Ever since we moved into our Hawaii Kai, Oahu, home eight years ago, I have been hanging laundry on our seven clotheslines that are in the garage. Exposed to the elements, with just a little bit of cover overhead, my laundry benefits from the germ-killing sunshine and sometimes for an extra rinse cycle thanks to the trade wind showers. Sheets dry on a breezy, sunny day in about an hour. Denim can hang over night. Aloha shirts and blouses hang on hangers. I probably have more than 250 clothespins and have come close to using them all. Sometimes I have to wait until a nosy carpenter bee is through inspecting my clothespin stash before I can finish.
My grandmother’s philosophy was to hang laundry on the line the way it is worn on a body. Shirts hung from the shoulders, pants from the waist. Therefore, the drape and wear on the person isn’t contradicted by the drape and wear on the line.
Besides the economics, one advantage to using a clothesline over a dryer is that you can leave it up until you have time to take it down. A lot of times I hang or take down my laundry last thing at night or first thing in the morning. It’s dark, the stars are sparkling, and I look at the constellations, planes and satellites as I reach up. Doing the laundry is cathartic for me. It’s a nice quiet time, whether I’m folding and stacking or hanging pants with pants, T-shirts with T-shirts, underwear and bandanas each from their own clothes pin. It’s a quiet me time when I get to think about things.
My lines are too tall for my girls who are now 9 and 7 years old. Eventually, I’ll give up my laundry duties to them so they learn one of life’s basic chores and so they’re never stuck without clean underwear. Besides, it’s time they learned to clean the bathroom!