{Green Living} Ode to the Clothesline

Living in my small Michigan town the coming of Labor Day marks the end of summer.  As we say good-bye to the long days and warm weather, I also say good-bye to my clothesline.  I am not a hardcore clothesline user in that I do not use a clothesline for my regular laundry!  Kudos to those of you who do!!  If that was what you were looking for then you will find some great information from this past post.

Put Some Sunshine in Your Laundry the Eco-Friendly Way

For me, I use a clothesline to dry beach towels, heavy rugs that take too long to dry in the dryer, items I would rather not bring into my house all wet, and some photo shoots for my Etsy shop.  I have the simple retractable kind that I can take out and store away when I am not using it.  It just so happened that, the last time the satellite was overhead; they captured my clothesline out in the backyard.  I laughed when I saw it and was thankful I don’t have to hang my skivvies out on the line!

A clothesline evokes many feelings, but mostly those of nostalgia, which are best expressed in the following poem.

(Author Unknown)

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 upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”
With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby’s birth
From 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 also 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 and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much 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.

Do you use a clothesline?

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  1. We use the clothesline I grew up playing under with my brother & cousins at my Nannie & Grandpa’s house. Wonderful memories…

  2. I love my clothesline! And Linda, how sad… There is something so homey and comforting about the sun warmed, wind whipped fragrance of clean clothes.

    My grandma taught me to hang clothes. All underpants together, all washcloths together, pants etc. She had a Method and adhered to it. What would the neighbors think otherwise? That poem so reminded me of my grandma, God rest her soul!

  3. Love that poem! Nothing like the smell of freshly hung out clothes. When first married I was shocked to discover my in-laws felt it was low class to use a clothes line. Not much of an eco-friendly attitude there, a real shame.

  4. Great post! We have a retractable clothesline on the back of our house. I use it in the much the same way you do. Growing up in the country, we always hung out all the clothes, except in the winter!

  5. Great post! I love, love, LOVE hanging my clothes to dry –

  6. Cute post! I wish I could use a clothes line, but my condo association will fine me. Can you believe that?