laundry, the old-fashioned way

laundry, the old-fashioned way

Written By

Erin Boyle

I grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books. But more than only read them, I was bound and determined to actually embody Laura Ingalls Wilder. A look through my family photo boxes reveals more photographs of me dressed up as some kind of colonial-girl-meets-prairie-girl hybrid than it does photographs of me with the side ponies and fluorescent jumpsuits that you might expect. I was a child of the 90s living in the wrong century.

In the elaborate games that my sisters and I would dream up, we were always miming what we determined to be old-fashioned tasks. We’d rip up piles of grass and pretend that we were shelling peas. We’d dash up and down the driveway on our bicycles, calling them names like Smokey and swatting at their imaginary hindquarters. And in what must have been especially entertaining for neighbors, we’d usurp our family’s laundry baskets and mime hanging dish towels and cloth napkins from an imaginary clothesline in our backyard (my mom hung our actual laundry from a wooden drying rack on the porch, but why use the real thing when you can pretend?).

Jokes aside, my sisters and I were onto something. Even if it seems a little old-fashioned, hanging laundry outside to dry is something that should probably never have gone out of style. This week is International Clothesline Week, a special effort devoted to encouraging folks to hang their clothes to dry instead of using electricity to run dryers. Dryers are enormous guzzlers of energy and in the warm weather months, they’re definitely more trouble than they’re worth. Hanging clothes to dry on a line means fresh-smelling clothes without all of the noisy, heat-generating bother of an electric dryer.

If you don’t have a spot to hang a clothesline outside, consider using a wooden clothes rack instead. And I have a hunch: if you commit to joining the effort this week, chances are you’ll be drying your clothes outside all summer long. The planet thanks you in advance.