Friday, June 27, 2008

Rebel without a pin

I've been thinking about installing a retractable clothesline when we move to the new house. I know that I won't use it all the time; northwest weather is just too unpredictable and wet for that, but on sunny days, I thought I could save a little energy and get my towels and sheets dry in the sun. My idea has met with some skepticism.

The first thing mentioned was "crunchy towels". It's true that towels get stiffer and scratchier on the line than in the dryer, but for me, that doesn't seem like a big deal. I don't wear the towel, after all - it just sucks up water, so the stiffness doesn't seem like a big deal.

Lugging wet towels outside and making sure they don't get rained on was also a concern. I agree the rain might be an issue and lugging towels isn't anyone's idea of fun, but the new clothesline won't be that far from the dryer and Lord knows I could use some exercise.

The skeptics also mentioned how the clothesline will look like the Clampetts (a la The Beverly HillBillies). The line will be in the backyard, so I don't think the neighbors will care - but that argument has some legs. Apparently, there is a legal controversy over home associations that have banned clotheslines, presumably for lowering property values. Some courts have ruled that these restrictions are illegal. The humble clothesline appears to be a line drawn in the air for some folks. Project Laundry has a place where you can register if your community won't allow clotheslines, as well as advocacy information.

I pick my battles and taking on my HOA over a clothesline probably isn't one I would launch, especially since my use is something that would have to be seasonal. I just find it interesting that something as simple as drying clothing in the sun can be an issue that folks have to fight for and about.

Hmmmm...well, we'll see if I get the line or not (and if I use it or not). I'm still researching the crunchy towels angle. Anyone using a radical, rebellious clothesline?

*Another great photo from the Library of Congress collection on Flickr


Anonymous said...

You have got to be joking. That is crazy! Banning clothes lines?! Humans are insane. I say go with it. Mayhaps you'll only get a few good days a year to use it, but there is nuttin like the smell of air-dried t-shirt soaking up the sun. Mmmm...

Julie said...

The clothesline fight has earned press in our neck of the woods. A state senator in Illinois is trying to push a law that would stop HOA's from banning energy efficient products, such as clothes lines.
Clotheslines aren't the problem. Trashy people are the problem.
We don't ban cars, we ban people leaving broken down cars in their yards. Similarly, we shouldn't ban clotheslines; we should ban people leaving clothes up for too long, putting the lines in front yards, hanging clothes on fences, etc.
I have a clothesline, but I don't have an HOA.
I admit I don't do towels on the line - the crunch factor - but is there anything better than line-dried sheets? I choose what I hang based on its ability to cope with the line. (Soon, they'll all have to be done in side until the birds are done feasting on cherries.)
I've already ranted about this too much ( and should probably stop, but I say put up your line and damn the man. Do you know for a fact that your HOA bans them? If so, fight them on the green factor. A lot of sources say the dryer is typically the biggest energy hog in the average home. Do they want to promote pollution by forcing you to use power that was likely generate from nonrenawble resources like coal?
I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Sling said...

Homeowners associations are a concept that has always baffled me.
You own your home,and a group of strangers is gonna presume to tell you how to live in it..Over my dead body!
Don't detergents advertise their products as making clothes smell clothesline fresh?
And julie makes an excellent point about them being totally enrgy efficient.
Put up the line,it's the responsible thing to do. :)

rosemary said...

Our line is tied to trees and swings around to make a circle. I love the smell of outside dried anything and the stiffness. We use propane for our heat....too damn expensive. I have even used those fold up wood things to dry stuff in the winter. I have a confession. Every time I read your blog i make a coffee cake. I wasn't able to eat the whole thing the last time and Steve got home and there were two pieces left. He asked if I had eaten the rest of the damn thing and I lied and said a friend Barb had stopped by. He left this morning.