italian-underpantsI took this photo in Italy last fall. Yes, I had to sneak between fence posts and yes, I had to use my zoom lens. But how could I not take this photographic opportunity to observe culture at its most basic form?

Now we’re back home in America, where we love rules. And where there isn’t a rule we quickly make up a rule. Mostly people then ignore/break/bend said rule, but we can refer to the rule at any time it’s convenient, such as when a neighbor is doing something we find offensive. You can’t do that; we have a rule!

And specifically, our family lives in a  little neighborhood which is loosely governed by a Home Owners Association, which means we have a giant book of rules to ignore until a neighbor is being annoying and then we pull that giant book out of the file cabinet and prove our point. Look right here–here’s the rule!

I’m actually quite afraid of the rule book, because I don’t want to know what rules I’m breaking on a daily basis. I know our garbage can could fall under a technical default because we don’t hide it in the garage like we’re supposed to, but who wants a garage that smells like garbage? Yuck.

Lately I’ve been missing my old clothesline we had at the old house (until the supports tilted so far inward that the clothesline dipped deeply in the center, causing concern that a running child might be garroted by a plastic coated wire) for many years. I like the slow pace of hanging the clothes and the smaller electric bill. But I faced two problems:

1. I’m pretty sure the HOA rule book has a no clotheslines because they’re unsightly clause. Again, I assume. I’m afraid to check.
2. Ticks. The property behind our house is tick heaven, and I really don’t want to bring all the clothes in and then live in fear I’ve just made it very convenient for a tick to suck my blood. Here, Mr. Tick. Would you like to snuggle in this t-shirt, then attach to my armpit whenever you’re hungry? Super.

garage-clotheslineSo for a year and a half I’ve made peace with my clothes dryer, until just this weekend I’d had enough. I rearranged the garage and voila! A hidden clothesline.

Now, we do have a few problems:

1. No sun actually shines in the garage, and the wind only blows in from certain angles. This means that on a day with 90% humidity like yesterday, nothing actually dries. Bummer. But on most days the garage heats up like the sun and there are convenient vents at the top. It’s like a giant dryer without the tumble feature!
2. The cat’s litter box. Clean laundry isn’t supposed to smell like cat, probably. But I just kept rearranging the garage until the box was far away, next to the big door. Problem solved!
3. I don’t want the neighbors to think we’re hillbillies. I mean, we are hillbillies, but we’re pretending to be reformed hillbillies. I was afraid they’d see our clothesline and worry about their home values plummeting. But good news–it turns out Gertie the Minivan is big enough that she blocks almost every view of the hanging clothes! That van just keeps on giving, I tell you.

Now we have a lovely retractable clothesline for the warm months. I’m going to move it inside for the winter months, when the garage is cold and damp but the furnace room is warm and perfect.

What about you? Any clothesline lovers out there?

13 Comments on How to Hide Your Clothesline Under a Bushel

  1. Gail
    September 6, 2014 at 9:34 am (3 years ago)

    Wow – I can’t imagine outdoor clothes lines being forbidden, at least not when they’re in the privacy of your backyard. I know some apartment buildings have a rule where you can’t hang washing out on your balcony, when the balconies are at the front of the building, because it’s unsightly. But a lot of people in the UK hang their laundry outside in their backyards to dry when it’s not raining. I love it when it’s dry and I can hang my clothes outside – they dry so quickly and smell like fresh air afterwards. I have a rotary clothes line – apparently these are considered an eyesore by some people, but where I live everyone has one. Having said that, I don’t hang my underwear on it – some people do, and I don’t have a problem with it others doing it, but I guess I see underwear as private, and besides, it dries very quickly on a clothes horse indoors.

  2. David
    September 6, 2014 at 11:24 am (3 years ago)

    We also have a rotary clothes line in a corner of our back garden. As our fence is six feet high we don’t mind hanging our smalls on the line! We have never had a tumble drier so when it is wet outside clothes end up on a drier frame inside and spread around the radiators. But stuff is much better dried outside. Especially towels. The main risk is bird deposits, but we don’t get caught often.

  3. Luanne
    September 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm (3 years ago)

    We had a clothesline when I was a kid. Most of my growing years, in fact. And, yes, I was conscripted, on a roughly weekly basis, forced to hang clothes on the line. As an adult, I seem to have developed a significant aversion for clotheslines. Perhaps it is just the normal expression of my innate laziness rather than an unfortunate side effect of my forced labor days, but there is no way on earth that I would willingly hang clothes on the line. I give props to anyone that has the gumption to do so, but it just isn’t for me. Short of a world-wide apocalypse that puts all of humanity somewhere back in the 1700s era, my clothes are going in the dryer…cost be damned! 😉

  4. Heather
    September 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Growing up on a farm, we never used the dryer in the non winter months and in the winter we hung clothes around the wood stove. We were poor and running the dryer was a luxury. Hanging out the wash was always my job. There’s something therapeutic about hanging out the laundry. Maybe it’s the warm sun on your face or the gentle breeze that plays with the wisps of hairs around your face. It could just be the mindless rote activity that allows your mind to wander on great adventures. Whatever it is, I miss it and would love to have a clothes line again.

  5. Heather
    September 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm (3 years ago)

    There’s also making a mad dash in hurricane force winds to rip the clothes off the line before they get wet or end up in the next county. Ah, the memories…

    September 7, 2014 at 11:38 am (3 years ago)

    Now, you really can’t have your trash cans in the garage hillbilly because your clothes will smell. Why don’t you like to use the washing machine?

  7. Jessie Clemence
    September 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm (3 years ago)

    Exactly! Things might not dry in the garage exactly as well, but they don’t get wet in the rain, either. Not a bad trade off!

  8. Jessie Clemence
    September 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm (3 years ago)

    Hahaha! Hilarious. I feel the same way about picking up walnuts, which my parents forced me to do every fall for almost eighteen fricking years. Our old house had three enormous walnut trees, and I just ran those suckers over with a lawn mower each October and let the squirrels handle the rest.

  9. Jessie Clemence
    September 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm (3 years ago)

    I need to get a better drying rack for inside, since we don’t have radiators. The Amish sell enormous ones not far from here. Maybe I’ll get one this fall.

  10. Jessie Clemence
    September 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm (3 years ago)

    It seems to me that common sense is far more abundant in the UK, Gail. 🙂 And not just about clotheslines, either.

  11. Jessie Clemence
    September 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I know– between the cat box and the garbage I might as well just not wash the clothes at all. I found some nice screens at Lowes just for hiding those big, wheeled garbage cans and now it happily lives outside. Phew!

  12. lisanne3015
    September 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm (3 years ago)

    Such joy in circling around my grandma as she hung the laundry and then going out later and pressing my face into the towels and undershirts, making sure they were dry! I would love to have a clothesline!

  13. Jessie Clemence
    September 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the reminder– I have things out there right now and company coming in a bit. (At least I remembered to get the unders off the line before I left for work this morning…)