How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline
You can watch our video demonstration about How to Hang Clothes On a Clothesline here.
Many people want to learn to hang clothes on a clothesline whether they want to save money, save the environment or just because line drying clothes makes them smell so nice. What many of us don’t realize is how much line drying will save in wear and tear on clothing. Unfortunately, after the first attempt or two at hanging clothes on a clothesline, many people get frustrated and quit.
It seems like hanging clothes on the clothesline should be a simple thing. How hard can it be to stick a clothespin on the fabric and put it on a line? Alas, as many of us have found out, if you don’t follow certain guidelines the results are stiff and wrinkled clothes.
Like so many other homemaking skills, there is an art to hanging clothes on a clothesline. It takes practice to get it right so don’t give up if it seems difficult the first time around. With practice, you will be able to hang an average load of laundry in about five minutes and take them down in about the same amount of time, keeping them as wrinkle free and soft as if you dried them in the dryer, so keep at it.
Here are a few things you will need to know before you start:
I do these things to keep my laundry items “dryer” soft. You can do one or all of these if you want.
- If I have a dryer, I always fluff my clothes in the dryer for about five minutes before I hang them on the clothesline. This uses almost no electricity and it makes the clothes just as soft as if you had run them through the full cycle in the dryer.When I don’t have a dryer, I try to hang my clothes on a windy day. It has the same effect as a drying in a dryer. In Kansas, that can be almost every day but, for those of you who live where a five mile per hour breeze is considered a gale force wind, don’t despair. There are other things you can do. : )
- Just before I hang each piece of clothing on the clothesline, I give it a sharp snap or shake. For shirts or some pant legs, I hold them from the bottom when I snap them. This won’t take as long as you think. I just give the item a snap as I am going from the laundry basket to the clothesline, so I’m ready to hang it when I get up to the line. You don’t need to do this with everything, like socks or underwear. Generally, you only need to snap things that you don’t want wrinkled or things that you want soft like towels.
- I always use fabric softener, but you could also use vinegar.
- Fading: Here in Kansas, the humidity is high enough that the sky is hazy and diffuses the sun’s rays slightly so I don’t have much of a problem with sun fading. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, fading was a real problem. If you find that to be the case where you live, just turn dark items like jeans or t-shirts inside out.It also helps slow the fading to bring clothes in from the clothesline as soon as they are dry. Conversely, I leave my whites out as long as I can because it bleaches and brightens them.
- You will need clothespins and a clothespin bag or apron. You can get clothespins and bags at Walmart or at dollar stores. They are usually sold with things like ironing board covers. I prefer a clothespin apron. I made my own clothespin apron so it would perfectly suit my needs. It is about ten inches long with just two large pockets on the front to store the clothespins. It ties around my waist like an apron. Regardless which you prefer, either a bag or apron is just fine.
Before You Start
Properly hanging clothes on a clothesline starts before you even leave the house. I know it may seem like I’m being a little too much like Martha Stewart in some of the next few tips I’ll be sharing but there is a method to my madness. Most of these things not only make hanging the clothes go faster but they also help speed up the process when I bring the clothes in, fold them and put them away.
If you are brand new to hanging clothes on a clothesline, don’t feel like you have to do all of these things at once. You may want to start by just practicing hanging things the way I will show you in part two of this post. After you get some experience hanging clothes on a clothesline, you may want to try these tips in order to speed things along.
Before I put the clothes in the laundry basket to take them outside, I quickly sort them on top of the washer or dryer. This doesn’t need to be done perfectly and it will get easier the more you do it. First, I pull out the big items like the sheets or tablecloths. I fold the sheets in half and gently lay them in the basket. Then, when I am ready to hang a sheet, I just pick it up out of the basket by its four corners and quickly hang it, since it is already folded and ready to go.
Then I prepare the pants or jeans. I fold the legs with the seams together and then I fold them in half and lay them on top of the sheets. This will make more sense when you see how I hang them.
Next, if there are any large towels, I pull them out and lay them in the basket.
Then I lay separate piles of like items on the washer or dryer- One pile of tee shirts all together, one of shirts together, another with hand towels together and so on. Then, I stack them into the basket with the largest items first, working my way up to the smallest items. You will understand more about why I do this when I explain about wind direction in part 2 of this post.
I lay the wash rags, dishrags and underwear in a flat pile with the corners together, like you would lay a stack of papers. I do this because then I can pick up the whole pile or half of the pile if it is very large it is and take it to the clothesline. Because the corners are together I can pin one corner after the other very quickly without having to go back and forth to the basket each time to get another pair of panties and I don’t have to stop to straighten each one. These smaller items go into the basket next.
Lastly, I organize the socks. I straighten out the socks and flatten them, laying them one on top of the other with the toes together. Again, I can pick up a stack of socks and quickly go along the line hanging them without having to return to the basket each time.
In part 2 of this post tomorrow, I will include pictures and explain how to hang clothes on a clothesline, including how to handle each of the different items.
Here is my video demonstration of how to hang clothes on a clothesline:
For more helpful tips to make organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our How To Organize And Clean Your Home e-books.
Here is a favorite poem of mine. I hope you enjoy it!
The Clothesline Said So Much
A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the fancy sheets
And towels on the line;
You’d see the company table clothes
With intricate design.
The line announced a baby’s birth
To folks who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.
The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed
You’d know how much they’d grown.
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It said, “Gone on vacation now”
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.
New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy gray,
As neighbors raised their brows,
And looked disgustedly away.
But clotheslines now are of the past
For dryers make work less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody’s guess.
I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!
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