Monday, October 19, 2009

No More Wind Energy Drying Devices for You!

I would imagine my grandmother has been turning in her grave a lot lately, but this latest travesty must have her positively spinning.  She was a true believer in hanging laundry out of doors, even on winter days when they came back inside stiff as boards and steaming from the cold.  Even after her daughters decided she was too old to be out there hanging clothes, she refused to use the dryer they installed in the basement.  Her one rule was that the last load had to be out on the lines before 10 AM.  It was a lazy woman who was still doing her wash in what was practically the middle of the day.

Her reasons for hanging laundry outdoors had more to do with tradition and enjoyment than with saving money or helping the environment.  She genuinely looked forward to Mondays, when the washables were scrubbed clean and dried miraculously by nothing but the very air we breathe.

 So, while I miss her terribly, I'm glad she isn't here to see this.  She simply would not be able to comprehend that there are actually people out there who see clean laundry drying on clotheslines as nothing more than the kind of neighborhood blight that threatens to turn communities into rotting ghettos.

Homeowner's Associations across the country are warning residents that clotheslines and all the attendant paraphernalia, like clothespins and clothespin bags and laundry baskets and actual laundry will not be tolerated in plain sight of other humans.

(Bill Giest went after the story on "Sunday Morning". You can see it here. )

The debate is getting hot and heavy, even to the point of bringing the blasted gov'mint into it. You can go here to sign a petition stating it is the inalienable right of every man, woman and child to line dry. They're asking for a one day photo-op of the First family airing out their (clean) laundry.

Some states are already working toward rescuing the line dryers from the tyranny of the energymongers.  Vermont, for instance, passed the "Right to Dry" for all Vermonters, as described here by Lyman Orton, proprietor of the Vermont Country Store.  Lyman has been "raisin' the dickens" about it for the past few years and. . . .but I'll let him tell you.

Colorado, Hawaii, Main, Florida and Utah already have such bills in place, and Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Oregon aren't far behind.  They're working on it.

Even the New York Times got into it.  This from their article:  “The issue has brought together younger folks who are more pro-environment and very older folks who remember a time before clotheslines became synonymous with being too poor to afford a dryer,” said a Democratic lawmaker from Virginia, State Senator Linda T. Puller, who introduced a bill last session that would prohibit community associations in the state from restricting the use of “wind energy drying devices” — i.e., clotheslines.

A film crew in the UK is producing a film called, "Drying for Freedom", due in theaters not necessarily near you in 2010.   Click here for the trailer.

This is big, folks.  But, wouldn't you know?  Certain people don't like the idea of anybody telling you you CAN hang out your laundry.  They much prefer those who tell you you CAN'T.  Tammy Bruce's take on it is this:  "You can have my dryer…and washer…and refrigerator when you wring them from my warm, smooth hands."  She sees going back to hanging out the laundry as drudgery, and maybe she's right. but what if you just want to?

I have a dryer now, but for the first three years in the house I live in, it was air dry or nothing.  In the summer I hung laundry outside and in winter I hung them on drying racks, thereby adding needed moisture to the dry heat of a closed-up house.

I still love hanging out when the weather is good.  When it's heading toward bad, I often hang out for a while and then throw them into the dryer to finish up.  I like the way clothes feel when they've been wind-dried and I like the way they smell.  I like the idea of saving a few bucks on electricity, too.  And I really like standing out there, clothespins in my mouth (the way my Mom always did), arranging those pieces just so, until they're not only set for optimal drying but are aesthetically pleasing, too.  All of the white tee shirts are hung side by side, shoulder to shoulder.  The socks match up, heels all facing the same direction.  Sometime I even color-code.  You can get much more creative with line-drying than you can by throwing things into a dryer.  That's a definite plus. (And nobody around here would ever dream of telling me I couldn't.)

But what I especially love about this whole argument is that it's like feathers flying instead of poison-tipped arrows.  I haven't laughed so much over a cause I might actually care about in a really long time.


(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here.)


  1. I am SO glad we don't live in a suburb. I can't abide being told what I can and cannot do at my own house (of course, we're responsible with what we do), and I find Homeowner's Associations akin to dictatorships. I applaud anyone who wants to line-dry, and anyone should be allowed to do so.

  2. Beth, I can't imagine anything more stifling than having to abide by rules made by a bunch of tight-asses--while living in and paying for your own house!

    My friend Flower Child over at TPM says we're living in an idiotocracy. This is living proof.

  3. Having once lived in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, and actually being on the board for awhile (until fences and satellite dish issues resulted in lawyers, I quit), I applaud this entry. I say, let it all hang out, and be au naturale :o)

  4. Yes, Ken, break FREE of those HOAs. nasty business, that.

  5. So in Vermont, they now say, Live Free AND DRY!"

  6. Now THAT'S funny! I wonder if anyone in Vermont has come up with that?

    Good one.

  7. Homeowner's ASSociations, emphasis on ass, are a bore Ramona.

    Now that we have the addition completed Stan wants to put a line out back. I'd like to get one of those contraptions that's a little more compact so we could air dry some of our laundry, without it filling the whole back yard.

    Good joke, but just to set the record straight, NH is the "live free or die state." That statement appears on all of our license plates and people love to throw it around, though our motto is "you're going to love it here."

  8. Well, darn it, Kyle, it WAS funny! Maybe we could set up barricades against line drying in NH just so the joke would work?

    The folding dryers are great, except the inside things don't dry as fast as the outsiders. They also don't make for such good photo-ops. (All those lovely linens waving in the breeze side by side.)

    But they do take up less room, and your clothes will be line-dried. That's a good thing.

  9. I do not own a dryer so in the summer My lundry gets displayed on the clothes pin. I have noticed that some neighbors do not like it, but I do not give a shit. I actually do not care what people think of me. That is one of the reason why I do not like those gated communities they reek of fascism to me. However to think that some people will go and actually litigate against hanging the lundry out is more a reflection of what we have allowed to be tolerated. To think that lundry is that significant. when their is homelessness, illnesses, and hunger still in our communities, tells me that somehow we have lost our values sink way beyond repair.

  10. Gated communities = fascism. Oh, you're so right, Lelo! But it's not only the gated places. There is always somebody out there wanting to be in charge of rule-making. The trick is to stay away from those people.

    Yeah, such a fuss about hanging clean clothes outside. When it stops being funny (which it is) it gets pretty bizarre.

  11. I'm amazed that with the whole green living wave gaining ground that this is an issue-but someone telling me what and what not I can do in my own back yard??? Not gonna happen..not that I actually HAVE a backyard living in a condo, but still...I've worked on vehicles with welders running at 10pm in the street before, sure as hell would not put up with someone telling me I can't dry my own clothes outside!

  12. It is pretty astounding, isn't it? Those clothesline Nazis must not have gotten the message about going green. Wouldn't you know?


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