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Bringing back the clothesline
If you’re like me, quarantine has made you pay more attention to all things home. We’re super thankful for backyards, since entertainment like amusement parks is out of the question this summer. In the kitchen, we’ve learned to appreciate our pantries and the comfort of a well-stocked freezer. We’re also probably painfully aware of garage doors that need to be painted, shelves that need organizing, and empty walls asking for something to hang. Now more than ever, we're in touch with the ebb and flow of our family dynamics, and maybe we’re rethinking the way we approach everyday routines. Today’s thought: laundry.
Recently, my middle has been “forgetting” to use the potty before bed (to be fair, we haven’t been great about reminding him, either), and we’ve spent more than a few mornings washing his sheets and blankets on top of the other loads for the day. As I’m cramming his huge comforter into the dryer, knowing it’s still going to be damp when the timer dings, my eyes land on a drying rack standing unused in a corner of my basement. I brought that baby outside and let the wind and the sun do their work. Later as I made up his bed, I felt like I was on a Febreeze commercial, sniffing away and sighing.
So I started using the rack for bedding and towels. Sometimes I even just stretch the sheets over the backs of patio chairs. They dry so quickly in the sun. Now, I'm a little ashamed that I'm considering this a eureka moment, but I'm hoping that maybe some of you are in my boat and the thought has simply never occurred to you to hang your laundry outside. Of course, there are some downsides. I haven’t bothered with clothes because it’s a little more cumbersome to have to hang numerous small items. There are also some wrinkles to deal with and towels definitely aren’t as downy soft as when they emerge from the dryer. There is an extra step or two in carrying the basket of wet laundry outside, hanging it, and remembering to bring it in. But...the smell. The smell is worth it: fresh air and sunshine bring out the clean scent of the detergent, and it lasts for days.
For me, the simplicity of harnessing the elements feels so good. The sun is shining anyway! And did you know that it costs about 50 cents per load to run your dryer?? Even drying a few loads a week outside will save on your energy bill, but more importantly, you’re adopting a habit that conserves rather than consumes. It makes me oddly happy to know that I used an ancient method instead of a modern one to get something done. It’s the same satisfaction that comes with baking bread or growing tomatoes. I could’ve gone to the store. I could’ve turned on the dryer. But opting for self-sufficiency, even in very small ways, makes me feel more in control of things. For a beat, I'm less dependent on technology and more in harmony with nature’s way.
So consider going old school and shaking up your laundry routine, friends. Don’t forget to pause and breathe it in.