Old-style living

line

I WAS HANGING these socks, jeans and towels on the clothesline today when it occurred to me that people north of the Rio Bravo likely don’t do this anymore. You’re all modern and such. Got your gadgets.

When we built the house, we had a gas connection installed there in what Mexicans call the “service patio” in case we ever bought a gas dryer, but we’ve never bought a dryer, 15 years now. We line-dry.

It’s no big deal, and it’s free.

We do have a washer. Same one we purchased 15 years ago.

Sharp eyes may notice two propane tanks. The big one was installed when we built the house, but about two years ago it developed issues, so we bought a new one, the smaller. Next January, we’ll have the big one hauled away.

It’s 99 percent empty.

The manufacturers recommend a shelf date for those things, about a decade. That surprised me. I thought they were good indefinitely, and they likely are used indefinitely by most people if there are no problems.

But we had problems.

When I was a kid in Florida, I recall my mother hanging clothes on a line in the backyard. We had no dryer. I don’t recall a washer either. She must have done them by hand. It was nice seeing white sheets blowing in the wind.

Like in the movies.

31 thoughts on “Old-style living

  1. Up here north of the Trump madness, I install one of those wind-driven clothes dryers whenever I buy a house. On the wet coast, specifically Vancouver Island, it sees use for approximately six months of the year and intermittent days the other six. It is a nostalgic sight for sure.

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  2. Neither my mother nor my grandmother hung laundry outside. Both were addicted to their dryers, and that which couldn’t be dried in the machine were hung inside. I have a clothes dryer, but I use it on an almost ceremonial basis, just once a year in case of emergency. There’s no clothesline for me, because I use Italian-style drying racks. Inside the laundry room. goo.gl/eqjE2U

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    1. Ms. Shoes: I am sure your mother and grandmother were too highbrow to hang clothes on a line, so that’s no surprise. But I come from more simple stock. I looked at the thing on your link. That’s fine if you have hardly anything to dry. Doesn’t look practical for a whale of a lot of stuff, however.

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  3. In Sedona, our CCR’s require a drying yard, so the clothes can’t be seen while drying. I’m still trying to figure out what is so obscene about drying clothes.

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    1. Phil: By CCR, I’m assuming that refers to one of those ham-fisted community organizations. So glad I was never involved with one even when I lived above the border. Of course, they don’t want to see clothes on the line because it’s considered low-brow these days. Nobody wants to look low-brow or have low-brow neighbors as if you live in a trailer park. I guess our line would be okay in your neighborhood because it’s not visible from the street at all.

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    2. Phil – Back in the day when my mother hung our clothes, you had to hang your undergarments on the inside two lines because it was unseemly for anybody passing by to see them.

      Felipe – Them clotheslines are not tight enough. You should be able to hang a full load of jeans without the line sagging. And God help you if you reached up and grabbed hold of one and swung on it.

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      1. Judy: Aw, sure, they’re tight enough because nothing’s even close to touching the ground. As for my trying to swing on it, well, I’m a few decades beyond that. And if any of our growing passel of great-nieces and great-nephews tried it, I’d skin their hides.

        So … no problem!

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  4. We have a tank the size of your smaller one. It gave us fits about five years old. Replaced the regulator and no problem for the last five years. To fill up our gas tank they have to put the line through the front compound door and come inside yard about 30 yards. Do you have a nearby access?

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    1. Patzman: The old tank worked fine till a couple of years ago when the gauge that shows the amount of propane inside ceased to work. It’s a problem to replace that gauge for some reason or another, plus the tank must be completely empty. When we also learned it was past its “shelf life,” I just bought another. Our service patio abuts the back street. For years, the guys just tossed the hose over the back wall, but a couple of years ago we installed one of those gizmos that lets you fill it from the street. The reason I’ll have the old one removed is that it’s difficult to completely empty it, and the water heater with its pilot light isn’t far away. Just don’t want to risk anything

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  5. The thing I remember about clothes dried outside was that they smelled like sunshine, not some scented dryer sheet.

    I live so far off the road that any modesty issues do not come into play. When we moved out here, I mentioned that we needed to put up a clothesline. The Redhead was not amused. She is too spoiled for such “nonsense.”

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    1. Ray: That’s funny. So I assume you have an electric dryer. However, it’s good that the Redhead keeps you from living like a redneck. You should appreciate that. She’s making you a better-style man. Some women do just the opposite.

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  6. Interesting comments and opinions regarding the drying of clothing. I don’t have an outside line but have attempted putting one up several times. Had to get poles so it didn’t sag and then the whole damn thing collapsed. Dryer works great even in the rain. I don’t use dryer sheets just wadded up aluminum foil. That takes the static right out. I am spoiled as I do laundry at weird times and I like it that way. I like your setup though as it is covered.

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    1. Peggy: Wadded aluminum foil? I have never heard of that in my life. You’re a learning experience. Our clothesline needs no poles because it’s run from one wall to another. And yep, our line is covered. The first few years it wasn’t and, as one might expect, was a big problem during the rainy season. Then I installed what we call a domo here (What would that be called above the border? The translation is dome, of course, but that’s not what it would be called, usually.) It was relatively small. A year ago, I had it replaced with a bigger one.

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  7. Growing up surrounded by cornfields we always had and regularly used a clothesline to dry our clothes. Only time the dryer got used was when the snow was flying.

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    1. Mound: Thankfully, I have never lived in snow, and never want to live in snow, and never will live in snow. It really hails here sometime, however.

      Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to buy a dryer, but then I think of the ongoing added expense of LP and electricity, and I dismiss the thought. Just let things be.

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  8. Felipe, it seems that Mexico is modern enough to have graduated to plastic, spring-enabled clothes clips. When I was a youngster, my mother used the more humble wooden clothespins.

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    1. Joe: Funny that the pins caught your attention. Actually, many styles and price ranges of clothespins are available here. But I remember those wooden ones too. I liked that. I wish I had some now. Thanks for the feedback.

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  9. You touched on a sore topic in this household. There is no natural place for a clothesline in the house. That did not matter to me. I send my clothes to the laundry. But my son likes using the washing machine and then hangs his clothes from the upper terrace’s railings. The place looks like an Italian brothel.

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  10. I prefer clothesline drying, clothes last longer, don’t shrink, and smell good. Here, some days in the spring when it’s dry and breezy even towels and jeans will dry before the next load is out of the washer.

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    1. Creigh: So clotheslines have not vanished above the border as I suspected they might. Yes, clothes would last longer, I’m sure. Perhaps related, perhaps not, my wife always turns clothes inside out before washing and then hanging them that way, and then ironing them that way. I think that is a tradition left over from the days when colors were more iffy, and that it’s not necessary anymore. I’ve been trying to talk her out of doing that because it’s a bit more work. But she persists.

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      1. It may be a Mexican thing because my ex, “F,” used to do the exact same thing. It does tend to slow the fading of jeans; otherwise seems like a waste of time.

        Saludos,

        Kim G
        Redding, CA
        Where the conditions are ideal for line-drying, except for the mentality of the residents, of course.

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  11. Back in the last century, just after we emigrated, I remember my mother using an old Kenmore with a mangler on the back porch to do the laundry. Sheets hung out in the winter went stiff in the cold and were dry when they flapped in the breeze. I remember the smell of clothes drying outside — something that no dryer sheets can replicate today.

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    1. Lordy, Dan, you lived in more primitive conditions than I did. Or maybe it seems so because I was raised in the Deep South. I don’t recall clothes freezing outdoors, but maybe I just don’t remember. It happens.

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