Clothesline tips?

postumFebruary 12, 2007

Hi - I've just done a little remodeling that will enable me to easily get from my laundry room to the backyard. I've put in a big umbrella type clothesline. I'm embarrassed to say that I've rarely hung clothes out, so I'm a bit lost!

When I hang out dd's little things they end up with creases from the clothespins. Any tips on the proper way to pin various articles up?

Do you use a clothespin bag? Any particular kind?

If clothes get caught in the rain, do you have to wash them again?

As you see, I am just clueless.

Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated!

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I grew up in an era when hanging clothes on the clothsline was the ONLY way we dried clothes, and I swore that's the reason Mom had two daughters. ;-) As soon as we could reach the line, the job was ours. I KNOW that's why my MIL had 4 daughters, THEN 4 sons... (just kidding).

I use an inexpensive bag that has a wire that sits and glides on the line (you can find them at Wal-Mart). With the unbrella clothes line, I find I don't move it much, unlike when you have long lines. I take it out each time I hang laundry, and leave it in the garage when not in use. Keeps them dry, should it rain. I have also used an apron that is as old-as-the-hills that was designed for clothes pins - large, deep pockets - I embroidered it for my MIL and got it back when she died. My mother made a "pin bin" from a gallon bleach bottle (a hole in the upper side - opposite the handle - big enough to get your hand in, and a slit on the bottom of the handle that slipped over the clothes line, poked a few holes in the bottom to let rain drain out, and she left the pin bin on the line. My MIL never took pins/pegs (she used both) off because she had 8 kids and there was always clothes on her line. So different strokes for different folks.

I also use the umbrella clothes line and I do things my way, instead of how I was "taught" - because it works well for me, and I much more picky about my clothes than my mother was. There is clothes-hanging "etiquette", but I adapted our clothes to the space on the umbrella clothesline.

1. Since I have a washing machine that spins at 1000 rpm, the clothes are very dry, but also very wrinkled and compact when they come out of the washer. I handle this problem a couple different ways because really wrinkled clothes often remain wrinkled when dried. (I don't like to snap - sharply shake - my clothes before I hang them on the line to remove wrinkles because it tends to break threads in them.) Set the spin cycle lower to begin with, or toss the clothes in the dryer for only a couple minutes to fluff the wrinkles out of them. You can also take your dry (or nearly dry) clothes and fluff them in the dryer for a couple minutes to "soften" them up, if you don't like them the inevitable "stiff" feel.

2. I take the wet clothes out of the dryer or washer and place like kinds together (flat) and stack them into the laundry basket. Unlike my mother's way - where you dump the heap into the basket and fight it out at the clothesline. I stack all the washclothes/handtowels (flat), so that I can easily have all them drying on the same line - half-fold the slacks/pants to fit into the basket - pj tops and bottoms together, kitchen towels together, as well as dish rags together, socks together, my underware, hubbie's underware, etc. This also helps prevent unnecessary wrinkles from sitting while the wet clothes are in the basket. This may seem like a lot of extra work (or anal retentive), but it helps when you take them down - see #6 - and hanging them goes very quickly when they are flat and organized.

3. Something I do that's a bit different is to hang shirts/tops on wooden hangers (not wire hangers - good quality wooden hangers give more structure). If you need to give a garmet more structure at the shoulder than that, I've found using old shoulder pads under some garmets helps keep them from getting "bunny ears" on the shoulders from the hangers. The clothes on hangers are hung IN the loops of clothesline cord that come out the side (on the aluminum pole). One item per loop. This keeps the clothes hanging apart nicely, the wind doesn't blow them off the line, and you transport them directly to the closet when dry. I even put my clothes on one side of the clothes line, and my husbands on the other.

If clothes are a bit on the wrinkly side when dry, I spritz them with Wrinkle Release, and smooth with my hand (I actually use Wrinkle Releaser from the Dollar General store - lower price, larger bottle, and works as well.) You'll have less wrinkles when there is a bit of a breeze to dry them. The cooler the outside temperature, the longer it will take to dry clothes...

4. I was taught to hang pants by the waist, but I hang them from their cuffs (seams together, like you'd hang them over a hanger bar) - one cuff on one line (using 2 clothes pins), and the other cuff a line or two from there (also using 2 clothes pins) so that the breeze goes through the crotch of the pants. The weight from the top of the pants, on the bottom, gives them a nice "no iron" crease.

5. Placement on the line: the underware in the center - for modesty's sake. Don't like everyone to see my "GIANT Underpants" (as Pee Wee Herman used to call them) - even though I have a 6" privacy fence. So based on what goes inside, that's the first load I wash and hang out.

Here's my sequence, but you'll figure out what you like to do. I hang from the inside to the outside.

-light colors
-dark colors
-kitchen towels/dishrags
(I dry our bath towels and sheets in the dryer - hubby likes them that way.)

In the summer I often wash the laundry in the evening - place in the laundry basket/s and pre-hang all the clothes that goes on hangers, and hang them out first thing the next morning. When I do this, I reverse the order so that the last thing into the basket is the first thing to get hung out (the whites are done last, in that case).

6. Taking clothes down. When I was a kid doing our laundry for 6, we tossed all dry clothes in the basket and took them to the house to fold - sooner or later - that was usually someone elses job. This resulted in a wrinkled mess, but I got paid 10 cents a piece to iron things back then, so I didn't care. Don't like to iron, so I generally fold things as I take them off the line and place them in a basket/s.

This is where hanging like items together pays off. Because a good portion of the clothes are already on hangers, they are easy to take down and transport directly to closets. Then I remove clothes from the outside of the line to the inside and fill the laundry basket with nicely folded clothes which are ready to put away. Easy to stack each type or persons clothes together.

My husband has made me a lovely bench that holds the basket so that I don't have to bend down, and the bench is a nice place to sit to fold clothes. I even sit up an umbrella in a stand and fold clothes in the shade, when the weather is really hot.

I love to do laundry, so I really enjoy all the whole process. -Grainlady

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 8:57PM
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Wow Grainlady, you are a pro!! I can see why you put your underwear in the center. That 6-inch privacy fence wouldn't really do much! Just kidding you a little!

It is nice to hang the clothes out and saves a lot of energy, especially on the heavier things like towels and jeans. But sometimes they do dry a little stiff.

One other thing, if your line is out all the time, take a wet rag or paper towel and run it along to clean it before hanging clothes.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 9:49PM
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(LOL) socks12345 - Thanks for correcting the mistake. It's a 6-FOOT privacy fence. (hehehehe) - Grainlady

Here's clothesline etiquette from "Searchlight Homemaking Guide" 1937.

...Articles to be dried should be grouped according to kind and shape. Each article should be hung by the firmest portions.

Women's and children's dresses should be hung by the shoulder seams or hems; pillowcases should be hung by the seams. They should not be hung by the hems.

Sheets, and tablecloths, should be folded with the hems placed together. They then should be hung with the narrow length extending over the clothesline about 18-inches. This method throws the weight of the article in the fold and the hem. It prevents the corners and the hems of the sheets and tablecloths from being torn by the wind.

Towels of all kinds should be hung with 1/3 of their length hanging across the clothesline.

Several handkerchiefs or napkins may be grouped together hem to hem and pinned straight on the clothesline. Handkerchiefs and napkins never should be hung by one corner.

Shirts should be hung by the shoulder seams or by the tail folded over the line.

Skirts and trousers should be hung by the waist bands.

Women's men's, and childrens wash suits should be hung on a non-rustable hanger which should be anchored securely to the clothesline with clothespins.

Shorts and panties should be hung by the waist bands. Undershirts should be hung by the shoulder seams.

Hose and socks should be pinned to the clothesline at the heel.

After clothes have dried thoroughly, they should be removed from the clothesline or drying rack and folded smoothly.
The more carefully the dried clothes are folded, the easier will be the ironing process.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:36AM
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I like to hang my blouses on plastic tubular hangers,then hook the hangers on the clothesline. They dry nicer,don't need much (if any) ironing, and they go straight into the closet on the hanger.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 10:34AM
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Wow. I've leared a few things here in this thread. Thanks for sharing.

The only thing I may mention is getting one of those belted purses, AKA "fanny packs", and wearing it with the clothes pins in front of you. Much easier than wearing a huge apron for your clothes pins and easier to store without the clothes pins dropping out - it's zippered. I never liked hanging a cloths pin bag on the line as it was never in the spot I needed it, when I wanted to hang an item.

I use those hollow plastic hangers, but I know that they do still sell those big puffy inflatable hangers for shirts and blouses. They never leave a crease and they keep the garment "open" so air can circulate better. They can deflate for storage but I used to leave them inflated all the time.

I remember my mother used to use "pants hangers" on my dad's dress slacks. They were these huge, metal, rectangular things that slipped into pants legs, to stretch them into a crease and make ironing easier later. They were adjustable and clunky. They sound like a lot of work to use but they didn't have permanent press or knit slacks back then, and they probably saved hours of ironing and pressing. Memories.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:53PM
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Thanks you so much for your collected wisdom! This is exactly what I needed to know. Now I've got to print it out and hang it in my laundry room so I won't forget! I never thought of using hangers (duh!) and I think the fanny pack for pins willl work great for me.

Thanks so much (esp. to grainlady, the clothesline queen!)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 2:56PM
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