Monday, February 24, 2014

Solar Monday. No iron Tuesday.

Back before "the pill" and the liberation of women, housekeeping was often done to a set rhythm.

Monday - laundry
Tuesday - ironing
Wednesday - sewing/mending
Thursday - marketing/churning
Friday - cleaning
Saturday - baking
Sunday - rest
This schedule was so common place that dishtowels were embroidered with the chores and corresponding day of the week, children learned the days of the week from nursery rhymes from the agenda, and the routine was passed from mother to daughter.  Then things got all shook up....

At one time laundry was the heaviest task of the week and was done when womenfolk were well rested from their Sunday "off".  And for centuries after the clothes were washed (be it by rock, wash board and tub, using a "Home Comfort Hand Washing Machine", or an electric washing machine), the wet laundry was hung in the open air to dry.
Home Comfort Washing Machine
at the Sauer Bechmann Living History Farm
Johnson City, Texas

Hand turned drum washer

Clothes dryers evolved from the late 18th century, with the first electric dryer being sold in 1938. However, the high cost of these new electric clothes dryers prohibited most people from owning one. In 1955 only 10% of households had a clothes dryer.  

After I was married, the money I earned (having gone back to work at a temporary position), was used to buy our first clothes dryer.  I was washing and line drying the cloth diapers of our first child at the time and it was the appliance I most wanted. Then after 43 years, the pendulum swung back in time for me.  There is more to think about than the financial cost these days.  There is the carbon footprint issue and the life style choices. 

 A year and a half ago I made the decision to get rid of our clothes dryer.  It wasn't broken, but my desire to use it had eroded into complete collapse. (Laying it on thick here! But really, I was finished with it.)

For many, many years I have line dried our sheets simply because I love the fresh, clean scent.  But I gradually began line drying other wet laundry.  I found that in the summer, I could line dry as quickly as I could dryer-dry clothes. Before I knew it, I had been exclusively line drying clothes for four seasons.  And I felt good about doing it.

I felt I was being true to my ecological leanings.
I liked the way the clothes smelled and looked. (Cleaner!)
I found that smoothing the wet clothes, when I put them on the line, resulted in an ironed-like look when they were dry.
I used less bleach, as the sun is a natural whitener.
I loved being outdoors.
I liked listening to bird song, instead of dryer din.
And I started looking intently at the space that dryer was occupying in our small house.

The decision to go dryer-less became easier and easier.
The only concern was "What if it rains for a week?"
Living in Southern California, that was unlikely! Plus I am only doing laundry for 2 adults now, so I thought I could get creative or go to the laundromat, if absolutely necessary. 
So away went the Hotpoint, and I have not regretted it once. Nor have I had to go to the laundromat.

Did you know that 19 U.S. states have laws protecting your right to dry clothes by hanging them outside on clotheslines?  If you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia or Wisconsin a homeowner's association cannot prohibit the use of a clothesline.  

Exercise your rights!  Get some fresh air!  Save some greenhouse gases!  And feel great about doing it!
Line dry your sheets and fall asleep in good-smell-bliss.
Who knows? Someday you too may decide life is better without a clothes dryer. 

Coming up later in the week: My Champion Bag Co. clothes pin holder.  

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol


  1. Omygosh, that's funny. I mean, it's not funny...I am so much more appreciate of my washing machine, but gosh, Thank goodness a single chore doesn't dominate the whole day anymore!

    1. I know. All that work, with no time to blog, craft or play would be wretched! That's my sister in the photo with the drum washer. She has greater appreciation for her washing machine after checking out those old ones. Me, too. I gave up my dryer, but would never part with my Speed Queen.