My mother-in-law told me that clotheslines are against the law in Salem, Oregon, where she lives. I checked it out, and it’s true! Clothesline bans persist in many US cities, and parts of Canada and Europe. Thousands of homeowner associations prohibit line drying, including the 55+ community where my own dear parents live. Hmm. Clothes dryers use 6-10% of household energy, just behind refrigerators and lighting. Unlike fridges and lights, though, there is an obvious, simple, free alternative.
People all over the country are agitating to overturn clothesline bans. Meanwhile, when clotheslines are outlawed, only outlaws have clotheslines. My renegade little mom went ahead and strung herself a retractable line across the back deck, and now her scivvies dry happily, waving in the breeze as is only proper. If you live under one of these ridiculous bans, we hope you’ll become a laundry outlaw too. If the Clothesline Police arrest you, we’ll hold a bake sale, raise funds, and bail you out. Promise.
For the rest of us, one of the best things we can do in support of the Laundry Outlaws is to hang clothes out ourselves, cheer for one another’s efforts, and make line drying so NORMAL that the bans will seem as ludicrous as they are. Are your neighbors shocked by the glaring presence of your oversized underthings? Be nice about it. Right though you may be, see if you can hang your necessaries a little out of their line of sight. As Benjamin Franklin put it (he was talking about laundry, wasn’t he?): “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we will all hang separately.”
This is the first in a short series on laundry. Next: simple outdoor lines (suitable for those, like me, with an irrational fear of power tools).