Saturday, November 15, 2008

Right to Dry

I've been line-drying my laundry for a little more than a year now. I love it. This is the way we dry clothes in India, hanging clothes on a line on the terrace. I used to love smelling the sun on the clean clothes when in the evening I'd go to the terrace to bring them back.



After moving to the US, I took to using the dryer like everyone else, and it is convenient. But we live in a house with a large backyard now, and I am constantly on the lookout for ways to live more lightly on the planet. So this was the next logical step.



Some of the t-shirts come back a little shapeless, so once they are dry, I spin everything in the dryer for a couple of minutes and they are fine. Most of the electricity here (and most other places) comes from coal, and this is a very dirty form of energy. So any reduction in its use will lessen my contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere.



But this is not a completely noble mission. I have to admit that I love the process of hanging clothes out to dry, feeling the grass under my feet and the sun on my shoulders, hearing the birds in the backyard and watching the little insects that sometimes crawl on the clothes.



I find it very soothing and relaxing. Raghav admitted that there's something very comforting about seeing laundry on the line in the yard. But I'm not the odd one out in this ...



... there is the Right to Dry campaign, where people are demanding their right to dry their clothes on a clothesline. Here's an article that talks about this campaign & the controversy. Many neighborhoods in the US don't allow people to dry their clothes outside. I don't know if there is an issue with this in our neighborhood, but I don't think there is. In any case, we have a fenced yard, and our neighbors cannot see our line. :)

The laundry basket makes woven shadows while it waits for the clothes to dry ...



As the sun sets, we have a basket full of clean, sun-soaked laundry that smells like the fresh outdoors!


Until the next time ...

24 comments:

Blu said...

Maybe you better write to the new Presidents wife and get her on your side. If a few less tumble dryers were used and a few less lights left on in Government buildings maybe our resources might last longer. I think it is totally ridiculous. I cannot afford to consider using a tumble dryer here. Best wishes from Brittany France.

sweetmango said...

We dry our clothes on a line, but that is the Aussie and Kiwi thing to do!! In summer the clothes line is completely dry in half an hour because it is so hot and if we leave it out to long the clothes will bleach very quickly!!
Yay for you seeing the fun side of drying the clothes and enjoying it for it's many and varied little gifts :)
Namaste :)

Sekhar said...

Beautiful :)

3rdEyeMuse said...

It's refreshing to hear of how others are making their efforts - thanks for sharing your beautiful laundry photo's. The basket shadow is nearly hypnotic.

with a happy heart, ~M~

pink dogwood said...

Bindu - what a coincidence. I have been line drying my clothes for past couple of years as well, except I do it on one of those wooden folding clothes drying racks as it is not always feasible to do it outside. Great write up - love the picture of all white and one orange shirt and the picture of the basket.

Chris' Shady Grove said...

I used to live in a town that prohibitted line drying. Funny, no one used a dryer there when I was a kid. I hope they have relaxed their view point in the last few year. Such a silly law really

Srividya said...

Thanks for pointing out the Right to Dry campaign. Our homeowners association (the most ridiculous organization I have come across) forbids having a clothes line in the backyard. So I have two large folding racks I dry my clothes on. I would sure like to have a clothesline.

~ ॐ ~ said...

very nice !!!! sun dried clothes smell and feel great always !

bindu said...

Blu - that's an idea, to get Mrs. Obama into the campaign. It's the simplest solar-powered operation, isn't it! :)

Sweetmango - I know! My sister lives in Sydney, and I used to dry clothes on her line when I visited her. It was nice to see a clothesline in every yard.

Sekhar, 3rdeyemuse, Om - thanks. :)

Bhavana - thanks. Looks like we again found something in common. :)

Chris - it's interesting that you didn't use dryers when you were young. I think all these restrictions are inspired by the coal industry! Life used to be much simpler here in the US until about 30 years ago, it looks like!

Vidya - that must be frustrating. Good you're still doing it using the racks though!

meb said...

I used to dry clothes on the line, even in the winter.. the clothes wood freeze the minute I got them on the line but by the end of the day, they had dried. Didn't have a dryer to take the wrinkles out, so it was ironing time.

I was ecstatic when I got my first dryer ... now I feel guilty for using one. What's a body to do... I support your cause tho for the Right to Dry! What a silly law.

meb said...

Oh... loved all the pictures but especially liked the last one. Solders at attention waiting for their next work order! Smile.

bindu said...

Meb - that's a nice way to look at the last photo! I'm sure it must have been hard to dry clothes in the winter, so I can understand why people gravitated toward this convenience.

Sydney said...

OMG Bindu, this is a most beautiful and inspiring post. I wish I had a back yard, but not for a while yet...

It seems you have a knack for making art out of every moment. I am inspired by that.

(PS: Now home from NYC, I put up the second Tag answers from your invitation, and linked to yours if that's ok... if it's not, let me know and I'll remove it)

It's on A New Yorker in Houston dated today.

Also, in a few days I will be posting on Adventures about feeding NYC squirrels. At the end I mention a book I found that, as I was reading it this month -- trying to make it last -- I kept thinking, I have to recommend this to Bindu!). I put it on the post so I could recommend it to the several people who have commented that the posts have made them want to feed their own backyard squirrels by hand if possible.

Til then, it's called Squirrels at my Window by Grace Spruch. LOVE it and truly thought of you all the way thru!

Karine said...

I'm with you on this one. I love clothes that have been dried outside. This is a bit of a "marital conflict" for me, since my husband seems to have something against clotheslines. ??? I don't get it. Since I do the laundry most of the time, most of it gets line dried.

I love your photos.

Sylvie Van Hulle said...

I also dry my clothes on a line in the garden. Don't understand why people should have a problem with that. There are worse things in the world...
Oh well, they don't know what they're missing ;-)

bb mcclain said...

Who would've known that clothes hanging out on the line would make such good pics? My wife is a nut when it comes to hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. If it's a half way warm day in January, she'll use the clothes line. The smell cannot be duplicated!

Yoli said...

Beautiful photography. I cannot tell you how I love line drying and how our neighbors hate it and think it is trashy.

bindu said...

Sydney - glad you're back! Thanks for the recommendation. Will surely check it out.

Karine - I guess in the desert clothes would dry in an hour! One of my friends uses a carabiner at each end so that he can remove the line and coil it up at one end between uses. Maybe that will solve your problem!

Sylvie - you're so right! :)

bb - thanks. I can relate to your wife on this then!

yoli - high five on ticking your neighbors off with this. ;)

Robyn said...

No rules here about drying outside on the line. Most of us do though I like to use the tumbledryer on slow drying days. I had to laugh at Blu's remark about lights left on in Government buildings. Same problem here.

~vagabond~ said...

*sigh* The photos of clothes hanging on a line made me nostalgic for home. There's just a certain uplifting aroma to clothes that have been dried in the sun that no dryer sheet can replicate. Mmmmm. Ok, I know, I know, now I sound like some weirdo that goes around sniffing clothes like a febreeze ad.

I loved reading through the posts on your blog.

vinz-Q8 said...

i did the same on my terrace yesterday afternoon and after reading your post i now remember....i forgot to bring them back home....lol

nikheel said...

Simply Amazing thought!! All of sudden I can smell my sun dried jacket:) and happy to follow this process

ramanjit said...

hi
very nice basket pic.

Donna in AL said...

My clothesline came down several years ago and just a few weeks ago I bought line. I am going to do a makeshift line under my upper deck. I love pillows, towels and sheets hung on the line! I also enjoy being outside and hanging them out.