How to hang the wash

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Watch the weather. Squeeze light loads in on sunny mornings knowing, then go do a few chores or errands that you know will be done in time to take down the wash before an afternoon rain. Breezy days are the best days to hang towels to prevent them from becoming stiff. Most of us have learned the hard way to hang smaller loads on windy days to prevent stretching the line, tangled clothing, or the dreaded line break from sheets turned into sails.

Hanging your laundry as the sun rises may sound nutty, but it’s a spectacular way to start the day. At any hour, it’s the best excuse there is to step outside a chaotic household for some peace and quiet, or get away from your mother-in-law.

Common clotheslines include pulley lines, stationary ‘T’ posts with multiple coated wire lines that run from post to post, a rotary umbrella type, or a rope simply tied between two trees. My extra-large line runs 65 feet from an elevated deck to a solid metal pole 30 feet high.

You can even hang your clothes inside, on retractable indoor lines or standing wooden racks positioned in a sunny area. After an hour in a hot dryer my husband’s canvas lined work clothes are still disappointedly damp. When hung they often dry out completely overnight.

Extra-large three-inch clothespins with heavy duty springs can be a challenge to find, not to mention pricey, but they’re worth it. The weak puny pins around today just refuse to hold tight. At approximately $1.50 a piece, you have to look at them as an investment. (Calculate one pin per every foot of line, so a 20-foot line requires 20 clothespins.) If you bring them inside between uses, linseed oiled pins can last up to 15 years.

Likewise, the rope commonly sold today feels like thread in your hand, stretches out immediately and jumps the pulley easily. Cotton sash cord makes the best clothesline. It feels substantial in your hand and will last for years. Wrap tape around the end of the rope, creating a point for easier threading into the line tightener. If you need more than 100 feet of line, you will probably have to special order it. I was very pleased with my purchase of a 150-foot hank of ¼ inch diamond braid cotton sash cord from

Farm supply and hardware stores keep a variety of line drying supplies in stock. If you choose to shop online, buyer beware. Take the time to read the customer reviews to avoid wasting your money. I was disappointed to find most clothespins sites claiming to have heavy duty pins did not. For heavy duty, made in the USA clothespins I recommend or

Lisa Kisch

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