The Clothesline


I hung clothes on the line this week.  To some, this may sound like a mundane chore.

But, for me, hanging clothes out on the clothesline is much more. And the reasons are as varied as the colors on the line.

First, there’s that smell.  That fresh, crisp, clean smell of sheets or towels or shirts that have spent their afternoon flopping and flapping in the breeze. I don’t care what odiferous names Downy comes up with for their fabric softener. They’ll never duplicate that spring air smell.

Then, there’s the feeling that I’m doing something good for the world.  Or, at the very least, for my electric bill. It’s the green thing to do, right? Let nature do what we too often let machines and electricity do.

Then there’s the aesthetically-pleasing part. Clothes just look pretty hanging outside. Well, most of them, anyway.  Sheets, towels, and, oh – baby clothes and blankets are my favorite!  Underwear should just go in the dryer, in my opinion. No one really wants to see those.

Honestly, I think that hanging out the laundry says something about the status of my sanity. Really. Here’s why. I recently got my clothesline back.  We tore it out a while ago.  It was too close to an encroaching tree. It was leaning a little.  And, to be totally honest, I hadn’t used it for a year or two.

Hanging clothes on the line takes time.  You have to lug the wet clothes outside (from the basement in my case). You have to pin them all up in such a way that they will stay up until you take them down.  And then, you have to take them down.  You have to be close by in case a sudden rain shower pops up.  And, on the farm, you can’t hang clothes out when certain farming activities are taking place – like manure spreading (you can figure out why) and loading corn (those little pink “beeswings” will cover your clothing.)  When it’s all said and done, that 12-inch toss from the washer to the dryer seems much more practical. My life was just too busy to bother with a clothesline.

But, (lucky for me) my son was in need of a home/farm improvement project for FFA.  (I love it when this happens!  My husband’s “honey-do” list gets a little bit shorter!)  He found the old posts, welded a few more, painted, dug, poured cement, strung the line, and ta-dah!  I once again had a clothesline. Ohio was then blessed with a week of Summer in March. No kidding. Eighty degrees!  As I clipped the sheets to the shiny blue line, my mind returned to calmer days, when I was a stay-at-home mom, when my focus was my family, and hanging clothes was a mundane chore. And I realized how much I miss those days.

I put the picture above on my Facebook banner a week or so ago.  Immediately a Danish friend commented that she liked the photo. “Very idyllic,” she said.  Idyllic? I wondered.  Who would think that drying the laundry would be idyllic? But when I look at the picture, I see it. And I know why I love my clothesline.


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3 comments on “The Clothesline”

  1. Kathy

    I have clothes hanging on the line already this morning! Hanging clothes on the line is good therapy and a special prayer time for me! I pray for our family and each family member as I hang up their clothes. When I hang their socks I pray for my familes’ feet that God would walk them through their days safely and in a Godly way. When I hang their sheets I ask God to bless their rest so they may have strength and wisdom to carry out His will for their lives and to be His hands and feet to others! When I hang their dance outfits and and sporting uniforms I pray that they will demonstrate good sportsmanship, courage in the victory and humility if they should lose. I too feel underwear is best left in the dryer-my family thinks so too! Everyone have a blessed day!

  2. Terry Keiser


    Thanks for the walk back in time. For me the year was 1978. That was the last time I hanged laundry on a line to dry. I agree with you the refreshing smell was intoxicating!!
    Do I care to do it again? NO! Too much work. The dryer is only 1 step away compared to yards, maybe feet, from the old clothesline?!
    I’m happy with the memory, thanks.


  3. Marilyn Taylor McDowell

    Hi Michelle – Stumbled upon this blog post and just had to write. Hanging clothes on the line is my favorite household chore. Birds are singing, the air is fresh on my skin and I’m outside. That’s the best, being outside. I always ponder the sky in the morning deciding if it’s a good drying day. I’ve always loved hanging out the wash and when our dryer broke about five years ago, we decided not to replace it. So, I have tromped through snow and brought in towels that are frozen stiff, use dryer racks in January and am happy for moisture in the air, especially when heating with a wood stove and if the weather is really bad, we string the lines in the basement. Guess I’ll always be a country girl at heart. My best to you friend. Marilyn

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