Just hanging out

23 October 2009
There are certain areas in every home where clusters of chemicals sit. The laundry is one such place and is a great place to start walking the green path. There are many recipes for laundry powder and liquid on the net. I have my own here, but it doesn't matter which you use, just start using one of them, it's a very good way to start simplifying. You can also throw out that softener. Get used to the feel of normal clothes on your skin; clean cloth with no additives is a healthier option that clothes with softener added. Read the labels on the products you're using and if what you read disturbs you, get rid of them, do some research, start making your own and be better off for it.

One of the best ways to be greener with your laundry is to line dry your clothes. I am amazed to read that in the USA, the land of the free, that line drying clothes is banned in many areas. Some claim it's unsightly, it lowers the standards of the neighbourhood, or that clothes hanging on a line indicates "poor" people are living there! I'm not sure what kind of fantasy land people who make these statements are living in but how can clean clothing hanging in the sunshine be unsightly. Clothes hanging out to dry indicates clean clothes, clean sheets and towels all smelling of sunshine. And if "poor" people live there, so what? If you came to Australia you'd think we are all "poor" because there is washing hanging outside all over the country here. It's normal, and always has been.

And while we're about it, what about the regulations that ban home owners from keeping chickens! That's another stupid rule that needs overturning. I think it's about time these ridiculous regulations are seen for what they really are - a way for local authorities to interfere in our lives. Let them regulate parking rules and where shopping malls are built but they can stay out of my backyard, thank you very much. What happens there is my business and no one else's.

If you are affected by these unfair restrictions, start making a noise about it. These are not radical things, our grandparents and theirs kept chickens and hung laundry outside to dry. Why have those simply rights been taken away? It's just another way to control us. Write to your local politicians and your newspapers and demand the right to line dry and keep chickens. These are your decisions to make, they should not be made for you.

And now I'll step down from my soap box. :- ) I hope you have a beautiful day.

Project Laundry

New York Times article.


  1. You stay up on that soap box as long as you like Rhonda, what you have to say may help inspire others to speak up.
    The Other Rhonda

  2. What a great post, Rhonda. Before we moved to our new house we phoned city hall and asked if we could have chickens. We were told absolutely not. Even the people within the town limits that live on acreages are not allowed. I don't understand it. Our backyard is large and very private and I have considered having them anyway. DH says he will not bring the kids to visit me in jail!!

  3. Thanks Rhonda, hello to Simon.

    Melanie, complain, complain, complain. Email your local media and politicians and ask why your rights have been taken away. Backyard chickens are a harmless way of us taking more responsibility for ourselves. Why is that wrong? Do they want us to be dependent? There are many wild birds around the place. Will they ban them too?

  4. Our town won't let us have chickens either! They've banned all "farm" animals. Even though we have plenty of land for them, and are actually in the industrial district (where the semis and farm trucks driving by our house would be noisier than the chickens!), outskirts of town, we still aren't allowed to have them! I'll be glad for the day we can move out into the country and have all the animals we want!

  5. See Rhonda - radical, whatever you say!


  6. I too love to hang out my laundry~
    we are now in our rainny season here. I will soon be making my first batch of laundry soap~
    (I must finish off what I have)

    I have 3 chickens and 3 ducks.....we are not suposed to have. But the head of our neighborhood said,as long as the noise or smell is not bothering anyone...it would be OK!
    No roosters here....but I do love the sound of a good rooster!


  7. Good morning Rhonda, just whizzed in to say have a great weekend. I expect my head to come above water about Tuesday. Cheers.

  8. Amen, amen, amen. Your best post yet. LOL

  9. I like to hang my clothes out when I can. I live in the U.S. it is true that some neighboorhood codes do prohibit certain things. Thank goodness we live out where we can feel free to do just about anything we like. As far as being in the "land of the free," unfortunately that seems to be changing too. ~Very sad.

  10. This is something that has been bugging me as well. We moved into a brand new neighborhood a year ago (some of the lots don't even have houses on them yet), and it came with a Home Owner's Association. One of the rules is that clotheslines are not allowed. Ridiculous.
    The builder just recently turned the HOA over to the Home Owners, and my husband got on as VP. Once the officers get all of the HOA finances etc figured out, I'm going to see if he can propse that we get up a vote about changing that silly rule. In the Pacific Northwest, it may not be practical to line dry year round (we can cover from the rain, but the winters can get too cold for it), but this summer there were several days when my clothes would have dried much faster outside than in a warm dryer, and I was tempted to ignore the rule and do it anyway (I did stick a couple of chairs out there one day and hung a few things over them. Chairs aren't technically a clothesline, right?)

  11. I "line dry" my laundry in the garage. Works great, keeps the neighbors and the HOA happy, I just don't get that sunshine bleaching affect. I do have my worm bin in my yard and no one has noticed. Just wait until the water barrel goes in!

  12. I find the restrictions to be absolutely absurd and it makes the mind boggle. WHY is this so?!?!? I only hope that Australia does not follow this trend...
    I just purchased one of the environmental laundry bags (to contribute to the cause) here online, from one of your links, Rhonda.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  13. REALLY lame question, but..... I've started air drying my laundry (in seclusion on my American back porch, in one of those crazy neighborhoods) and the one thing I'm having issues with is the towels come out so stiff and hard my kids are rebelling. It is the only thing I now dry - they don't mind the feeling of their clothes - once I explained that chemicals made them soft like that, they just hate the towels. We can't do chickens either, but I think my husband would think I totally went nuts if I started building a coop. Kelly

  14. I am happy to have a long and wonderful clothesline in my back yard. We live on 1 acre and as part of the bi-laws for our HOA farm animals including chickens are not allowed. I knew it when we bought the house but what I didn't know is how much I really want to have a few chickens. My needs and wants have changed so much over the past few years. I have started a lovely garden and will focus on that. I found a lady near by where I can get fresh eggs at a good price and I will smile when I buy them. Emily

  15. Forgot to mention I am making my own Laundry detergent - thanks to you. and using the left over fab softener watered down until it is gone. also using just vinegar in the fab softener dispenser ever now and then too. that works well. Emily

  16. Great post RhondaJean. The world we live in is sadly becoming quite absurd when we are restricted on our own land by local bylaws.
    I am totally shocked by some American areas not being able to hang washing on a line! What about 'Global Warming', I wonder if Al Gore has tried to overturn this rule.
    RhondaJean I do have a question about soap making. If I wanted to add some essential oil to your cold pressed soap recipe how many drops would I add?
    Love your blog, it has enriched my, and my families life.
    Thank You.

  17. I was so excited last night that I couldn't sleep. I'm getting a few chickens this weekend! It's not allowed here, but I only have two neighbours who would hear. One neighbour has said he doesn't mind, and the other neighbour doesn't yet know. I think I'll present them with one of the first dozen eggs because I do realize it won't really be a secret.

    I'll deal with the complaints if/when they come. Technically I can ask for approval from the City Manager. I know the Deputy City Manager, but I'm hesitant to ask now that my chickens are on their way.

  18. Some areas in the USA are ruled by the home owners association. They decide what color you can paint your house, the size of your fence, what your yard has to look like, dings you if you don't mow and keep your yard up, whether you can have a clothes line, animals, etc. My husband and I will not live in an area like that. The HOA says they are trying to keep the value of the homes up and the neighborhood looking good.

    We do not have an HOA where we live, but the county does regulate how many farm animals you can have per acre of land. That is a good thing because some people would try to have an entire herd which wouldn't be good for the animals. We live outside the city limits so we can have chickens and hang our clothes out. I have been trying to get my husband to get me a clothes line up, but he won't. I am going to try to get one by next summer though. He also won't build me a coop so I can have chickens. We have plenty of sunshine in Colorado, even in the winter, to hang out clothes.

    I am off my soap box now. Enjoy your weekend.


  19. Great post Rhonda Jean. What a sad world we live in when we can't make basic decisions about what we want to do on our own land!
    Global warming is supposedly high on the agenda of the world so how ridiculous is the idea of not being allowed to hang washing on the line. I wonder if Al Gore has tried to overturn this rule?
    Rhonda Jean, just a question about your cold pressed soap recipe, if I was to add essential oil to the recipe how many drops would I add?
    I love your blog, it has enriched my, and my families life.
    Thank you.
    (Not sure if my first comment worked. I used anonymous but have now set up google account).

  20. A-MEN!!

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  21. There are crazy laws here in the US for sure.

    One thing I do is use vinegar in my washer in the rinse. I put it in where fabric softener would go.

    Many people don't know that fabric softener sheets only 'work' on polyester fabrics. For cotton fabrics, it is not needed. "Clean" smells wonderful to me, too!

    I sometimes use my dryer, but only dry clothes for 10 minutes and then hang up. They don't shrink and last longer.

    Oh, chickens are outlawed in our city limits too...sigh.

  22. For Kelly - I fill up the fabric softner dispenser in my washer with plain old cheapest I can find white vinegar...this helps with keeping the towels softer. You may want to experiment with the amount...mine only has a small dispenser. And no the towels don't smell of vinegar :)

    Still find the whole idea of not being able to line dry goods ridiculous!!! Maybe people should be citing this as adding to global warming...what a waste of resources!

  23. Great points Rhonda...stay up on yr soap-box all day...we'll bring tea and sandwiches to you ;)

    Kelly...stiff towels can be the result of using too much soap powder...try using half as much next time :)

    Have a beaut day,
    (coffeee DTE2)

  24. Kelly, someone else may have answered your query about stiff towels by the time this is posted however putting a small amount of vinegar in the final rinse will help to soften towels. I used this years ago but no longer do as the water we use here is great (fresh rain water) and the towels are fine. I cannot stand the smell of fabric softeners for a start and haven't used them for nearly 30 years!

    Rhonda, some councils or strata management committees here in Australia ban the hanging out of clothes on appartment balconies, so one has to either have a rack inside and/or a dryer. Stupid, isn't it, in this climate?

    When I lived in Europe with my first baby we had a dryer but also lines in the attic and I used to clomp up several flights of stairs with baby and washing and hang the clothes and sheets out on those.

    In extreme climates such as there and parts of the USA, it wouldn't be possible or practical to hang outside during Winter however as far as I can tell, many of these places have basements where lines can be erected (close to heating too so they are warmed and dry quickly) or attics, do they not?

    Even here, with my fabulous outdoor clothes line, I have two racks I set up inside for when it's raining.

    Good post...

  25. I can't imagine not having a clothesline of some sort. I often wonder on the blitz type tv shows,,where did they put the clothesline? It may not look the most stunning feature of the yard or neighbourhood, but isn't it always a nice feeling to see the sheets blowing gently in the wind on a sunny day. And that gorgeous sunny fresh smell. mmmmmmm

  26. My homeowners association here in Illinois, U.S.A. bans clotheslines, chickens, and lots of other stuff that shouldn't matter to anybody else. I go ahead and rebel, sort of, on the clothesline though. I have a detatched garage, so I put up a retractable clothesline between the house and the garage. Then I can "hide it" or have it out.

    I don't think I could hide the chickens as easily though, so I haven't done that. We do plan to move to just outside of town in a couple of years, in part so that we can have chickens. But for right now, I visit my "neighbor" who lives just on the outside of town (about 10 minutes away) and get my eggs from her.


  27. My husband, boys and I live in a VERY "affluent" neighborhood in the USA. We do not fit in in any way, financially or otherwise. I cannot hang our clothes outside to dry so what I do is hang them in the cellar. In the winter, the boiler makes the celler all warm and toasty and the clothes dry wonderfully!

  28. I like it when you are on your soap box!

  29. Your post reminds me of a story about my mom and her clothesline. I should post soon.
    Well we have two clothesline one outside and the other inside.

    Coffee is on.

  30. I like you more when you're on your soap box LOL!

    This is an aside, but that second photograph with your clothes airer... what pattern is that dishcloth?! I want one! It looks like it could be the waffle weave if you've knitted it loosely with a fine yarn, but I'm not sure. It looks groovy though, and I want to knit one if you could point me in the right direction please ;-)

  31. I am a new fan to your blog and enjoying it very much. I heard a lecturer at an herb farm say that in our (USA) early colonial times, housewives used to plant bushy fragrant herbs (sage, lavender, etc.,) and spread their sheets and other linens to dry on them. I have always found this a charming idea but never have lived in a situation where it would be possible. I can't imagine any HOA being able to legislate that! Thanks again for your great blog.

  32. We line dry in the house on foldaway clothes drying racks like you have in the pictures, even though we are allowed clotheslines where we live. We find it helps keep the air from being too dry without a humidifier (we live in a really dry area) and it also keeps the pollens off of clothing, good for two of our asthmatic family members. Look on the bright side of indoor clothes drying!

  33. Here in Germany the government interferes really much in our lives. But I never heard about banning washing lines! And if i wanted to keep chickens I would not even think about having to ask someone. As far as I know, if the neighbours don´t like it, they have to go to court. Yes, there have been lawsuits because of the "noise" of roosters and even of frogs in a garden pond!

  34. Grr to those people preventing line-drying. We're just heading into Autumn here (UK) and due to the weather I can't always get my clothes outside to dry. I don't have a tumble dryer so we have to dry things on clothes horses.

    What madness, to be prevented from drying outside!!

    We're also not allowed to keep chickens...but this I can understand as I live in a mid-terrace house, with another terrace backing onto it. Gardens are quite small too...but not too small to grow vegetables ;-)

  35. Hi Rhonda,
    Ah those darn Americans...of which I am one. Yes we do like our dryers, but we also like our clotheslines. I have both.
    I read a bit about this subject to get a better idea of how lines vs. dryers plays out in other places.
    Everywhere people use both devices for drying their laundry.
    In some places the dryer is used exclusively except for delicates and woolens and fine linen.
    I other places the dryer is used to take off most of the heavy moisture and then the clothes are finish dried on lines or racks or hung on hangers.
    Here where I live, in the prairies of middle America, the wind and heat make drying clothes outdoors a snap.
    I live in an older neighborhood and clotheslines are not prohibited. My daughter lives in a newer area with covenants and restrictions on many things, including clotheslines.
    I like to dry some things on the line, others I dry in the dryer always. Winters are horribly cold and often icy so dryer use goes up then. I no longer work 40 hours a week and have the time to use the lines and enjoy doing this. My daughter works, volunteers, teaches a youth group and has other civic duties which leave her very little time for this kind of effort.
    I think that has to be taken into consideration with many working women. I am sure you found it difficult to do when you worked full time and had other civic duties to take your time.
    The "Right to Dry" movement and the "clothesline" debates are beginning to change the way communities view the use of outdoor clotheslines again. I also think that some of the restrictive and covenant guided home associations are beginning to be less strident about what constitutes and defines a neighborhoods image.
    I remember my Mom and Gran using lines exclusively...because they had no dryer...it was hard work start to finish for them.
    My cousins and I grew up helping with these task, hanging and then collecting the dry clothes.
    We all hated having to do this in the winter.
    Thanks for a thought provoking article.

  36. I am afraid that I am not in favour of keeping roosters in built-up areas as when I lived in the Philippines, I was surrounded by people on all three sides (and across the road also) who kept roosters, and as a result, I hate the sound with a passion. They crowed constantly throughout the day and night. It really is not fun to hear them calling to each other at 11:30pm and then again at 5:30am, and many times during the day. I could not escape from the sound and it really had a large impact on my general well being. So in this case, I think there is a place for certain restrictions. Jodi

  37. Stepping up to the box too...I find it really worrying that ANY council or governemnt would legislate aginst fresh air and sunshine and saving precious manmade energy! When we've got world meetings on climate change/chaos and treaties signed to make the world a better greener place we should be encouraged to switch OFF the dryers. Makes me cross!! In cold Canberra, winter is tricky but small lines indoors (usually in the kitchen/family when the oven's on) and under the carport/garage seem to work. But there's nothing like contentment sitting with a coffee in the sun watching the old Hills Hoist (Aussie clothesline invention) spin around. Thanks for talking about this Rhonda - our pollies should be reading it.. have a great weekend, cheers, Jen xx

  38. You're quite political lately - and I agree with you 100%!

    I like your soap box posts, what you say is very sane, contrary to all the insane things that fly around elsewhere. :)

    Some people commented about the HOA in the US and I agree, we never want to move to new 'housing estates' here in Aus for the same reason - who wants to be told what they can and can't do in their own home.

    I found that towels made of really good quality cotton don't go stiff when washed and we use homemade soap (we have no dryer). They last longer and I find are worth the investment, I usually layby them during EOY sales.

  39. Hanging your washing outside it pretty normal here in the UK. There are even some streets here in Leeds that have the big lines strung between houses over the street like you saw in the 40's and 50's. Admittedly those are rare. We use soap nuts in my house rather than detergent. I think that the laundry was the first place that I started to be conscious of my enviromental impact at home.

  40. Thank you Rhonda; stay on that soapbox!!!! That was an inspiring post and reminded me of all the complaints I got from line drying my laundry. My neighbour; a very old lady kept knocking on my door at regular intervals complaining about my unruly and unsightly behaviour; saying she had had a few complaints about me hanging laundry on the balcony to dry!!! I always listened politely but never obeyed. These were rules but not legislations so she couldnt take it further. Some people ha!!!
    Best regards

  41. Preach it, sister!

    I'd never move into an area with such restrictions. (I don't think they exist here in the UK.)

  42. I haven't used fabric softener for over 25 years now, and don't miss it, especially that awful pong it has which is meant to make your clothes smell NICE. Ugh!

  43. We don't even have a dryer ;) and always dry our wash outside (or sometimes inside when it rains).
    But there are not many neighbours who do that anymore...
    I wish more people would.
    The smell of fresh laundry coming from the line outside...love it!

    the Netherlands

  44. GREAT post. I agree about line-drying clothes. There is NOTHING in a bottle that makes your clothes smell that way. I live on a country (gravel) road in the midwest. A busy farming community and dust flying everywhere has made me bring my laundry back in side. My allergies to dust limit my 'fresh' side. But I still love it.

  45. None of the bans here in the US are Federal, None State, some might be municipal, but from what I can tell all the bans are in private neighborhoods. You know the kind with homeowners associations, where you sign up to live by a certain set of rules to be viewed in a certain way ;) That being said some people are being prevented from line drying, and they should speak up. I live in a city and we are allowed to have chickens (no more than 4 with 4 sq ft of space for each and no roosters), but I don't yet have chickens.

    I am not a fan of line drying. I love the look and smell of line dried towels and sheets, and don't mind pants etc., but I have issued with bras and panties being hung out for the whole world to see, and that is the only way they can be hung in my neck of the woods.
    Growing up we had 6 or so lines that were in the back of our property (which backed up to the woods) and if you were driving by at 55 miles per hour on the interstate that was in the front of our country property you probably didn't see anything either.
    I do line dry my clothes, but I line dry them indoors, so I can always line dry even when its freezing and snowing here.
    America is the land of the free only in words, in reality we have many restrictions and regulations (like who can watch you kids for you).

  46. Great post!! Several friends of mine live in subdivisions that don't allow hanging laundry outside. Ours? I have no idea, never asked, never will. I just hang my laundry outside anyway.

  47. I live in a a Agricultural/Small Business zone in NH.Because we are zoned as such,we have chickens and turkeys. Our neighbor had pigs,and another neighbor has an alpaca farm. Hanging clothes outside is not a problem.
    We moved from a small city to the county,and it's the best move we ever made. In fact, when our son graduates high school in 6 years, we hope to move up to Northern NH by the Canadian boarder so we can have more land and less neighbors!

  48. Hi Rhonda. I live in the land of the not so free. Yes, there are regulations like that some places, but it's not as prevalent as one might think.

    If there's anything positive about our poor economy, it's that people are going back to simpler times. In the last year, I've seen more vegetable gardens, line drying, and people enjoying simpler entertainment like picnics and visits to parks. Our library's usage has gone up 60%!! Yes!

    Our economic situation can help to support people's requests for chickens in their back yards! Use it, we might as well get something good out of it.

    It does take just one vocal person to rally the troops and get things changed. The community just north of mine just changed their ordinance allowing laying hens. It didn't take much, but someone willing to put themselves out there.

    We haven't seen Rampant Poultry Problems :) in our area and chickens are permissable here! Anyone wanting information could contact my city if you wish to email me privately. Getting it passed in your area you may need facts from successful cities.

    I love looking at clothes drying on the line. It reminds me of time spent playing with clothespins at the feet of my mother and grandmother at both their lines.

    Clothes Line Etiquette might be a great conversation. How do you hang your clothes? Undies in the middle, sheets to hide them? Or do you let it all hang out!!

  49. Yeah! Well put. What happens in my backyard IS my business.

    Karen living in a town with no chickens allowed..trying to change that

  50. Oh, how true this is! I would love to keep some chickens but am not allowed, even though we have 350 ft. deep backyard with plenty of space, live beside a farmer and are on the outskirts of town. Our backyard is very private and shielded by numerous trees, and yet...*sighs*
    I've never heard of banned line-drying though, that is simply astonishing! I don't understand how anyone could think it unsightly, I always thought it was beautiful, and have taken pictures of it for my photography. Astounding. It's also one of the best smells on earth- a soft, clean towel fresh off the line with a scent of the outdoors, or crisp sheets still warm from the sun...
    Such a great post here. Keep standing on that soap box- hopefully enough of us will stand up on our own to make a difference!

  51. I just discovered your blog and I LOVE your thoughts and in general your way of thinking! Washing drying in the wind and smelling of warm sun, no perfumed softeners, chickens running around our gardens...a way of life that was so nomral once, but now has worldwide become too "poor" for the very sophisticated world we live in today. time we get bak and discover raw life again.

  52. I wish you felt comfortable enough to tell us how you really feel. Hehe =) I agree it does just seem crazy that people are more concerned the asthetics than saving energy. The most baffling thing to me is that it is the more affluent areas that have the most rules about these simple things, even with what color you paint your door.

    Personally I live in an area in the U.S. unlike most. It is only a very small part of town where you won't see clothes lines (or chickens). The houses are brightly painted, orange, bright blue, sometimes even purple. Many times while out working in the yard, most recently while hanging my clothes out, ladies that I can barely communicate with, will come up to my fence and are selling homemade tamales or burritos right out of their car. People are very industrious. To me it is very quaint. My house is a plain boring color, that I like, but I love the variety that there is and how laid back it is.

    I have lived a very large city. there was variety, but in a different way. Many more regulations. But variety is the spice of life, right.

    Sorry for rambling,

  53. I would love to have a clothes line in my back yard, but I can't do that until we get grass. so much dirt and wind: they wouldn't stay clean. I do have it planned though. I know where it will go and I know I will have lavender bushes on either side of it. A desire and a plan are always where we need to start, right?

  54. At my old apartment, we weren't allowed clothes lines, but I rebelled and put out my clothes racks. If anyone ever wanted to complain, they are easy enough to move back inside until the complainer has gone. I think they realized I would use the racks irregardless, so they never asked me to remove them. I did try to be inconspicuous and put them off to the side of the building. In winter or rainy days, I hang them inside - it lets moisture get into the dry house in winter :) I haven't owned a drier in 10 years!

  55. Obviously people like your soapbox! Maybe you can keep arming me with pro-chicken arguments so I can approach the City about my new chickens. It's easy to say I can break the law about this, but now that it is coming to pass I'm starting to get nervous.

  56. Isn't it crazy that some neighborhoods don't allow clotheslines?? INSANE! I have line dried my clothes from the start. My kids have always used "crunchy" towels and slept in crisp, sun-dried sheets. Even in the dead of winter, I use drying racks and hang dry our clothes.


  57. I have lived in several neighborhoods that ban hanging your laundry. It isn't the city, but the neighborhoods that ban it. As for chickens, many communities are successfully fighting that one and I think more will. it is really becoming popular and I know several people in my town that have chickens. We hope to be one of those people in the future, but for now, we don't have chickens. But I do know we can, so I am happy.

  58. Rhonda, this was so appropriate for me today as I took my mum out for lunch and on our travels we aspied washing hanging on the line! Not just any old how but exactly how mum likes it: all the items beautifully hanging in order ie socks together, shirts together etc! Later after walking my dog through the park I passed a house that regularly has washing hanging out (a townhouse in a very upmarket area!)and my immediate thought was one of admiration that in this day of tumble dryers this person always takes time to hang out their washing!! Just to finish - it was a glorious autumn day here in Northern Ireland - amazing to hang washing out so late in October!

  59. anonymous October 23, 2009 3:35 PM
    My issue is not so much with the decision to line dry or use the dryer. My issue is that the decision is not theirs to make - someone else makes that decision for them.

    BTW, I have a dryer that is thirty years old (it still works). We bought it to dry Shane's cloth nappies/diapers all those years ago. I line dried my clothes when I was working full time and I line dried the nappies/diapers too when I quickly realised it was much better to dry them in the sun.

  60. Thank you for your comments. I live Texas on a windy hill. My clotheslines run east and west, In the summer the south wind dries them, almost wrinkle free, and in the winter, the north wind. I don't use softener.
    We do have a dryer for long rainy spells or very cold weather, which is not often.
    I've said to my DH several times in the last few years that I would not live in a neighborhood that prohibited clotheslines.
    The UV from the sun kills fungi and bacteria. My DH can tell that his athlete's foot is not as bad when we hang the socks out.
    It's amazing how many people are astounded when I tell them we hang our clothes out. Thanks for the blog. Aunt Sharon

  61. I love your soap-box! Did you know that if you use dryer sheets that the lint screen gets clogged?

    When I was first told about this, I tried it and its true - try it yourself.

    If you pull out the lint screen and pour water on it (over the sink) the water does NOT run through it just bubbles up and runs around ON the screen!

    Wash the screen with soap and a brush, dry it and then try running water through it again - it runs through!! A clean lint screen also makes the dryer work more efficiently and can prevent fires! I wash my lint screen about every 6 months.

    I line dry until my clothes freeze on the line, then I will resort to the dryer for the heavier things, like blankets, jeans and coats. The rest I hang on a rack in the house.

    Sorry to get so long winded, but I think it is important to know that one or several of the chemicals in softener sheets can clog the lint screen.


  62. I'm with you. Along with my Scottish mother, I am a clothesline snob. There is something to be proud of when you have a nice line of clothes hanging to dry.

  63. Is there a trick to effectively line-drying laundry? We have a line here in the USA (yay! no restrictions!), but frequently things are not dry by the end of the day. Help?

  64. On a train through western Sydney a few years ago I got talking to an American family who sat near me. And part of the conversation I remember was when "Mom" asked why Australians didn't have laundry dryers, why we dried our laundry in our backyards or balconies where everyone could see. Teenage daughter also didn't like the idea of airing the clean laundry in public. The answer of lots of clean, dry air for free apparently wasn't convincing.

  65. I'm just about to head outside to bring my laundry in! Before I go, though, I have a couple of wee points...
    1. line drying towels - 5 minutes or so in the dryer after they're already mostly dry on the line will stop them being so scratchy, OK, you're still using the dryer a little, but it's a huge improvement and will get your kids to buy in.

    2. chickens - if you aren't allowed 'farm' animals in your area - check to see if you're allowed to keep pet birds in an 'aviary' - you might be able to get away with some of the more glamorous type chickens in an enclosed chicken coop and run (known to your local body as an 'aviary') :) Worth a try, anyway!

    in our city we're allowed chickens but not roosters - so long as the council isn't pestered by your neighbours about smell, noise or vermin.

  66. I would LOVE to hang my laundry outside in the sunshine to dry. However, I live in the Pacific Northwest (USA) where six months of the year, it rains...and six months there it is dry and DUSTY so the laundry would only get dirty again! I love the smell of sunshine dried linens!

  67. Not being ALLOWED to use a clothesline is utterly ridiculous!! Not to mention the impact on global warming. Seriously, it's just daft. Thank you for getting on your soapbox!

  68. My brother married a beautiful American lady a few years ago. She has come here to live and at 26 just put her first load of washing outside to dry..yep Amazing!! What else can you say about that?

  69. Not a comment about this post but about your spectacles. As I am an opthalmic practitioner I can tell you they are completely wrong for your face. Your eyes are right at the top of the frame leaving a big expanse of face in the rest of the frame. it is usually recommended that the top part of the frame is level with your eyebrows and that your eyes are central in the frame. I also suggest that a better choice for you would be a less harsh colour, these look 'hard' on your face. I hope you don't take offence at these comments as you have an attractive face which these frames overwhelm.

  70. Great post!I think we need more soapboxes in the USA:)

    The first thing I did when I moved into this house was ask my son-in-law to install a clothesline for me.I was too busy with school and working to have chickens up 'til now, but we are adding those next year.

    I've heard of people turning their chickens into indoor "pets with benefits" so they can keep them in urban areas.;)

  71. Megan, that sounds like the advice my optician gave me.

  72. The rules and regulations of the area you live in should be a big part of the decision as to where you live. We are allowed animals and the types and number of is decided on by the size of our lots. Do not just accept the rules the realitor tells you. Look them up yourself. Make sure of all the facts and ins and outs. Rules change and also we have had neighbors that were told wrongly by seller. They regretted therefore ever buying this place. I have heard of places that even regulate the color of your trash barrels, or swing sets!!!! Even no parking on the street!! Keep a ear out for sneaky politicians that might try to change the rules to your disadvantage. They tried once here and tried to do it without our knowing!! We caught them and stopped it. I love this land, but like anywhere in this world you have to watch out for your rights. Be willing to speak out..but do it agressively but in the right tone. Jody

  73. Thats Crazy....
    Can you imagine the uproar that would happen in Australia if they tryed pulling that here?..
    A backyard without a clothlines....
    well its just un-Australian ;) (The Hillshoist is one of our adopted icons).

    Chickens i guess is another matter, but i think as long as you have a normal size or bigger yard and they are properly houses and they are well cared for, its nobodies business but your own.

  74. Oh I don't know what I would do with out my drying rack or my clothes line. Hubby just put my very first clothes line just summer. I was only able to use it a couple of times as we had a very rainy summer in Minnesota, but it was nice just the same.
    As far as no clothes lines...I thank God that isn't something that has made it this far North. Before Jesse put mine up I swear we were the only house in the teeny town we live in that didn't have one!!!

    Have a great weekend!

  75. What a great commentary on people involved in doing their part. Thank you to the people who stopped over to my blog and left a message about the vinegar. I was out, and should have thought about using it - just last January I had my students make up a bunch of natural cleaning recipes as part of our chemistry unit, and linked it into to our environmental studies unit. I feel really dumb for forgetting about that....

    I did want to comment on several people asking if Al Gore could overturn things --- he isn't exactly in a position of influence anymore - mostly teaching and giving the occasional speech. Americans do like their freedoms to decide things at a local level too, so it really is up to the local communities to set such limits, and sometimes individual neighborhoods. 7 years ago when we bought here I was truly just focused on the schools, my 4 girls, and the health issues of some of them. Now a simlper life is on my agenda, and suburban America can be a challenged. Thankfully I've been inspired by a whole bunch of Austrailian blogs and have started on my path. I figure if I start living this way, and know quite a few neighbors doing the same thing, our chidren will grow up and continue on this path too. We don't have the infrastructure for mass transit in most places in our country, but I can work on my home, and buy from my farmer's market, and counter the consumerism influences at work on my girls.

  76. OMG!!!! You've got to be joking, being banned from using your clothes line because it looks unsightly, now that's ridiculous...
    I have 30 chooks and wouldn't hav it any other way, I do live on a farm though... I love fresh eggs and think that many more people should be allowed to keep chooks in town, after all what's really wrong with it??

    Jodie :)

  77. Hooley Dooley! I can't imagine any of this!
    Never had a dryer!Even after 3 kids!
    Have a line outside, on verandah and clothes racks for the nasty weather! It's sooooo easy! Gosh! People pay money to go to the gymn!
    No truely, it's very easy!even when working! Just do a washload at teatime, hang the tiny things on cloth horse and one minute outside with big items! Never used softner....if stiff just too much detergent... Sorry folks, I've had a good laugh! But the use of all that energy and effect on environment is just plain sad!
    Doesn't look like I fit in either...

  78. I do enjoy getting my washing dry outside on my rotary clothesline - is not a Hill's Hoist, but my Folks have one.

    On a good day outside I recommend folding each piece as you take it off the line - it will land in your washing basket all folded and ready to put away, and you get a lovely time to enjoy the outdoors.

    Admit I dry most clothing on hangers etc.. inside so they aren't attacked by the strong and fiercely colour-fading Downunder Sunlight. Most top are of a knit fabric so don't need ironing this way, and my clothes get attacked by that fierce sun enough while I wear them.

    Almost a year on since I converted and I just love using my homemade laundry powder - no need for any attempt at fabric softeners (I don't have the space to make my own soap, so use a mix of grated Sunlight and Sard with Washing Soda - brillo results). Using my microplane grater on the soap bars give me the best washing results.

    Super thanks and loving care to you, dear Rhonda, you are such an amazing, inspiring and generous woman,

    Michelle in Wellington, NZ

  79. My clothes are out on the porch drying as I'm typing. It is true that most Americans use dryers. Just imagine the energy waste! Ughhh. So glad I found your blog!

  80. Hi. Two points:-

    Firstly, there are some houses/streets in the UK which do have rules re hanging out of washing ON A SUNDAY! These are houses close to churches and chapels, and buyers/renters are made aware of restrictions.

    Secondly, and I apologise if this offends anyone, but I have been told that in the US there is one state which forbids the hanging of male and female underwear on the same clothesline. Is this true?

  81. I have been hanging my laundry outside, and in, for ever it seems. In my old house, I had a line outside and one inside in the utility room for when it rained. My grandmother used lines exclusively when I was growing up. She had 3-4 outside and more like 10 inside in the basement for winter drying.

    Kelly: I read Rhonda's post on hanging laundry and she said she 'snaps' her laundry before she hangs it to get the wrinkles out. I do that with towels. I shake them until they snap and it seems to shake out the fibers and make them softer coming off the line. Also, you can dry them on the line, then bring them in and use your dryer on the 'air' cycle or put them in for just a minute or two in the heat cycle, and that seems to take the rough off them as well. That way, you aren't using the dryer so much, but still getting the soft the kids like, AND keeping that line dryed smell that is just so heavenly.

    I can't have hens either, but have an Egg Lady about 5 minutes away I get fresh eggs from. I feel I am contributing to my local small business and keeping her in hens so she can keep me in those wonderful fresh eggs.

  82. I think we need to have a 'housewives' revolt and send a message to the rule makers. I live on two acres in a very rural area surrounded by five acre farms ... but our HOA does not permit chickens. But, I got elected to the board and will see about persuading a change. For now, I'm content to get eggs from a local farm down the road. We are allowed to have discrete clotheslines so mine is out back behind the garage.

  83. I agree about the chickens, I have 7 and the are not only pets, they produce the eggs my family feasts upon weekly. I am zoned for the city limits but until last year we were considered county. I have a nice home for my girls and keep them clean.

  84. I LOVE my clothesline. I have gingham curtains drying on the line right now. I honestly don't understand why anybody would dry them in a dryer!
    I'd love to have a few chickens....I guess I will just have to be content with my clothesline.

  85. when I heard that certain areas are not allowed to have clothes lines, I thought they were joking and a sad joke at that...

    I live on the East Coast of Canada... I love my clothes line and the fresh scent that comes inside with the naturally dried clothes...

    and chickens... every one should try a few...

    Great Post...


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