Home Economics Study

This month, I am embarking upon what I like to call a Home Economics Study. Although truthfully, it’s nothing so grand as that. I just like the big name.

In actuality, I am using a clothesline to do my laundry. But doesn’t Home Economics Study sound more impressive?

Our neighbours have gone away for a month on holiday to Europe. We’ll be keeping watch on their house during that time, and in an effort to make the place look occupied, I have parked my car in their driveway, and I’ll water the plants. And then I thought of their clothesline. If there’s laundry out, the place will certainly look lived-in. But my thoughts were much more selfish than that.

I’m going to use their clothesline while they are away to see 1) if it saves us any money, and b) if we like using it enough to put up our own. It’s something I have considered for a while now, but wasn’t convinced. My experiences with clotheslines as a kid certainly didn’t make me a fan. But we need to save money. And, in the event that we decide to go with cloth diapers for Mystery Baby, it would sure be a good way to dry and bleach them.

My first foray into using the clothesline went badly this morning. The comforter and sheet I hung out first had dragged on the ground (the clothesline overhangs a deck, so technically, they brushed along the deck) and so they got all kinds of schmutz on the bottom. So I had to rewash them.

But the second load are drying quickly in the heat and sunlight, and I’ve learned to manage the big items to keep them up off the deck. It is a bit of a warm task, hauling loads of laundry in and out, but it’s not too bad. And if we can save a little money, we can more readily afford the air conditioner, so it’s a worthwhile trade-off that way.

I picked up some lovely cheap laundry soap that comes with fabric softener in it, so hopefully this aids in my cause, as well. I never did like the way clothes come off the line all stiff and crunchy when I was growing up.

Also, I am concerned about the dark stuff. We dress in a lot of black and red around here — partly because we like black, and partly because they’re the colours of our old volleyball club (and Team Canada!) and we have lots of gear. I am kind of hesitant about putting out the dark stuff because I don’t want it to get bleached. I remember stuff on my line in Japan coming in discoloured from the sun and the pollution. So I am not sure about that stuff yet.

Another thing? We live by a conservation area. Birds have dirty feet. And they like to poop. And there are lots of bugs.

So there are some perils to clothesline life, to be sure. We’ll have to see if the benefits outweigh the issues.

There are a few issues to work out in my study yet. But we’ll see if it’s worthwhile, in the end. Maybe we’ll be a clothesline family yet.

4 thoughts on “Home Economics Study

  1. Oh, I am a great lover of my clothesline this year. It reduces the heat and humidity in the house, reduces our clothes drying costs, and I find it really relaxing this year. It is quiet and peaceful (as everyone seems to disappear when it is time for this task) and I really get a sense of accomplishment when I see those clothes blowing in the wind. A trick I learned from the ever brilliant Mom, is take them off the line (usually in the evening when they are a bit cold an damp) and put them in the dryer for just a few minutes, 10 or 15, and they are much softer, less wrinkly, and still have that fantastic outdoor smell. Another thing I learned is not to use too much soap, that is what makes them all stiff and hard. I haven’t had any problems with the darks bleaching out, but I will warn you the sun can rot elastics such as on bathing suits and underwear. I would not trade my clothesline for anything. My favorite thing is have a nice shower just before bedtime and crawling into clean, just off the line sheets. Aaahhhh, just a small (cheap) slice of heaven.

    I will be interested in how you make out and hearing your little escapades along the way. My favorite is when the line comes undone or snaps and all my clothes end up in the dirt driveway. It finally happened to my hubby and he was so mad he just walked away and left them in the basket for me to find the next day all dirty and smelling.

  2. Great suggestions! I will try the dryer thing next time. And maybe on a less sunny day I will be brave enough to put darks out.

    So far, so good. I am getting lots of loads done, and they’re drying so quick. I am a little concerned about using the neighbours’ line because they have neighbours beside them that are idiots, with two teenage sons who should be in jail (or shipped off to do hard time in Siberia). I worry they might do something to our stuff if I don’t watch it.

  3. I remember when I had a clothesline and couldn’t wait to get the dryer. (That was when BDH was a toddler and we had cloth diapers to wash and dry.) I thought it would be heavenly to have clothes dry in an hour and I still would not give up my dryer but there is something so nice about crawling under the sheets when they have been on the clothesline. When you ask our children what they remember about Grammie M_________’s house that they remember it will most likely be about crawling under the sheets when they stayed at her home for a sleepover. I am trying to get my line put back up but i don’t think it will happen anytime in the near future. The dryer trick Sherri told you about works really well with towels as they will be rough if they are not fluffed up. Have fun!!!!

  4. Well, the neighbours have got one of those umbrella-type lines, that you spin around. I have to say, it works pretty well, although to do sheets and blankets you have to fold them before you hang them because the line isn’t long enough. If we get a line it will be one of those. They hide away when you don’t want them, or fold up so they’re out of the way.

    We’ll see if BDH notices a difference when he crawls into bed this evening — see if it brings back any memories of Grammie!

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