The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind... the answer is blowin' in the wind - Bob Dylan
I love my retractable clothesline. I know it's probably horribly tacky, especially in our community, to hang laundry outside but it's something I've always done. When we were growing up my mom always hung the laundry out, even on the coldest winter days. As long as the sun was out she'd hang the wet clothes on the line and then in the afternoon bring in the frozen things, which were miraculously dry once they thawed out. As kids my brother and I thought it was magic!
When Joe and I first got married we had an apartment in a 3-family home; we were on the second floor and had a small porch/fire escape out back. I strung an elaborate clothesline and would lug the laundry up from the basement and hang it out. One day our landlord stopped by and commented that it looked like some kind of refugee camp with our clothes hanging all over the place. I was surprised- didn't everyone do their laundry this way? It wasn't like I had it hanging all over the front of the house after all. I really hadn't thought about how it looked to other people before.
Now that we have a home of our own I don't have to worry what anyone else thinks. We have 2 retractable lines that I can pull out and hang things on, and when they're not in use nobody is the wiser that they are there. There are so many benefits to hanging clothes outside: first and foremost letting the sun and wind do the drying and not using electricity or gas to do the job. Clothes last longer because they aren't exposed to the high heat and tumbling of the dryer. They smell amazing; I can't think of anything that smells better than sheets and towels that have been line-dried in the spring. It's a good way to get some fresh air and a little exercise. As the weather gets warmer I can check on what is emerging in the garden as I'm hanging things out.
Hopefully with the price of energy going up and the increased awareness people have for all things environmental the practice of hanging laundry out will become more popular over the next few years. There really isn't a downside to this method. If I'm not feeling well, or we're in a long stretch of wet weather, it's easy enough to toss the wet clothes into the drier. A backup is a good thing, but given my choice, I'll always hang the clothes outside.
Thanks for instilling this in me, Mom. And thanks for the song lyrics, Joe. I know Dylan wasn't referring to laundry but the words were too good to pass up.