How to Hang Clothes On A Clothesline, Part 2
The way you hang your clothes on a clothesline can make a huge difference with regard to wrinkles, softness and how quickly various clothes items dry. When you have wrinkles in fabric it causes the clothes to be rough. Iron those wrinkles out and it softens the clothes. That’s why curing wrinkles and increasing softness go hand in hand.
Here is how you hang different items of clothes on a clothesline:
Jeans and Pants
Hang jeans or pants by the legs. Then the water will wick down to the heaviest part of the jean (the waistband). The weight of that water and the waistband combined will pull on the pant legs, pulling out the wrinkles. This is why when you steam a garment you are supposed to gently pull on it.
You can pull the pockets out if you want. I don’t usually pull out pockets because they seem to get dry, even here in humid Kansas.
Shirts and Blouses
Hang shirts and blouses upside down by the side seams. Just like with the jeans, this also puts the heaviest part of the garment at the bottom so that the water wicks out as I described above. Additionally, you won’t get the puckers from the clothespins that you get if you hang shirts by the shoulders.
When hanging a tee shirt on a clothesline, bring the side seams together, gather the center and gently pull. Then hang the shirt upside down by the bottom. You don’t need to pull all your tee shirts. I have a few tee shirts that don’t seem to hang right so, in order to prevent the pointy sides you can get on some tee shirts, I do this. I normally don’t use this process for the kids’ shirts because they aren’t as much of a problem.
To hang a fitted sheet, I tuck one corner into another, fold it in half and hang on the clothesline by each end with the pockets (or corners) hanging down.
For a flat sheet, I just fold it in half and hang on the line.
Underwear and Socks
If you don’t want the whole world to see your undies or “smalls” as our English friends call them hanging on the clothesline, you can hang them on the back line or in the two lines in the middle. Hang socks by the toes. I usually hang a pair of socks together. This saves time and you use fewer clothespins.
When you’re ready to hang clothes on a clothesline, it is nice to have a stand to set your basket on. Then you won’t have to bend over each time you need one clothing item. Even a small table or chair helps. Tawra has this metal wire mesh table with metal legs that she uses. Years ago, I got a shopping cart from a grocery store auction and it was just perfect for me. It was the right height and I could roll it to wherever I needed it. I made the mistake of getting rid of it once when I moved. Now I use a stand from the 1950’s that I found at a garage sale. It looks like the legs you’d see on a TV tray but with a canvas bag on it. It is the perfect height for hanging clothes on a clothesline and has a place for the clothespins on the side.
Taking Clothes Off The Clothesline
These last photos are just pictures of me taking down a flat sheet and folding it as I took it down. I fold many clothes and things as I take them off of the line so almost everything is folded by the time I take it into the house. It takes so little time that I was folding things faster than Tawra could take the pictures. Less than 30 seconds. I even did it handicapped because I was holding a towel under my arm. 😉
Here are a few additional tips:
When you hang your clothes on a clothesline, make a note of which way the wind is blowing and hang your clothes so that the smaller items are in the front. That way the wind can pass through to dry the large things at the back. If you put the large things in front, they block the wind from getting to the smaller items behind them, unless you need to hide your undies like I mentioned earlier.
Always bring your clothespins in at the end of the day. The clothespins will last longer and bringing them in prevents black marks on your clothes that can happen when the clothespins are left out.
It you haven’t used your clothesline in a while, run a rag along the lines to clean them off before hanging the clothes. You don’t have to clean the lines often but I do recommend cleaning them in the spring if you haven’t used the clothesline all winter or if you have gone a couple of weeks without using it.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed when you first hang clothes on a clothesline. This is a lot of information. Take it slowly. If you’re just beginning, start by just hanging sheets out for a while and dry the rest of your clothes in the dryer. Then later, before you go outside, look at the picture of the jeans and note how I hung them. Practice putting the legs together by the seams. Then on another day you could practice with just socks and so on.
When you’re first trying to use a clothesline, start with baby steps so you don’t get frustrated and give up. It takes practice– lots of practice, so keep trying. If you have major problems, comment and I will try to help!
PS One of our readers, Jenni, said she found my laundry cart at Miles Kimble.
For more helpful tips to make organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our Keeping It Clean e-books.
Here is my video demonstration of how to hang clothes on a clothesline: