If I inherited one thing from my mother … well, besides my love of reading. And music. And, um, my face.
Okay, so outside of those, if I inherited one thing, it’s my love of hanging laundry on the line.
Growing up, we didn’t own a clothes dryer. All our laundry went out on the line, and in a family of six, that’s a lot of wet clothes. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and laundry was pretty much a full-time job. Every day it wasn’t raining, there was a load or two on the line. And every day it wasn’t raining but looked like it might, every eye in the house was kept half-trained on the skies for the first sign of raindrops in case we needed to do the mad scramble to bring everything inside before it got wet.
It was a pretty nice setup, too. The line was super long: it ran parallel to the entire length of the house, strung between two metal poles and with an elevator pulley system to raise the clothes up to where the good breezes are. The elevator and pulley were in desperate need of oiling, though, and you could hear them squeaking throughout the neighbourhood. I’m sure it drove the neighbours crazy, but in my memories it was a beautiful sound because it meant fresh, clean clothes were imminent.
After leaving home, it was years before I was in a place where I could have a clothesline. When I got one, it felt like a little part of me was finally complete. Hanging clothes out is very calming to me, and appeals to both my senses of accomplishment and organization. It’s such a positive in my life that, when a counselor once gave me a ‘homework’ assignment to take photos of things that have meaning to me, the very first pic I took was of clothes on the line.
I have rules. All like clothes are hung together – so shirts with shirts, socks with socks, undies with undies, and so on. And they all get hung the same way – so, for example, if the first sock goes up hung by the toe with the heel facing to the right, all the others go up like that as well.
There is one problem, though – the clothespins. I don’t like plastic pins because a) they’re ugly, b) they have no grip, and c) they’re plastic. So I use wooden ones, which are better, but still problematic. I live in a windy city, and sometimes wooden clothespins just don’t cut it. In the photo above, for example, a pin has let go and a shirt is hanging from only one, completely ruining the symmetry of my line. (Oh, and making it more likely my nice clean clothes will end up on the ground, too. But mostly it’s messing up the symmetry.)
Plus they rot. And sometimes this happens:
I mean, yes, it’s perfectly useable. But every time I look at the line, I know it’s there, mocking me with its lopsidedness.
And then I found these.
Meet Lee Valley‘s “Lifetime Clothespins.” They arrived today and, it being a warm, sunny, breezy day without a hint of rain, this happened:
Which leads us to another benefit to my laundry days. All t-shirts get hung with the front facing towards the house and, since the vast majority of my tees are band shirts, I end up with a clothesline full of memories.
In this photo alone there’s Apocalyptica (Wacken Open Air), Clawfinger (also Wacken), Volbeat (Ottawa), Rush (Halifax), Godsmack (also Halifax), Rammstein (Berlin), Mad Robots (Budapest), Judas Priest (Halifax), Rammstein again (Quebec City this time), and Trivium (Toronto).
Memories of great trips to amazing shows, all hanging straight and secure, with shiny shiny clothespins glinting in the sun.
And right now, that’s enough.
I am a full on clothes hanger when I have the chance as well. Friends of my parents asked me to go around to their holiday house and hang their forgotten laundry and I got a ” you are your father’s daughter” comment about how organised it was. I refuse to own a dryer. waste of money and electricity.
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Funny that it seems to be hereditary for both of us. 🙂 Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to not own one where I am – the clothes freeze rather than dry if you hang them out in the winter, I’ve seen springs with six weeks of rain straight, and stuff smells musty if you dry it inside. So I do use a dryer a lot. One of the highlights of summer is not having to so much.
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