Hang it out: a meme?

Cross posted at Mrs Washalot.

Every day I seem to read something new about how to save water, power, energy and thereby save our world from imminent catastrophe. But there's something that most people here in Australia still do, and that's hang our washing on the line to dry. I love the sight of nappies flapping in the wind and clothes on hangers drying into shape. Really, I do. (Not so keen about folding but that's another story). It's one of those household jobs that gets me out into the garden early in the day and then again just before dusk. Time to savour the sights and smells of the day. A simple task that stretches my body and gives me a moment to think and reflect, or to chat with my little helper.

Nappies at the end of the day, in the autumn light.

I know I have an inane obsession with all things laundry, but I loved reading Toni's beautiful ode to the joys of the washing line. It reminded me that despite my occasional whinging, I really do enjoy that part of our domestic routine. And I like watching the inbetweenness of washing on the line. The work of washing has been done and the task of folding and putting away is yet to come. I find something restful about that, even if I'm quite busy. Toni's also set up a Flickr group for lovers of the clothesline, Beautiful Clotheslines. And beautiful it is. I encourage you all to go on over and contribute, if that is your bent. Following on, Amy posted about resolving to use a clothesline. There is so much I take for granted here.

According to Project Laundry List, there are whole housing developments in the US where people are prohibited from erecting clotheslines or hanging their washing outside. Which I'm guessing is for aesthetic reasons. So many people use their dryer for every load of washing, even in summer. Imagine that, every load of washing. No sheets smelling of sunshine, no temporarily scratchy towells, no wistful sights of the washing across the back fence. Now Project Laundry List also promotes National Hanging Out Day on April 19. I'm not sure whether it has much of a following but it's a good idea I think, and I thought maybe us bloggers could do a beautiful laundry meme. So, this is what I thought. Post a picture of some washing on the line, or on a rack and write a little something about the good side of natural drying. (By the way, I'm not for one moment saying that there aren't times in one's lofe when a dryer isn't useful or totally justifiable, of course there are.) Anyway, the washing out to dry could be yours, it could be your mum's, it could be in a backyard, or on holiday or hanging from an apartment building balcony, it could even be a picture from a children's book. Let's celebrate the homey beauty of washing out to dry. Anyone up for it? 

I'm not going to tag, because it's not a tagging sort of meme I don't think. But I'd love to know if anyone decides to take it up. Because clean laundry on the line is beautiful.


Sheree said...

Oh yes, we live in one of those housing developments that doesn't allow washing lines because of the way they look. So we have to use our dryer for every load. But when I was cloth diapering Little Man, I would often hang his dipes out to dry in the sun anyways. I just hung them *under* the sightline of the fence so no one could see. :)
I have to admit, clothes hung to dry in the sun smell so good.

madmommy said...

I truly hope our next house has a place in the yard to hang out wash. My mom still does, as it is so much more economical, plus her dryer is in the cellar and who wants to be down there in the summer?
I laugh when I remember we had poles up at this house that my hubby tore down, thinking they were ugly. I didn't know he had, and then mentioned I wanted a laundry line. Oops.

Leah said...

Nice photo. Washing is my favourite chore - it really is 'time out'. On hard days, I check the washing seven or eight times, just to nip out the back and pause quietly. I've added a laundry photo to my blog today :)

VictoriaE said...

I'm up for it. i adore the washing line. Going to get a crying kid out of his cot now and go outside and take a photo of our washing.
Will have to come back later to read your previos post but I am looking forward to hearing about Grace's birthday!

Asiya said...

We do take a lot for granted. I have a huge backyard complete with fruit trees (very impressed with your jam skills!) and a big hills hoist. The amount of washing we have gets me down, but I guess I should be grateful there's somewhere to hang it! We don't even own a clothes dryer!

nutmeg said...

During our backyard renovation our line was taken down. I now have a fold out one in the laundry room - pure convenience. But I agree, line dried smells so good. I have to say the process of actually dividing the colours from the whites and darks, adding the clothes to the machine and setting it going is my favourite part. I do a lot of thinking while I do it. But folding is the bane of my life - well, I'm trying to change those thoughts, slowly ;-)

blue milk said...

Its really out of character for me to appreciate anything houseworky but I too have a fondness for hanging out washing. Really nice post.

jeanie said...

ha ha ha - I did a washing post yesterday, and am a firm believer in the beauty of a well hung line!
I once learned the ONLY way to get the folding done is to fold off the line - two-fold (ha ha ha) benefit is you have more time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (and child can play for more time out there when I was in the big bad city) AND it saves having to front up to it later on.
When I had cloth nappies constantly in the wash, I think I lost my mind with the pegging out - became OCD about peg colours and conformity and creating patterns - having a new baby will do that! I also got into hanging things by whatever drawer they would eventually end up in after folding, but I have gotten over that (mostly)
Thanks for the post!

Tracey said...

Oh yes! You have hit the nail on the head. The only household chore I don't mind doing is hanging out the washing. I actally do love being out there.. it is rare that I don't get to enjoy some rosellas squawking around the grevilleas, or some other bird or birds doing their thing... and I do get a sense of satisfaction when I have a line full of washing. I hate it when the weather forces me to use the dryer. I can't imagine living like that all the time.
I already have a pic of my clothesline in the banner for my blog! - http://home.exetel.com.au/sandy/mumsbanner.jpg - and I blogged about my broken clothesline at http://crazytrace.blogspot.com/2006/12/fix-line-with-sticky-tape.html
Jeanie makes a good suggestion about folding while you're out at the line.. somehow the magic is lost by the time I'm taking the washing off. It must be the morning magic thing.