living out here in the sticks, always makes me smile. The only problem with this system is that if it’s too windy, sheets can wrap around the upper line and then we need a long pole to unravel them, but we’re learned over time to fold sheets when it’s windy so this won’t happen. We do have an energy efficient dryer (know that’s a misnomer for dryers, but it’s still a very good one) stacked on top of the washer, but it is only a last resort. It’s main use seems to be for fluffing towels, not sure I’ll replace it when we move.

  13. We have been hang drying clothes foramy years. It is awesome! Saves $$$ and keeps clothes looking better longer.

  14. I hate electric dryers. My mother insisted I needed one when my sons were in cloth diapers, and I suppose that was mildly useful. When it died a couple of years ago, I forced them all my kids to hang their clothes on drying racks and on the backyard clothesline in the summer. I’m fairly certain I’ve converted all three of them away from dryers. If you shake out your clothes, you rarely have to iron anything. I use fabric softener, and my towels are fine. I do laundry early or very late, but I always hang items outside as early as possible because in Colorado we get frequent afternoon rainstorms. Inside, time of day doesn’t matter. Down with dryers.

  15. I have steel beams running across the ceiling in my basement. I hang clothes on hangers and hang them on the ledge of the beam. It works great in all weather. I did find one of those clippy hangers at a yard sales for 10c!

  16. I’ve been line-drying our clothes for about 3/4 of the year for four years now, and I LOVE it. We have a long clothesline for sheets and towels, and then I have one of those mounted on a pole in the ground that looks like an upside down umbrella. It holds an amazing amount of clothing. We also have a couple of folding racks for wintertime use. I can vouch for vinegar– I think it works really well as a softener.

    I appreciate being outside to do something practical, needing to pay more attention to the weather to know if it is a “good drying day,” and the electrical savings helps offset our AC use during the summer.

    This is a great post.
    Missy K´s last post…A Saturday Story- Kemp Style

  17. I’ve been hanging our laundry for almost a year now, and we all love it! It saves me laundry time, because I sort as I hang (each person’s hang together) and fold in stacks as I pull it down, and go straight inside. It is peaceful and calming for me, our clothes look newer longer, and the kids run around with the chickens while I work. yes, chickens. I promise the hanging laudry is a long way before you get chicken crazy, so no fears!

  18. I loved this post and the pictures are terrific. I keep hoping I will get inspired to stop using my dryer (at least sometimes) but so far..no luck. We are leaving in a few days to visit our family in Brazil and whenever I am there I am always impressed with the great system they have for hanging laundry in the service areas of there apartments. You’ve inspired me to take photos and perhaps blog about it when we return. Maybe someday I will hang my clothes at last! Thanks for the inspiration, Rachel!

  19. The house I grew up in in had a very tiny back yard, but there were several clothes lines in it so we always dried our clothes outside in the summer.

    When I moved into my house, there were clothes lines in the basement and also outside, but I immediately took the outside ones down, I think because of the embarassment factor. Plus, our yard is very shady I didn’t want all of the stuff from the trees getting on my clothes. However, we use the lines in the basement all the time and I’d never be without an inside line. We mostly hang my clothes on it because I don’t want them shrunk in the dryer, but we also hang a lot of nylon-type clothes on there too (under armor shirts, etc.). Bonus: We have a dehumidifier in our basement, so the clothes dry pretty fast and I have water to use for the plants outside.

  20. Jennifer B says:

    I found a great drying rack and one of those clippy things for cheap at my local Asian market. H-Mart has them for example and most of the Asian supermarkets have house goods sections or stores nearby that sell house goods.

    But I’ll admit that after living in Japan for 2 years and having to hang my clothing to dry year-round I’m not that into it in the winter time. Seattle is just too wet. So it’s summer time only for me here….

    • yes, the Asian market! My dry rack gave up the ghost recently, and I have been dismayed to see how pricey they are on Amazon. I’ll have to check my nearby Asian housewares store. Good tip.

  21. Khalissa says:

    I’ve been using drying racks for about 4 years now. Love the savings in electricity and wear/tear on clothes. Instead of fabric softener, I use distilled vinegar.

    When the weather is nice, I put the racks outside. When not, I keep them inside.

    Growing up, we never had a dryer. I love going back to those times. Dryer died, never replaced it, don’t miss it a bit!

  22. shelley says:

    In the UK line drying is the norm. Electricity is very expensive so dryers are only used in bad weather or to finish items that are almost dry. My clothes rack lives in the bathroom, shirts are on hangers and hung from the edge of the shower cubicle! With unreliable weather inside drying is a must. It’s a lot more work than tossing in the dryer but much better for the environment and clothes last much longer!

  23. calliope(Greece) says:

    great post!
    In Europe, 90% of the people use clothelines. Even in the most rainy countries!
    In Greece all houses have verandas or smaller balconies outside almost every room so one is always dedicated to hanging clothes.
    I do a lot of ironing, though :(
    All shirts, t-shirts, skirts and pants are getting ironed.

  24. Would you look at those lovely lovely photographs!!! Oh brilliant!!! We line dry – or rack dry… Right now it is winter over here and I am so grateful for racks – out they go in the sun and in they come in they come in the rain. The price of electricity went through the roof about two years ago… trebled and then trebled again… absolutely not using a tumble dryer ever again, because of it. Not to mention that evicting the tumble dryer cleared a whole lot of much needed space. I love the ritual of hanging washing, followed by the ritual of folding it and bringing it in… Fresh air in the great outdoors that I may not take if I didn’t have a reason to get out there!!! I love sheets day and we hang our sheets from the deck and they hang down to just above the grass… my little kids use it to make a maze, and hide and seek and have heaps of fun!!!

  25. I knew that line drying could save some money, but I didn’t know how much. I’ll definitely be line-drying our clothes this summer to save on the electric bill!
    Emily Joyce´s last post…I Refuse

  26. I have been line-drying my clothes for years. I love when the day is breezy and the clothes come out soft and wrinkle-free. In the summer I use 2 drying racks and an umbrella style clothes line.
    In the winter I hang my clothes on a bar in the laundry room and in the basement.
    Carrie´s last post…Project 333 Review

  27. I don’t think there’s anything that smells better than line-dried clothes. I love it!

  28. Along with rest of the international crowd, I hang most of our clothes to dry (it was shocking to see so much of it when we first arrived in Portugal!). I do stick to the old way (for us) of drying sheets, towels, socks and undies in the dryer–but it seems I can it in one load for that day if the dryer is needed. We really like our rack similar to yours and another called ANTONIUS from IKEA. I fold and/or stack clothes up as I take them off the line to be hung or put away once inside. It does get a little tricky in the rainy/cold season. My husband will bring the rack in and set by the fireplace! Right now I have to watch that I don’t leave items in the sun too long–fade lines across a few of our shirts have taught me a lesson!

  29. I live in So. Cal. and most areas do not allow clothes lines, including where we live. I do line-dry my cloth diapers, but I have to hide them. So far, no complaints. However, we also have solar panels, saving us hundreds on electricity, and my dryer is in the garage, so no house heating problem.

  30. I live in Phoenix and can line dry most of the year. I always hang my sheets and pillowcases out and I always dry towels in the dryer. Like some other commenters, I think towels get too stiff when dried on the the line. For other items, it depends how much time I have and the weather. It does rain occasionally here. I have a pull-out line that I got at Home Depot. One end is attached to a post on the patio and the line pulls out to attach to a hook across the yard. Bird droppings can be problem.

  31. I love line drying my clothes too. Although I am only motivated in the summer when a) I have time off work and b) when it is dry and hot outside.

    It is incredible how much longer my clothes last and how much better they look when I keep them out of the dryer.

    Some of my favorite photographs from all over the world are of clothes hanging on lines. It lets tourists into people’s lives.

    Lovely post!

  32. Rachael says:

    As an Australian it’s a no brainer!! It’s cold wet and windy right now so we are mostly using clothes horses inside but some days if it’s windy enough you can get a load dry in an hour.

    Ive never understood the stigma with hanging clothes in the US…

  33. I love hanging my clothes. It is reminiscent of my childhood. I remember hanging clothes was one of my jobs in the summer. I also remember my grandmother didn’t have a dryer and she always hung her clothes. I even remember seeing clothes hanging, occasionally, on her line in the cold MN winter!
    They smell so good this way.( I use unscented everything and it still smells so fresh.) I use Ikea racks.

  34. Barbara says:

    I love love seeing clothes on the clothesline and truly think a house is not a home until it has a clothesline!! Living in northeast usa, I hang clothes most during the summer, spring and fall. Usually in the winter the snow is too deep to get to my clotheslines!!

    I visited Italy 3 summers ago and yes it is true–EVERYONE hangs out their wash…And I, too, wondered how much gets dropped in the canals in Venice…One type of clothesline I saw used while in Italy was this interesting stretch out type thing that got folded shut in the evening to make room for family dinners al fresco…
    happy summer to all!!

  35. We just moved back to Texas and line drying came with. Love how the hot sun takes care of our cloth in an hour or so.

    We have a tower rack from Amazon with 3 levels of cloth to put on. It seems small, but can take an extra large load on, no problem. It has wheels, so it is extra mobile and can be used in the tiniest apartment.
    Large sheets and comforters just go over doors. For pants, I use a clip-hanger – usually the one that it was displayed in the store with.
    To keep socks in pairs, I use a washing sack. This is absolutely a life saver if you have newborn’s socks in your wash.

    I love how line drying keeps your things in shape for much much longer. We gave kids cloth away that look like they have never been worn. This actually makes hand-me-downs fun. My kids would say: “Mami, when I’m much bigger, I want this dress to go to my friend Julia” and I can say yes. Saying yes is a lot of fun.

    Eszter

  36. Bethley says:

    My DC condo complex has a “no clothes drying” policy on our balconies. I have a washer/dryer combo machine, but the dryer doesn’t work very well. I have a small drying rack, but it doesn’t hold very much. I’ll look for some of these other options. I have to say, I find the clothes to be stiff, too. hmm.

  37. When my husband and I got married, we were used to free laundry facilities (parents’ homes, dorms, saving all our laundry for weekends home when our apartments charged for laundry…); we moved to a different state and were staring down $1.75 to wash and $1.25 to dry, but the dryer took 3 cycles (so I was told) to dry a load, so that would come out to $5.50 a load, which people in my building actually pay!

    My mother-in-law gave me one of her drying racks and we purchased a portable washing machine that lives in our closet and gets heaved across the whole apartment most days. It can’t hold a regular wash load, but the laundry still gets done and our faithful little machine has more than paid for itself.

    My husband asked me the other day if I’ll use a dryer when we buy a house someday. I thought about it and other than socks (which take forever to dry), I really doubt I will.

    Thanks for the post!
    Michelle´s last post…Simplicity Parenting

  38. I live in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada where clothelines are the rule, not the exception. Over the years, I finally decided it doesn’t have to be one or the other exclusively; socks and underwear go in the dryer as they are too piddley to have to hang and worse, unhang! Likewise, towels are generally dryer; they line dry too hard and rough for me, unless it is really windy. But sheets, most tops, sweaters, and pants smell so glorious when they come in from the line, I don’t understand how anyone can forgo clotheslines during our short summer! Tomato based stains, with a bit of lemon juice, come out completely in the sun.

  39. WOW! Here I thought I was the only one who loved line-drying clothes! When we lived in Ohio, I used an outdoor clothesline as long as weather permitted. When it got too cold outside, I used wooden drying racks (all purchased at garage sales and a resale shop) We had a wood burning stove and I would set the racks in that room. It was amazing how quickly things dried. No wrinkles. I did use fabric softener for the towels.
    Now we live in the Dominican Republic and no way would I want to use a dryer here! I have the IKEA rack you linked to. That holds ALOT. socks, and personal items get hung on the lower rails. (we live on the 3rd floor and have a large balcony, but it has an open-work cement railing around it that give some privacy. Since there are no bldgs real close (only a block away) I don’t even think anyone can see what’s on that rack. I use the end rail to hang shorts and skirts on hangers. Nothing touches the floor either.
    I do hang most items (shirts, t-shirts, dresses and blouses) on plastic hangers. Since I don’t have a clothes line, we purchased 2 garment racks from IKEA (one fully assembled in the discount area for less than $6!) I place the hangers about 6-8″ apart and it dries with no problem. Wrinkles just fall away it seems. I then take the t-shirt and tops off the hangers and quickly fold them. Everything else goes directly into the closet.
    I do use clip hangers (like Walmart has clothes displayed. Whenever we are in the States, I ask for the hangers when I purchase something) The clip hangers work for pants, shorts, skirts and towels. I switched to vinegar for the rinse and nothing is stiff.
    When I had a clothesline, I still hung most items on hangers (doesn’t seem to leave the clothespin marks) but I would use clip clothespins next to the hanger to keep it from moving around on the line. Just be sure the clothes line is clipped so it won’t move.
    OOPS! Sorry this got so long, I just got so excited to be with a group that really enjoys hanging things up and not using a dryer!

  40. OOPS…that 2nd to last paragraph should say “Be sure the clothes PINS are clipped so that they can’t move”

  41. What brand of cloth diapers do you use? I am having my first baby in august and plan to use cloth diapers, I was thinking of trying Charlie Banan diapers. Also, I want to line dry them for the reason you mentioned, but am still trying to figure out how to do so since we live in an apartment without even a balcony :)

    When I spent a summer in Europe, I would hand wash my clothes in the sink and line dry them on one of these in my room on on the balcony, it was amazing! http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-Travel-Clothesline-White/dp/B000PWIQKO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qlEnable=1&qid=1308612019&sr=1-1

  42. I’ve always hung certain items to dry. However, with this ridiculous heat wave we’ve had in Alabama, I decided to give hanging all of the laundry a whirl. Its a bit more labor intensive at this point, (I guess there’s a learning curve for efficiency?), but most of our clothes are drying SO much faster than when I throw them in the dryer. Its been hot enough here that I can dry one sheet at a time outside and still it takes less total time than the dryer! I don’t know that this will be a year round thing for me — but I’m LOVING it this summer!
    Sass´s last post…Clothes Shopping

  43. Beth in the City says:

    I hang almost all of our shirts on hangers to dry, then they go straight from my clothes line into our closets without much wrinkling. As long as I align the seam of the shirt with the hanger I don’t have trouble with those annoying hanger dents that show up in shoulders that have stretched while drying.

  44. Chelsea says:

    In Australia, line drying is the norm, and I was quite surprised to learn, through reading US blogs, that it is not the norm everywhere – I kept wondering why everyone was talking about dryers all the time! We do have a dryer, but only for emergencies :-)In fact, I am usually worried about things shrinking in there. Line drying makes perfect sense to me, although I do understand it is difficult in the US winter, but in the nice weather, absolutely.

  45. Stefanie says:

    I use my clothesline almost daily in the summer. I would like to have my husband install an indoor line for use on rainy/winter days. Our local hardware sells a retractable line that I think would work.

    My clothespin holder is a recycled basket with a wire handle. I’ve seen several of these used in our area. They come from a local chocolate candy company.

    I’ve been looking for a “clippy-thing” to hold small items. I saw many of them at Amish homes here in Ohio. I would also like to find a drying rack that would work for camping.

    • Sometimes the octopus/clippy hanger can be found at Dollar Stores. I have found them at flea markets usually where people are selling new drugstore type items for $1-$3. My original one had 10 arms. I bought another one and it only had 8. So when a clip breaks on the 10 armed version, I replace it with one from the 8 armed version.

  46. I’ve line or rack dried only for years. Now that I’m at my parents I have the luxury of using their dryer when I want. Which is nice during really rainy spells (which we’ve had) or for drying Gortex (our outdoor gear) which likes a hot dryer to help bond the surfaces together for better water proofness. Sorry to get all technical but I do like a dryer for that stuff.

  47. My grandmothers used to line dry their clothes and I loved it when I would get fresh, clean clothes warm from the sun. I like the idea of line drying, but my homeowners association prohibits having a clothes line. However, I do have a drying rack that I use on things that are delicate or can’t be dried. My sister-in-law uses several drying racks to dry all of their clothes. The only thing she doesn’t line dry are towels – they don’t like how stiff the towels get. Thanks for a great post and for sharing the beautiful pictures!
    Toni´s last post…Menu Monday and Other Musings

  48. I’m Australian, and yes – use the clothes line most of the year. In fact, when we moved into the house we’re in now, I insisted the pointless fold down clothes line be replaced with a proper Hills Hoist! In winter, I do use the dryer for socks and jocks and the bloke’s work shirts. But a 4.5kg dryer and a 7.5kg washer – not so much the match made in heaven!

    Everything else is on airers situated cunningly over the central heating vents. I am blasting all this lovely warm air into the house – why not use it to dry clothes as well on the way past? I’ve also found that tossing an old sheet over the airer over the vent speeds up the drying time considerably!
    Jodi´s last post…Tis the season to be cooking…

  49. Living in Seattle makes line drying clothes a challenge :-). Even inside when I let things air dry it takes all day because its pretty damp and cold where we live. Seeing as we’re plunging into cloth diapering in a couple of months, it looks like I’ll just pull out the fan to dry the diapers! If we move to OKC though, our stuff will be dry in no time flat!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Dads Day

  50. yes yes yes! Great post. My mom says there’s a laundry-sniffer’s club. I line dry for all the reasons you mentioned plus the fresh scent – nothing like it!

    I have done several posts on my blog about line drying laundry, including tips for how to do it in cold weather.

    I have 2 of those clip-hangers (wooden, Amish-made) and they are invaluable for small things, socks, and diaper soakers and covers.
    Margo´s last post…Four Different Rhubarb Pies This Spring

  51. Brittany says:

    I do dry my clothes whenever I can. I usually try to save the laundry for Friday, Sat, and Sun (all spread out of course), so that I can be a little more attentive. When it’s really hot and windy in the summertime, I do a load every other day.. wash them in the morning, and get them off the line when i get home.. Makes for easy laundry. However, I like the softener on my clothes.. so, I just put the liquid softener in the last rinse.. they’re perfect every time! Love your photos by the way! Enjoy Italy!! <3

    • Brittany says:

      I meant I do dry them on the line.. lol here’s to all the exhausted mommas out there!!

  52. Oh yes, I do love hanging out clothes! There are so many good things about it! The children like to run and hide in the sheets. And now they are learning to hang them out with me. Sweet memories, fresh air, sunshine, saving money…..
    Laura´s last post…Reminders to Pray

  53. My mom line-dried clothes every summer when I was growing up. Whether it was because she liked it or to save money, I don’t know. But I have fond memories of folding sunny clothes right off the clothesline.

    When I studied on Greece, I didn’t have a choice – our apartment had no dryer. But I think it’s easier to line-dry in Europe because it’s part of the culture there. Here in the US, I’d be embarrassed to hang my clothes in front of or alongside my house, and the backyard isn’t an option because of our very large and messy outside-only dog. But I would dry clothes outside again in a heartbeat if it fit better into our current lifestyle.
    Amy´s last post…Doing Life

  54. I LOVE the clothes rack from IKEA! I had a wooden one from Target but it broke after 2 years. The IKEA one is metal, and has more hanging options. I’ve always hung dry my shirts and undies, because I think a dryer wears them out faster (and makes them shrink, and sets in stains). I do dry all my husband’s clothes, my linens and most of my children’s clothes. We aren’t allowed to have a clothesline on our apartment balcony, so the drying rack makes things easier in our tiny apartment.

  55. catastrophegirl says:

    i spent a few extra bucks to make my indoor drying a lot easier. a second shower rod. i liked it so much i put a second one in my least used bathroom for things that take a couple of days to dry in the humid area i live in.
    http://whitehothammer.blogspot.com/2011/03/shower-rod-to-rescue.html

  56. I have the same rack you show in Venice, I got it from an Amazon site. Since I live near Seattle, I never hang clothes outside but in the “office” (extra bedroom). Everything, even towels, dry fast, it’s amazing, and I don’t have to worry about pollen. I rarely even fold clothes actually, I just dress from the dryer! Lazy? or Efficient? Hmmmm….

  57. Our utility bills keep going up, so I was more inspired to regularly use the clothesline this spring. I still dry my diapers and often towels in the dryer but I try to put everything else on the line. We’re having a stretch of rainy days at the moment so I just put a couple loads through the dryer, but that’s been more the exception than the rule.

    I just bought an IKEA rack — the big ironing-board-ish one — and I love putting socks and underwear on there rather than carrying them outside and using a ton of pins.
    Amy F´s last post…Rhubarb Extravaganza Gone Awry

  58. I wish I could line dry more. But I have a few issues: 1. No direct sun on either of our balconies, 2. Almost 100% humidity year round means that it takes things forever to dry without sunlight (and they often start mildewing before they’re dry), and 3. Pollution here makes line-dried clothes smell funny, and leaves a fine film on anything left outside for more than a few hours. I wish I could get that fresh, line-dried smell here! I would prefer to line dry my clothes more and am still trying to find a workable solution. I do hang towels to dry in the bathroom in front of a dehumidifier and never have that stiff towel problem. A lot of the time that’s due to hard water (we had super hard water growing up and our towels were often stiff, even after a run through the dryer).
    Morgan´s last post…Famous breakfast spot with not quite famous people

  59. Felicity says:

    Our house has the washing machine in the kitchen (behind a sliding cupboard door) so we don’t have room for a dryer. We live in Australia and have a hills hoist in the backyard and a lovely large carport. For my birthday my Husband made a clothesline under the carport so I can still dry clothes on wintery days :-) With a Baby due in Spring (American Autumn) I can see the clothes line getting alot more use ;-)

  60. Living in Europe we also line-dry our clothes. But since we are a family of 9, in the winter I could never keep up, so I do use a dryer. But in the summer, unless it’s a rainy day, I do hang them up outside. Here in Europe also are very popular “laundry-spiders” like this: http://bilder.quelle.at/pool/baur_format_p/4440316.jpg I hope to get one soon, as it doesn’t get tipped by the wind like the small laundry racks and holds lot of laundry. It’s also collapsible when not in use.
    Natalija´s last post…April-May 2011 Digital Layouts

  61. I live in Australia and mostly everyone line dries. I’m really surprised this is an issue in America. Especially now with the environment being such an issue I can’t see dryers taking off here so much.
    Even most units and townhouses have at least communal clotheslines and a lot of people still use these rather than dryers.
    Only laundromats and large apartment blocks could get away with using dryers regularly I think.
    Of course, Australia is generally pretty dry, so we would be stupid not to make the most of that.
    Thanks for the interesting post.

  62. Clotheslines against the old buildings are some of my most favorite scenes in Italy. I even bought a painting of laundry on the line there. Thank you for that lovely visual trip! :)

    When we lived in Qatar, it was sooooo hot that I applied your logic (why heat the house and then cool it?) and tried to line-dry but had to give up almost immediately. The clothes would become stiff as boards, laden with SAND always in the air, necessitating a re-wash. They would, however, dry instantly. By the time I hung the second piece of laundry, the first piece was dry; I kid you not. ;)

    I’m trying trying trying to learn to love line drying here Down Under, but I’m very American and really still prefer the clothes dryer. I am with the scratchy-stiff-towel-haters. I don’t think I use too much soap (and I use a grey-water-safe soap), but nothing seems to help. Many of our winter clothes must be line-dried, so I’m doing a lot more of it these days. I just ordered a new, bigger drying rack with the intention of drying whole loads, including sheets that do not fit on my current rack. I may need to challenge myself to avoid the dryer for a couple of weeks and see if I can keep it going. Thanks for the encouragement, Rachel!
    Jennifer´s last post…How to be fabulous

    • Colleen says:

      If you throw your towels in the dryer for about ten minutes, and then line-dry them, they won’t get as hard/scratchy!

      • Funny – I do the opposite – I try to catch the towels near the end of their drying on the line, carry them back up to our laundry room, and dry them for the last 10 minutes. Here in Idaho, where it is semi-arid, the clothes dry incredibly quickly on the line in the summer (within 30-40 minutes), so it can be hard to stop them before they’re fully dry. I’ll have to try your method of drying for 10 minutes first. :)

    • Cathie Australia says:

      Sometimes it can just be the towels. I was everything the same and all line dry,no softener ever, never even bought any. Some towels just get scratchy over time, so chuck them out. Also don’t leave out too long in Australia, then they get too dried out and scratchy, on a hot windy day they might only take an hour to dry.

  63. I’m crazy about clotheslines! I wish I had one in my yard, but since I don’t I use drying racks on my deck.

    In the winter I use the drying racks and place them over vents or under ceiling fans.

    I still use my dryer too, but the drying racks come in handy for hand washables and delicates. If I had a clothesline I wouldn’t bother with a dryer in nice weather, but I can’t fit everything on my drying racks so I have to use the dryer.

    I enjoy looking at your pictures of clotheslines and drying racks. Weird!

  64. Colleen says:

    I love my clothesline! In the winter, when the snow is too deep to get to the clothesline, I hang clothes on lines and a drying rack in the basement. (Shoot, I even do that on rainy summer days–the dehumidifier helps them dry!) My mom hangs things out on her back deck, complete with lines, all winter. Freeze-drying works wonders, but doesn’t help the wrinkles.

  65. carolyn says:

    I hang dry clothes year round. In the summer I use a rack outside similar to your favourite in Venice (from Ikea – highly recommend). Unfortunately, most of the year I need to dry indoors (I’m in Canada) so I have two wooden racks permanently in place in my hall upstairs. It was a big empty space otherwise so I figured a couple of drying racks would be better there than taking up room in somebody’s bedroom. I still prefer the smell of outside dried clothes though. I can’t resist sniffing the pile of folded laundry when I bring it inside!

  66. I love your photos, there is something about a clothesline that says “home” to me. I have seen many in my travels too. The most beautiful I have seen are in New York’s Little Italy, Italy, the French countryside, Norway and now Thailand. Most people in Thailand seem to use drying racks. At least those who live by me. I use both a drying rack and the dryer. I find it is just too moist in Thailand to dry heavy items. And, oddly enough, If I bring the drying rack in the house, the clothes dry quickly. Many people in apartments hang their clothes on their small patios, but you really see clothes hanging everywhere, on fences, over doors and on makeshift clothes lines attached to roofs. It is commonplace to drive along the highway and see an apartment building where every small patio is covered with clothes. The clothes are always inside out too. Clothes hanging to dry have a way of saying everything is all right, someone is loved and cleanliness reigns. Great article!
    Bren´s last post…Moving!

  67. I never thought of clotheslines as a cultural thing! We had a clothesline in our backyard when I was growing up, and my grandmother loved to hang clothes to dry when she’d come to visit us. I’m going to make a point of hanging kitchen towels to dry, as one reader suggested, to give them that sunny-fresh smell!

  68. Bravi, bravi, appendete i panni! :)

    It’s true, it’s relaxing to hang clothes. WIt’s one thing I like to do when I’m exhausted from working and need a break… err, I work at home, of course.

    I live in the North of Italy, yes, summer’s very hot but winter is very cold, so in winter I hang stuff inside with an over-door hanger. I know few people who have a dryer.

  69. I love clotheslines! It is so relaxing to hang clothes out on the line. Having grown up in a rural area I always thought it was the normal thing to do in the summer. There really is nothing better than sheets right off the line!

  70. We have a clothesline out on the property where I will dry delicates (work shirts, kids’ bright colored clothing and blue jeans…jeans that are air dry will retain its color and stay thick and sturdy vs. the dryer which eats away the blue jean thickness over time). On rainy days I simple hang the items in those clear plastic hangers, some are the pant hooks kind the dept. stores or Walmart gives you for free. The best place to hang them in the garage is along the garage door galvanized door slide rails that are nailed above the garage cieling. You don’t have to worry about taking them down after each use. If you need to open the garage door you can do so since the garage door will automatically push back the hangers without jamming.

  71. I love drying clothes on the line (almost as much as I love photos of it!). My hubby put a super-long line in for me at our last place but where we’re at now doesn’t have room for one. We put one in the garage instead, but I think I’d like an “umbrella” type for the patio. Sunshine and breezes are the way to go (at least in summer!).
    Stephanie´s last post…My Kitchen Elves Have Insomnia

  72. I also grew up with clotheslines in summer and in the basement, though we also used a drier. Since I’ve been living in Brazil for nearly 30 years I enjoyed this post, seeing familiar types of drying methods. I love hanging clothes outside and I haven’t owned a drier since moving here, though in some parts of Brazil winters are cold and rainy and a drier comes in handy for baby and kid’s clothes!

  73. Suzanne says:

    Hmm, I was just at Ikea’s website. Now I have another item to add to my list. :-)

  74. I line dry all of our clothes, and hand wash them about 80% of the time as well. We live in a tiny apartment and don’t have a washer/dryer, but even when I did, I still hung the clothes out to dry. I love the clean sunny smell of freshly dried clothes… and it saves us so much money!

    Loving all the pictures of laundry in Italy! Gorgeous!
    Heather O.´s last post…Happy Fathers Day

  75. I have been usIng a drying rack very similar to the one you used in Venice for almost 10 years. I love it. Not only am I not wasting electricity, I am also saving money on clothes as they don’t shrink like they would in the dryer.

  76. I have done this true Italian style. We lived in Italy when I was 13. Our lines were up on the roof and we kept the rack in the laundry room. Since I have been married I have hung my clothes out several places we have lived. It’s defiantly hot enough here in West Texas to dry them quickly but we also have a lot of blowing dust.

  77. I owe the longevity of some of my favorite clothes to my drying rack. As you say, it takes a little longer to hang everything up than just throw it all in the dryer, but it’s so much easier on my clothes. And I LOVE my clip hanger — perfect place to hang my undies (no polka dots, but some zebra stripes)!

  78. Of course I do! (I am italian) For all the good reasons you said, plus I find clothes smell nice after they have dried outsie.
    When I was living in the US, I started using a dryer, until I finally broke down and bought a nice clothes rack at Target.

  79. I adore this blog post. I love that you are sharing the idea. But did you know that there are laws in some communities banning clothe lines! I kid you not. Just google it and you’ll see there’s even a movement to stop the banning of clothes lines!

    XXOO
    Anita
    Anita´s last post…Storms

  80. Even though I have a dryer, I dry all my laundry on the line. Did you know that you can freeze-dry your laundry? You hang it outside on the clothesline when there is frost, and it gets stiff as it freezes. When you can see it flapping, you know that it is dry. I wouldn´t try this with delicate clothes, but it works quite well with sheets and towels.
    After I got the dryer (a gift), I used it a few times, but I hated the soft feeling of the clothes. They always felt as if they had been worn already. For me, only the slightly stiff line-dried clothes feel really clean.
    Btw, I hang all shirts, blouses and t-shirts on the wire hangers from the dry cleaners to dry. It makes folding or ironing a breeze.

  81. http://www.VermontCountryStore.com has some nice wooden clothes dryers. I prefer to use the dryer, mostly because I can deal with an armload of clothes at a time rather than each item individually several times. We have used the clothesline at some of our homes, and it does force you to slow down and enjoy and sunshine, both good things.
    MAUREEN´s last post…Denim Quilt

  82. I studied abroad in Florence and when I realized that our apartment didn’t have a dryer, I freaked out. But I’ve come to realize (since that wonderful semester) that hang drying leads to less clothes getting ruined accidentally!

  83. My family had a clothes line when I was growing up, but we lived in the country. Now I live in a small apartment in the city, and don’t feel like giving up the space to hang our clothes. Also, if we hung our clothes outside they would be covered by the soot/dirt that is in the air in big cities like where I live in San Francisco. :(

  84. I definitely need to get this going for my cloth diaper laundry at LEAST! It would be a fun fine motor skills activity for my two year old daughter as well. She loves to help right now.

  85. Stephanie Fallon says:

    We love drying our clothes on a foldable rack. Another great idea was to install a
    second tension shower rod in the center of our bath/shower. This is wonderful for longer clothing and items dried on hangers. Thank you for all the inspiration I have gained through your posts.

  86. The last time I tried to dry my clothes on a line, neighbors complained. They didn’t want to see my t-shirts and towels. Sigh.

    Unrelated to this particular post but related to your family’s year off, this Ted talk about sabbaticals made me think of your blog: http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off.html

  87. I like the look and smell of fresh lined clothes for drying. In India, Asia and other European countries do it, but we in US do not dry laundry like those in pictures! I use small stand alone cloth liner and want to get a bigger one to dry clothes.

    I love everything about line drying the clothes, except, dry clothes are bit stiff and wrinkle compared to coming out dryer. Do you have a solution?

    Preeti
    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…How to Create A Life That Does Not To Escape From- Part 2

  88. Some towels go stiff on the line when they have been spun dry on too high a cycle in the washing machine. Choose a slower spin speed, and give the towels (and other clothes) a good shake before hanging them on the line.
    My Mother and Aunt always were insistant on washing being hung a certain way. Hang socks by their toes (some people prefer the other way- there is an ongoing debate), and other clothes by their ‘openings’ to allow the breezes to ‘access all areas’. Hang shirts upside down by their shirt-tails, buttons open, and put the pegs on the seams so they don’t leave a mark. My Aunt believes in hanging sheets slightly lower on one side than the other (dependant on the prevailing wind). I love spreading undies on lavender bushes to dry(when avaliable). They smell so good. How do you hang your washing?
    At the moment I’m putting the clothes basket on the ground,as I get a great workout while I’m hanging the laundry. All that stretching down and up keeps my body from getting stiff.
    I remember a survey done a few years ago that voted clean sheets straight from the line as the world’s most favourite smell. It certainly is mine.
    I love that the sun’s rays destroy all those bacteria and other nasties on my washing. Does a dryer do that?

  89. Great post! Living in Spain, this is how we dry our clothes. I highly recommend the IKEA clothes rack. We used to live on the ground floor flat of a block 8 stories high – it was amazing the stuff (including washing) that fell on to our terrace! :)
    Jane´s last post…Whats your Junkera

  90. “I love hanging clothes out to dry even though it takes a few minutes longer than tossing them in the dryer. Hanging clothes is a peaceful and calming ritual.” Yes! I’ve been trying to convince my friends and family of this for years. Everyone I know seems to find it a huge waste of time, but I relish that strange quiet moment outside. It’s wonderful.

  91. I hang dry everything that gets washed on cold/ our “nice” clothes. We recently moved from Colorado to Ohio and drying clothes on the rack is awful. Everything takes at least twice as long because of the humidity. I am the odd one out as I very much dislike the smell of clothes that have been dried outside so I do everything inside unless I’m in a time crunch. I’m surpised to hear people say that they don’t have to iron things. My stuff is always wrinkly off the rack and i even snap it out before hanging. My pants are also always stiff. I don’t use much detergent… A little over a tablespoon for a full load so I wonder if it’s just the fabric….

  92. I’ve been line-drying my clothes for the past month – and I love it! I thought since I live in a small townhouse that I couldn’t line dry, but my Ikea drying rack fits so many clothes in a small space. Amazingly, I actually fold my laundry in a more timely fashion with line drying than with using the dryer! All the clothes are neatly ready for folding, not clumped together in a mysterious bundle in the dryer. Somehow that clump made it harder for me to get around to folding :)

    I also really enjoy being outside with the dog and the kids while I get some things done. They can run around and get some energy out, and I feel like I’ve accomplished something!
    Jennifer´s last post…Simply Delicious Sunday Lunch- Roasted Butterfly Chicken &amp Sweet Potatoes with Gravy

  93. We had several drying racks when we lived in Germany and I loved them! Our patio would get so warm, it wouldn’t take much longer than the machine to dry. You’re right though, those racks do cost more than you think they should.

  94. When we moved to the Netherlands we started using clotheslines and I think it’s a habit we’ll take with us when we move. Although it takes a little more effort because my washer is on the third floor, I find I fold the clothes faster because I just fold them as I take them down. And line drying is sometimes faster because our dryer takes forever! It’s become a very calming ritual for me. Fantastic post, and love the pictures.
    Tracey´s last post…Just One Thing

    • Similar to what Tracey said, we moved to the Netherlands and the apartment had no dryer, and we just decided to go without. We got a massive rack and little clip thing at IKEA (I call it the Socktopus) and 90% of the time that does the trick. Occasionally in the winter things take too long (sweaters, jeans) and we have to find a way to hurry it up so they don’t smell. Like you, I plan laundry by the weather now, too.

      My husband comments sometimes that things lose their shape a bit without the dryer, and I think there’s some truth to this, but I am the one who does all the laundry and I don’t miss it.

      One of my favorite sights, not so much here in the Netherlands but in other places in Europe we’ve traveled, is how completely unashamed people are about their undergarments!
      Meghan´s last post…Barcelona’s Boqueria

  95. I have disastrous allergies, and the amount of pollen that collects on clothes will give me an asthma attack in a heartbeat. It costs more to keep myself pumped full of allergy pills and run to the doctor every time prolonged allergy fits give me pneumonia or conjunctivitis and have an inhaler in every room of the house + purse + car + bike than to run the dryer for every load. It also takes less of a toll on my arthritic shoulders to throw the clothes in the dryer than to hang them, so I only hang my delicates.

    I have a friend who is militantly frugal, in her mind, but she just doesn’t see these “opportunity costs” the way I do. It’s difficult to remember how ableist our society is, and I have to remind her and others regularly that not all of us are cut out for all these ideas. I try not to judge them for their ignorance, though I wish they’d try not to judge me for not doing everything their blog or book of magically life-changing/money-saving ideas suggests. Still, I do appreciate having all the ideas shared, so that I can make conscious, educated decisions and know what my options are when I or a friend is in a pinch!

  96. Just moved to the UK from Canada and I’m getting a first hand experience with line drying. At first I was scared: hang everything?!? Plus we live in a small flat, no balcony or yard for line drying.
    So far it really hasn’t been that bad. Sure, it’s a bit more work but I’ve just adjusted my routine.

  97. I’ve tried to dry our clothes on the line- but something always seems to happen to discourage me. This summer- it was that the neighborhood kids were hanging on my line- snapped one side and the other is noticeably slack.

    I just need hubby to put up a new line and I’ll be ready for our next load. Great post!

  98. I live in north east of Italy and I hang dry clothes year around too :)
    During summer it takes less than half a day to dry, during winter it can take 1 day and a half but it’s really not a problem.
    I learnt to always check the weather forecast before doing laudry and, living in a new and windy city I look at my neighbors’ apartments like Rachel ;-p
    If they hang out their laundry I know the wind will not blow away my clothes!
    If you have radiators on the wall, during winter you can use radiator rack like this:
    http://cgi.ebay.it/STENDIBIANCHERIA-DA-TERMOSIFONE-QUICK-NEW-GIMI-3-METRI-/370137584831

    Hurra for hang drying!

  99. Nadiza Bulkowski says:

    I grew up with a clothesline so I thought it natural to continue the practice as a 21 year-old bride in 1974. Three years ago I went dryer-free during the winter too, opting for drying racks indoors.

    This year I started it with good intentions,even hanging outside when the weather was nice in January, February, and March. Then something happened to change those intentions. On March 27, a few minutes after hanging out 2 loads of laundry, I had a stroke and for the next almost 2 months I was in the hospital.

    It’s a funny thing, but I have any easier folding laundry I’ve air-dried than when it comes out of the dryer. It’s a long process hanging on the rack with limited mobility on my right side, but it helps to use my hand as much as possible. And today, with help, I was able to get laundry out on the clothesline. It was an incredible feeling of accomplishment!

  100. Many suburban neighborhoods like ours won’t permit clotheslines. So, we have retractable lines in our basement – they’re great!

    Melissa @imaginationsoup

  101. In Australia, we have a clothes line culture :)

    My Mum and Dad have never had a clothes dryer (gasp!) and most likely never will. My household has only just got one in the last few years (we opted for a front loading washer/dryer combo) but don’t use it much unless we have a few days in a row of rainy weather. And my best friend has only just bought one a few months ago!
    Using a clothes line or air drying all our washing is the norm, but having the dryer back up is handy!

  102. I love this small note book! I am falling asleep now after a fresh and bright day in the sun washing, ringing, and hanging my clothes out to dry in my back yard. Ah, my clothes are so fresh and bright and it really feels wonderful! I think I’m the only guy to post here… I find that very surprising, and yet, very cool at the same time. It means I’m unique and whenever I decide to get serious with a girl, we’ll likely have an amazing time together.

  103. Wow.. I love drying clothes on a line or in our case, rack. We’re in India, so sunlight is a given and yes, I too find it calming and meditative. In fact, I’d posted about why I line dry our clothes sometime ago
    http://www.themomwrites.com/2010/10/green-laundry-5-simple-reasons-to-line-dry-your-clothes.html

    Am SO glad to read all the comments here. Line drying is not just super fun but also a great way to save on energy. So, it always makes me happy when I read about more people switching to line drying clothes. Yay!
    Prerna Malik´s last post…Moms in Business: An Interview with Darcy, of His & Hers Photography

  104. CF Reynolds says:

    Lived for a year in a small cabin on nearby lake.
    Washing machine was provided but no dryer!
    I had what I felt was the ultimate alternative-
    laundry lines w clothespins strung up in the boat house!

    Perfect natural dryer in TIN boat house and if it rained, no problem!

    I did have to be careful not to drop anything into the boats
    or the lake!

    Now, much later in life, I have a wonderful electric dryer
    that is used in a minimal fashion and still hang up most
    laundry items to dry.

    CAT/ SW GA

  105. Courtney says:

    The pictures from Italy are beautiful – but having just read about the very high air pollution levels over there, I am wondering if line drying might have negative effects on the health of those living in polluted areas.

    • If there is air pollution will you first be worried of breathing it or of your clothes hang outside? ^_^
      Seriously, there is no dramatic air pollution here in Italy.

      I never came across a scientific paper telling that normal level of air pollution is a problem on clothes so, being a regular italian girl with no health problem, I guess I can empirically say line drying doesn’t have visible negative effects on health ^_^

  106. When I bought my house, I was all set to put up a clothesline. Then I started to notice the grime everywhere! We are so close to the airport that out clothes would come in from the line dirtier than they went out. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait for the next house :(

  107. Thank you for the great article and the inspiration. I’ve been wanting to hang my laundry outside but my husband is afraid that the clothes will be too stiff. I’ll give the vinegar a try as well as putting them in the dryer for a few minutes.
    Monica Ray´s last post…Finding Focus in a World Full of Distractions

  108. For those of us with a little yard space can use something like this outdoor umbrella clothesline from BestDryingRack.com. It folds up and is even easily removable for mowing and just using the space for bbq’s and other things.

  109. The former president of our neighborhood association is certain that clotheslines are not allowed, so we seldom use our 2 retractable ones. I have 2 rods in the laundry room, but clothes don’t dry quickly – i assume the room has some humidity from the washer. I use the dryer only for bath towels and sometimes softening heavy pique knits that I hang – it’s expensive and sets stains!

    Most of our freshly laundered clothes go on hangers that we hang over the edge of the plate rail in the kitchen. We don’t have a plate collection there, so the shelf is mostly unused. It looks rather cliuttered if they dry during the day, but it I hang a load at night, most pieces are dry by morning.

  110. I wasn’t going to write anything here, since you’ve written this post quite a long time ago, but I noticed that I’m rereading it. I love this post, I just two weeks ago found your blog and have been reading it alot lately. I was so inspired by this post of yours that I made a post of my own about laundry lines (http://onshore-again.blogspot.com/2011/07/laundry-lines.html)
    Thanks for the boost!
    Leena´s last post…Greetings from Denmark

  111. My friend goes one better on the weather-watching front. She keeps tabs on the wind factor and pops laundry in to wash on windy days so that her clothes and linens don’t dry stiff in the Arizona dry heat (which often dries laundry in an hour). My clothesline is my shower rod. I just hang a load up on hangers there.

  112. How can outdoor clotheslines be banned anywhere? With everything and everyone going “green”, it is a no brainer. Who doesn’t love the smell and the cost saving measure? I grew up this way( in the midwest) and no one will tell me I can’t! There’s not a thing wrong about laundry hanging out to dry.

  113. I hang all our washing either outside on the line or inside on racks. I hate the rainy
    Seasons as the dining room resembles a Chinese laundry and it takes ages for things to dry. When we have dry days in winter I’ve found things will dry ok if you do it early enough, if it’s gone noon then things will come in damp – unless I let them have 30mins or so in the dryer and then hang them straight out – you can see the steam coming off them as you hang them! We have a combination washer/dryer and it’s terrible on electric for drying so I only use it sparingly and never fully dry in it.

  114. funny, I should come upon this post today. With our unrelenting heat this summer, I have been relying on our clothesline more. In fact I am on my way out to hang up some laundry now.
    Lisa @Granola Catholic´s last post…What Does Summer Camp Teach Children?

  115. I miss my clothesline. I had one in the back yard in our previous house (even in South Dakota, where would only be possible a few months of the year!)…I’m definitely looking at Ikea for one though. I didn’t realize how economical it is but I can attest clothes looking brighter! And they are so fresh!

    Those pictures are great!!

  116. I recently downsized from owning house in the burbs, to renting a condo in a development with very strict HOA rules. I miss my clothesline. I do use the screened in porch for a few things, but there was nothing like clothes line dryed in the sun. In America it does come with a stigma of “Country”, but who cares, it saves elecricity, very fresh, and makes me happy.

  117. I love line drying! In Germany it is very common and we have really smart solutions even for small flats:

    The “Wall Dryer”:
    http://www.amazon.de/Leifheit-83100-Wandtrockner-TELEFIX-weiß/dp/B000JG1KP4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322044529&sr=8-2
    Check out the 2nd picture!
    When I had a really tiny flat, I had one of these right above my washing machine. I put all the T-Shirts and Jumpers on clothes hangers on the doorhandles and the rest on the Wall Dryer.

    The “Laundry-Spider”:
    http://www.amazon.de/Wäschespinne-Norway-50-Schutzhülle-Eindrehdübel/dp/B004SBBEXO/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1322044071&sr=1-2
    You stick it in your garden. It has 50 meters of lines! When you’re done, you fold it like an umbrella and store it in the broom cupboard.

    Now I use two “Wing Dryers” (your favorite style from Venice). In winter I hang the laundry on the rack and then put it on the balcony. Cold, dry air is fantastic to dry laundry! In summer I put it on the balcony and then hang the laundry.

    In the bathroom we have a heater like this:
    http://www.wohnatelier.de/images_firmen1/heizkoerper_buderus_Otello_Ambiente.jpg
    We call it the “Towel Warmer”. But you can dry your socks, undies etc. on it as well.
    The Lefty´s last post…Das zweite Dutzend Leser/-innen

  118. I grew up in rural Indiana on a farm. I started helping hang clothes on the line when I was little, maybe 5 years old in 1959 or so. I was raised in my grandparent’s home with my aunts teaching us how to do the laundry. My grandmother would use an old ringer washer until about 1963. She would sit in front of a galvanized tub, hand washing the really dirty farmer socks with a washboard. We would lay outside under the clothes and watch the clouds go by, finding shapes in the clouds. It was a such special time. :-)

  119. Great! Wooden clothespins, just class!

  120. I use the shower rods in the bathrooms to hang most of my clothes on hangers. That way they are are ready to go in the closet once they are dry. I also run an extra spin cycle on bulky/heavy items since it is usually cheaper to run the washing machine as opposed to the dryer.