Question of the week: Are clotheslines trashy or environmentally classy?
I’m on a “Right to Dry” mission, and I hope you’ll join me in making the backyard clothesline socially acceptable again. Believe it or not, they’re against code in some neighborhoods and cities, but I think it’s high time to rethink the issue.
As my investments continue to erode and the Federal Government has gone amuck, I’ve decided to try a new approach to conserve energy and lower my monthly living expenses. I’m going to install a clothesline and retire my dryer. It’s on its last leg anyway and sounds like a train when it’s churning full-speed.
The dryer is one of our homes’ biggest energy hogs – worse than the even the refrigerator which runs 24-hours a day! Clothes washers and dryers collectively account for six percent of your annual energy bill, with the bulk of that amount coming from the dryer,” says the U.S. Department of Energy.
Each year, it consumes about 1,200 kilowatt hours of energy per household and emits 2,224 pounds of carbon dioxide.
You can figure you’re spending about a buck and a half per load. Depending on how much laundry you do, you could hang the clothes on a line out back and finance a trip to the movies while they dry. My expense is worse than most because I use the dryer to do my ironing as well. Just toss in a wrinkled shirt with a damp towel and in 20 minutes you’re ready to meet the Queen.
I’m going to be more responsible from now on – and for reasons other than just the energy savings. It’s about memories of a sweeter time, or so it seems from my 40-something vantage point. (Shut up now, I am TOO over 40- just not saying how much.)
There was a day in small town America when every home had a clothes line in the back yard. You learned quickly to burn their exact locations on your brain or you would practically decapitate yourself sprinting through the neighbor’s yard during the nightly game of Hide and Seek.
I can still see my mother out back in her house dress – women didn’t wear pants in those days – unless you were Lucille Ball. She would hum a tune while hanging out our unmentionables for all the world to see. It never occurred for us to be embarrassed about it, because everyone was doing it.
I can still see my Daddy’s plaid golf pants dancing in the wind like Fred Astaire on speed.
My job was to retrieve the dry clothes and bring them inside. I can still conjure up the fresh smell of sun-dried towels. They were stiff as a board and could almost walk inside on their own, but they smelled heavenly. Now that I think about it, we didn’t have expensive exfoliating creams in those days – who needed it? One swipe with one of those sandpaper-like towels, and your skin was smooth as a newborn’s.
You could drive out to the countryside on a balmy spring day and see residents hang their wet clothes right on the fence. Those brightly colored wet clothes added a certain flair to the otherwise dreary landscape.
I’m drafting legislation to present to my senator to get the government to provide a tax write-off for everyone who installs a clothes line in their backyard. The clothespin industry will love me. Do they still make clothespins?
On Saturday, I decided to test the waters. I hung out my laundry on my privacy fence to dry – including the unmentionables – and took off to the movies. I was horrified when I got home to find my back door neighbor was having a huge cook-out. Oh gee. Now I know why Monday was wash day – less likelihood the neighbors will be out sipping suds while your underwear flaps in the breeze.
Let’s retire the dryer! You can use it as a quiet place for a nap!