Clothesline tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 05-29-2006, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have finally installed a good long clothesline in a nice sunny spot. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips for me, as I've never used one before, really (well, I dry diaper covers over a fence in our carport but that's it). Is there any way to avoid the "crunchy" feeling? Are there some fabrics I should not line-dry? Should I be worried about damaging the clothes if I leave them on the line too long? (We live in FL, so the sun here is QUITE intense.) What do you do when it pours rain on your line? Any space-saving tips for hanging lots of stuff?


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#2 of 44 Old 05-29-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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Using less detergent and adding fabric softener can help with the crunchies, as can a quick 5 minute trip in the dryer at the end.

Some delicate stretchy things shouldn't be line dried because they will stretch and get a funny shape from the pins. They should just lie flat.

If it pours rain, bring the clothes in (preferably before it starts to pour.)

In the sun the clothes will dry in a couple hours, maybe less depending on the fabric. Check every 1/2 hour or so until you know how long it takes, then bring them in. I think sitting too long in the sun will cause fading. And leaving out overnight sometimes causes them to get wet again if it's a dewy morning.

Don't put the clothes too close together and make sure they are flat, not bunched. You can clip the ends of 2 things together with one pin (so that 2 towels are held up by 3 pins instead of 4) to conserve pins.

Pin shirts from the bottom and let them hang, not the shoulders or you get funky pin marks.
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#3 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 12:28 AM
 
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To make them soft I add vinegar to the rinse cycle as fabric softner (no they don't smell like vinegar)

I give them a good shake (more like a snap) before I pin them up.

I also have my clothes line in the shade so that they don't dry to fast, it keeps them much softer. Pinning up two things together can also help with this problem.

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#4 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 01:49 AM
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things like sheets, dont pin out straight, just pin at the end, the middle and the other end and bunch them together somewhat.. saves space and they dry fine

Pin heavy towels in the middle too or you will end up with a half moon when they are dry, makes it hard to fold

Make sure you use those metal thingys with wheels that keep the lines together.. in the hot sun (unless you have your line strung with clamped ends) it will sag.
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#5 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 02:06 AM
 
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Definitely use some fabric softener; I like the one Ecover makes for the scent and its economy; it takes very little to make a whole load softer.

Snapping or shaking the laundry out is definitely important, as is catching a breeze, if you know when to expect one. Some areas always get some midmorning or late afternoon breezes; if you can time your laundry that way, great -- the wind blows the wrinkles out and softens the "crunch." For towels, though, I pop them in the dryer on the lowest setting for 5 mins, and that makes all the difference.

As far as wrinkles or creases go, there is an art to pinning, and everyone finds their own way. I detest folding a corner of fabric over the line and pinning the fold; that always leave ugly stretchy areas. Insetad, I hold the fabric against the line, the edge to the line, and then pin that -- i.e. fabric on one side, line on the other. (Hope that makes sense!)

Finally, if you're stuck for space because of sheets or pants, try using both lines for each item. For example, pin one open pant leg to the front line, and the other to the second line so that the pants look like they're hanging in a walking position, one leg in front of the other. This way, you can usually fit more, if you hang them closely. Walking in a crowd!
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#6 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 02:45 AM
 
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I try to hang darker things more in the shade because intense sun has a bleaching effect. Intense sun is great for bleaching diapers though.
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#7 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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More tips:
  • You want to try to pin to catch a breeze--so try to orient the clothes so that the wind would fill them up (like a windsock).
  • To avoid fading, I turn items inside out (although obviously this won't work with all the items).
  • I got a mesh laundry bag for my clothespins. I put an old shower hook on it and slide it along the line with me as I hang clothes. Ditto when I'm taking them off.

Cheryl Mendolsohn's book Home Comforts has an informative, if slightly anal section on line drying, with some handy pictures. If you don't have it, try the "Search Inside" function on Amazon--I searched for "clothesline" and came up with the right section on page 333.
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#8 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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I have a diaper stacker (the ones made for disposable diapers) that I sewed up the front halfway and use that for my pins like a PP said.

To avoid crunchies...use less soap, fabric softener or vinegar can help (but I don't even bother with that...crunchy towels dry you off better ) and shake/snap things out as you hang them and take them down.
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#9 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the tips!! MDC is so awesome. I knew people would know!

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#10 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 02:27 PM
 
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I hang many of my clothes inside out so that the sun does not fade them and they look new longer, i wash them that way to uness they are REALLY dirty.
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#11 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 03:32 PM
 
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Just subbing to the thread.

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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#12 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 03:51 PM
 
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I started hanging things on hangers and sticking outside to conserve space and then just stick them right in the closet.

vinagar at the wash part and then a bit of baking soda during the rinse helps get crunckies out.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#13 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 05:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Amys1st
vinagar at the wash part and then a bit of baking soda during the rinse helps get crunckies out.
Really? I always figured it would be the other way around.

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#14 of 44 Old 05-30-2006, 08:45 PM
 
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it could work either way but I do it this way and it works. I forget where I read it...

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#15 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 02:37 PM
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I've gotten some great tips from this thread!

My question is, how exactly do you install a clothesline in your yard? I'd really like to get one up since summer is quickly approaching, but I'm kinda stuck at step 1. I'm sure I can get great advise off MDC, always do!
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#16 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyKat
My question is, how exactly do you install a clothesline in your yard?
We got a folding clothesline from OSH (a Home Depot like store). We dug a hole in the ground, stuck it in, poured concrete. It looks great and we can fold it up afterwards so we don't "clothesline" ourselves when running through the yard!

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#17 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 04:13 PM
 
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You can buy clothesline frames that look like a big T. The vertical part of the T gets dug and cemented into the ground, and then line is strung (2-3 rows) between the crossbars.

Or, here's what we did. (Hopefully this will make sense!) One side of our house is about six feet away from a fence. My dh installed two wooden 4x4beams -- like the crossbars of a T -- with one end bolted to the side of the house, and the other end bolted to the fence. Then, he used rope cleats/anchors and screwed those onto the wooden crossbars, and we strung rope between them. The cleats are nice because they make it easy to tighten the rope from time to time. The nice thing about having it between the house and the fence, too, is that it's barely visible from the yard, and our neighbors can't see it at all, so no one minds!

For other ideas, check out a site like clotheslineshop.com.
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#18 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 08:25 PM
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Well thanks for the advise ladies. But bad news. My landlord called today and I mentioned putting up a clothesline to save from using the dryer and.....she said we can't put one up. She's super particular about things, and said no. She said we can get one of those wooden foldy rack things. That's not going to help me much. I'm actually very bummed. Do you think there are other options? She said I absolutely can NOT dig a hole into the ground. And then she mentioned gardening. If I want to plant a garden, I have to do it in pots. pffff
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#19 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 09:26 PM
 
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You can buy retractable clotheslines - do you have means to put one of those up? They don't stick in the ground.
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#20 of 44 Old 06-05-2006, 09:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyKat
Well thanks for the advise ladies. But bad news. My landlord called today and I mentioned putting up a clothesline to save from using the dryer and.....she said we can't put one up. She's super particular about things, and said no. She said we can get one of those wooden foldy rack things. That's not going to help me much. I'm actually very bummed. Do you think there are other options? She said I absolutely can NOT dig a hole into the ground. And then she mentioned gardening. If I want to plant a garden, I have to do it in pots. pffff
I used several of those wooden foldy rack thingies for a long time. In fact, I have about 3 of the coated metal foldy rack thingies with wheels. They're very handy!

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#21 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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When my son was using cloth diapers (I had a dryer then), I would put them in the dryer cause they would look like shingles to me.

I have a clothesline outside and also a wooden clothes rack in my hallway. I have also used my shower rod to hang stuff up. After everyone is taking a shower and you've washed clothes, put some of your clothes on hangers and hang them on the shower rod. I would get hangers and hang up socks and underwear with clothespins on the hangers. I still do that.

I think you can get those wooden clothes racks at Wal-Mart for less than $20.00. It's cheaper than using a dryer all the time.

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#22 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 11:26 AM
 
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well, this is OFFICIALLY my first post here! I thought /i would respond to the lady asking about clothes racks for drying. We have a huge one I use every day that I got when my mother passed away. It is.....OLD,lol.Our two older kids have moved home for the summer. They work hard, and take care of their clothing to make it last,lol. The oldest got into the habit of using a rack her first yr in college. The dryers at her dorm FRIED everything .

I just asked her, and she says that it usually takes less than a day for most things to dry, depending on the humidity in the house. This is of course, for tshirts,polos, cotton blouses.

Jeans take a longer time,lol. I have seen one of the bigger racks for sale in an "old time" type of catalog. Will see if I can find it again. Good luck.

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#23 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 12:20 PM
 
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When I lived in an apartment, we had a retractable clothesline on the balcony -- the balcony had a 6-foot fence around it, so no one could see it and be offended -- and, believe it or not, in the bedroom! We put it up as high up as we could and against the wall, and I hung clothes up at night. They were often dry by the next morning, but I did dry selectively -- mostly just whites and deliactes to protect them from the dryer's yellowing effect.
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#24 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 02:27 PM
 
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I hang out all of my clothes. It is better for your clothes anyway.

I hang all the shirts from the bottom. I never hang shirts from the sholders.

I fold pants and shorts in a pleat, then hang them upside down. Later, I will open them to dry in the middle. That way, they look neat.

I prefer to hang them on a breezy day, the clothes dry softer with less wrinkles.

I don't dry towels or my husbands blue jeans on the line, becuse he hates them.
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#25 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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I hang everything and I love the crunchies... I know, I know...it's wierd. That crunchy towels rubbing my skin... It just feels simple; 'ya know?

good witch
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#26 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial
I fold pants and shorts in a pleat, then hang them upside down. Later, I will open them to dry in the middle. That way, they look neat.
i do that too it saves a lot of space....i also fold our shirts lengthwise then hang them on the line....it may take a little longer to dry that way but I can get a lot more on the line that way, and i'm in no rush to dry things...if i was i'd use the dryer
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#27 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 06:23 PM
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Well thanks for all the good ideas. I might make a line in my basement or something, but I will pick up a drying rack in the next couple of days..
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#28 of 44 Old 06-06-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by simplespirit
I hang everything and I love the crunchies... I know, I know...it's wierd. That crunchy towels rubbing my skin... It just feels simple; 'ya know?
*I* would hang the towels too, but the hubby would whine about it. Nothing worse than a whiney husband. I swear, he would sulk for the whole evening.
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#29 of 44 Old 06-07-2006, 01:34 PM
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I hang clothes inside-out. That way they don't get as faded from the sun, and the clothespin marks aren't as obvious.

Use less detergent if you can--too much detergent contributes to the "crunchy" feeling.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#30 of 44 Old 06-19-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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