I was very blessed to get to know my husbands Grandmother, Mrs. Minnie. She lived to be 97 and died in her sleep, a nice way to go. A fire ball red head in her younger days, she was pure fire to the end. She was also amazingly smart about life. Mrs. Minnie was a school teacher until she wed in her late 20's and went on to have 5 children. Sadly she was a widow before the oldest was 13. Mrs. Minnie sat on her front porch with a loaded shot gun when she learned the state was coming to divide her kids up between her brother in laws to raise. She did not use that gun, but I understand she did point it at the sheriff who said if she could keep "them kids fed and clothed," he would stay out of it. She did, all 5 went on to finish their education and 4 went on to graduate from college, one did not as he went to war.
Mrs. Minnie taught Sunday school for well over 50 years. She even taught in the nursing home were she spent her last few years. When I met her, she was kind and full of advise for our up coming marriage. She shared with me the modern things she liked, including the clothes drier. I recall her with great fondness saying to me,"I don't know why on earth anyone would hang out clothing to dry, it's just plain silly." I just smiled, I knew she was remembering her life in the early 1900's of Monday morning washing day, and line drying diapers in the middle of winter over the fire place. With all due respect, this is the one area I could not agree with Mrs. Minnie about. I have a passion about line drying clothing.
Automatic clothes driers use and waste a great deal of energy. I never understood running a hot machine in the middle of summer, and the air conditioner at the same time. More than that, line dried clothing last longer. The wear and tear in a drier breaks down the fabric much faster. Plus, I admit, the smell, oh the smell of fresh dried linens and towels, nothing makes my house smell better. So how do you successfully line dry? Believe it or not, there are some rules.
First, know if you can even have a clothes line on your property. City and other codes may not allow such. Then choose what works best with your yard and situation. I use a retractable line that will hold several loads, but when I am finished, even the poles are removed from the yard and the area goes back to normal. Small wooden folding units are great on non windy days or inside. Dry whites in full bright sun. This helps them to naturally bleach and will help get rid of any yellowing or stains. Dark colors do not need to be placed in full sun. dry late in the day or in the shade. Sometimes of the year many not be suitable due to pollen and allergies. For those times I hang the clothing up inside or if they have been outside and have pollen on them, toss in the drier on air fluff to clean them up.
You don't need to use fabric softener if you line dry, because there is no static cling. What I like best about line drying is the natural work out. Bending, stretching, carrying, walking, it's a physical workout. When my children where small, I had them help hand me clothes pins and count the number of shirts, socks, or whatever as a learning tool. When they were older, they helped fold and carry in the baskets of clothing.
How much do I save not using a drier? In all honestly I do not know in energy, but I do know in the cost of buying machines, have saved a couple thousand. I do know that the work out time, the time spend hanging out clothing bring me peace, and that is a savings as well.
I think of Mrs. Minnie sometimes when I see shirts blowing in the breeze, and I smile. I am happy she got to have her automatic drier and see so many advances in her life time. Yet I am happy I held onto a few old fashioned ways, if nothing more than to remember how things used to be done.....back when.