I've Got A Major Hang-Up, And It's Not Going Away!

by Katy on July 30, 2008 · 15 comments



The backyard project is in full swing now. To describe it as complete and total disarray would not be an exaggeration.

There’s the surprise of a supposedly decommissioned oil tank that, well. . . wasn’t. Luckily, my husband Dale is handy. He’s able to deal with it without having to spend the $2500 it takes to hire the job out. It’ll just cost $500 for soil sampling and to have his work certified. (##@@**&&**%%!!)

Huge mountains of dirt, and pyramid stacks of concrete bags completely fill the lawn.

It’s a classy look. Very Beverly Hillbillies meet Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Except, without Ty Pennington’s crocodile tears or grandma’s corncob pipe.

In all this chaos is one constant.

My clothesline.

Every morning it gets taken down, and as soon as the workers (Okay, my sister Sara and her boyfriend Chente) leave, it’s laundry time.

I line dry my family’s clothes on two simple cotton lines that run from the back porch to the play structure. They are retractable, which is to say that they connect at one end with rocking climbing carabinieres, (They came free with something we bought years ago, I am so not the rock climbing type!). 

I know it’s kind of finicky and complicated to take the clothesline down and put it back up again, each and every day.

But I just love doing it.

Clipping up the clothing just so, making sure there’s room for the whole load.

It’s an art.

I love the savings, I love the electricity not used, I even love the chats over the fence with the new neighbor. She knew when we were out of town, simply because there was no laundry on the line that week.

I  make super funny jokes about my “solar powered clothes dryer.” (That’s comedy gold fellow Non-Consumers. Comedy gold — Okay, maybe bronze.)

There are no Energy Star Clothes dryers, because they’re all energy hogs. Each and every one.

Our electricity usage decreases by half in the summer because we are able to hang the laundry. That’s huge!

So for every day I see even a glimpse of Oregon sunshine, I’ll be out there, clothespins in hand. And nothing stands in my way, not even a completely dug up backyard.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Are you hanging your laundry?

I’m interested in hearing from people who are banned from using a clothesline by their homeowner associations.

Tell us about it in the comments section below.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

caroline July 30, 2008 at 1:30 am

i was so excited (and still am) by my clothes line and love the dried by air and sun smell that attaches itself to my clean clothes. For a long time and many reasons involving a giant laundry destroying puppy i could not line dry. Now we even do it indoors when the weather is bad outside!


LeAnna July 30, 2008 at 10:07 am

I’m an avid line dryer. I was VERY excited to see one was already established in the yard of the house I just bought. The pins were pretty much decayed, but they’re still working for me, although I break about two a week. I figure when I start running out of ones that work, I will get some more. Nothing makes me feel prouder, I think, than seeing my little one’s cloth diapers out drying on the line in the sun, all lined up…*grins*


Linda July 30, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I also line dry what I can. I can’t fit sheets/blankets on mine & I don’t do undies but most everything else goes on the lines! Join more avid line dryers at the Project Laundry List yahoo group: ProjectLaundryListsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
and check out the main website at:


BohoBelle July 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I still haven’t caught onto ‘The Art of Clothes Drying’, I’m more of an Iron Maiden. We live in an apartment so only have a dryer (my boyfriend loves doing the laundry because he bought one of those washer/dryer in one models) but we air dry most of the clothes by hanging them damp in the study cupboard (door open) and it works a treat.

Thanks for the great blogs. I have them sent to my work email, and its always wonderful to start the day with something positive that reminds me why I do my job.


patricia a. boutilier July 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm

We live in a condo—on the 2nd floor—so line-drying outside is a no-go—-but we have a portable clothing hanger in a corner of our bedroom—and a polished aluminum folding clothes dryer—we are able to hang and line dry almost all of our clothing—saves electricity!


Catherine July 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm

I don’t use a clothes line, I occassionally use my black iron patio table and chairs. The table is a large mesh pattern and in the hot Mississippi heat I can dry a load of laundry in about 20 minutes. It takes a lot longer in the dryer.


Pam in AZ July 30, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I live in a Seniors Mobile Home Park in Phoenix AZ. We have plenty of sun (almost year-round) to line dry clothes. Before I sold my home a couple of years ago, I used to line dry my clothes all year long. By the time I got to the end of the line, the clothes at the opposite end were already dry sometimes! Now, at the Park, they won’t let me put up a clothesline. They say they don’t want to look too “low rent”. I think that is lame, and told them so. I asked if I could put up a retractable line, and they said maybe…as long as no one complained!


elisa July 30, 2008 at 10:39 pm

we are banned from clotheslines (why??!?), even though each apartment has a nice sunny deck and other clutter is allowed. i have a folding aluminum rack, plus i hang things like bras from doorhandles. the backs of chairs work well, plus, shirts and pants can be put on hangers and then hung from the tops of doors.


nichole3 July 31, 2008 at 6:39 am

I had no dryer a great deal of the time my children were growing up. I always had my clothsline full. If we had special plans on the weekend. I started washing Friday night and got up early Saturday mornings to have my entire clothesline filled. With four children , I always had to wash at least 2 loads a day. I have to admit it was not always fun. I use my line now mainly for sheets and blankets.


Mountain Mama July 31, 2008 at 11:01 pm

We moved to the Tahoe National Forest from Astoria, OR, last August. As soon as the snow melted, I began to line-dry most of the time. When I look at my propane tank and hear the little hum that it has when it’s clicked on, I think about where that propane came from, and who had to work so hard just to get that propane to my house. I did line-dry my clothes in Astoria in the summer, but often was disappointed when the rains would come, foiling my efforts at a green life. Katy, how do you manage to line dry in often-rainy Portland?


thenonconsumeradvocate August 1, 2008 at 11:04 am

Mountain Mama:

Yes. Hanging laundry in sunny, sunny Oregon is definitely a seasonal affair.

I just do my best. My laundry I left on the line from last night did get rained on.

What’s the worst that can happen?

I’ll have to pop it in the dryer.

I plan on setting up lines in the basement as a first for that fall/winter.

I do worry that things would NEVER dry though.



Rebecca August 2, 2008 at 11:52 am

Since you asked about HOAs, I live in Colorado and they just passed a law that HOAs cannot ban energy saving items like clotheslines or solar panels. I don’t live in an HOA, but I’m glad that my neighbors in the suburbs can get in on the green action now.


Anne Van Willigen August 4, 2008 at 6:36 am

I don’t even need to read the HOA covenant (I love calling it that) to know that I am not allowed to hang laundry…we aren’t supposed to camp-out in a tent in the back yard and all of our mailboxes match. No brainer. I have to say, it is best that way. If only I could get them to ban little matching cement angels like the neighbor next door has in her front yard…I could take it if they were different angels, but what is up with matching angels?

However, I hang my towels on every door in the house. I love crispy towels…love love love them. I also use a drying rack for my work clothes.

Also, don’t forget to clean out your dryer vents. We pay someone to do it cause ours is tricky, but I would think most people could DIY. Do it when the birds are starting to build their nests for instant entertainment.


Iris October 30, 2009 at 3:15 am

a note on the side: when I first went to the U.S. in 1994, it was actually the first time I realized there was ANOTHER way of drying clothes than simply hanging them up on a line… a clothes dryer?!? it seemed so odd… and still does to many Europeans 😉

mind you, my parents weren’t living in a house with a garden but in a 11-floor-apartment building. everyone was line-drying, in the bathroom over the tub or on the balcony.

just a matter of perspective.


Debbie August 12, 2022 at 12:09 pm

I have always dried my clothes on hangers in the laundry room after 3-5 minutes in the dryer. I hate what the dryer does to clothes: shrinks, fades and overheats. Used to do the clothes line but HOA forbids at new place. So am forced to dry sheets and blankets. I’m thinking of a retractable one on my patio which is kinda hidden. Maybe no.one will complain?


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