Flappin’ In The Wind

As I was updating WinnsboroToday.com this morning I ran across this item on Fox News:
Carin Froehlich pegs her laundry to three clotheslines strung between trees outside her 18th-century farmhouse, knowing that her actions annoy local officials who have asked her to stop.

Froehlich is among the growing number of people across America fighting for the right to dry their laundry outside against a rising tide of housing associations who oppose the practice despite its energy-saving green appeal.

Although there are no formal laws in this southeast Pennsylvania town against drying laundry outside, a town official called Froehlich to ask her to stop drying clothes in the sun. And she received two anonymous notes from neighbors saying they did not want to see her underwear flapping about.

“They said it made the place look like trailer trash,” she said, in her yard across the street from a row of neat, suburban houses. “They said they didn’t want to look at my ‘unmentionables.'”

Froehlich says she hangs her underwear inside. The effervescent 54-year-old is one of a growing number of Americans demanding the right to dry laundry on clotheslines despite local rules and a culture that frowns on it.

I couldn’t believe it the first time I read about a homeowners association telling folks they couldn’t hang clothes outside. I mean, I understand about not wanting to see someone’s underwear “flapping in the breeze” but the rest of the objections are ridiculous.

Not only is it eco-friendly to dry items outside, there is that delicious smell of sheets baked in the sun that no scented dryer sheet can match. I can remember as a child lugging the basket of wet clothes up the stairs from the basement where the washing machine was. Then my sister and I would race to see who could fill a line first. Then late in the day we would go back out to get the clothes and bring all that sweet, outdoor smell into the house.

For many years after that I continued to hang a lot of my linens and clothes outside. Thank goodness this was before homeowners associations deciding what folks could do. I no longer hang much outside — too many birds that christen whatever I put out — but I do try to save energy by lightly fluffing t-shirts, jeans, fleece items, and heavy towels and then hanging them on hangers to finish drying.

What about you? Do you do anything to save energy? What do you think about the restrictions on hanging clothes outside?

5 thoughts on “Flappin’ In The Wind”

  1. I live in an apartment, so I can’t dry my clothes outside. I wish I could. When we dried our clothes outside, the solution to the unsightly unmentionables problem was simple. Hang them on the middle line, with other clothes on the outer lines. Bingo! The undies are neatly hidden between parallel walls of shirts and pants. People who object to the sight of a clothes line in use really need to find a grip.

  2. I live in an apartment but I do put some of my clothes on a drying rack on the balcony. No one has complained. Drying things outside not only conserves energy makes the dried clothes smell like the sun…

    Home associations can be quite the bullies!

    For other conservation, I also make sure to unplug things I’m not using.

  3. I save a lot of energy now that my kids are out of the house, LOL! No more thermostat wars, washer/dryer not running 24/7, refrigerator door is never left standing open. I keep blinds open and lights out all day long, unplug appliances not in use, and I’ve found I hardly have to drive anymore and I consolidate trips when I do. Even in a minivan, a tank of gasoline lasts me about six weeks or so.

    As for HOA’s — I’ll save that rant for another time. Suffice it to say I’ll NEVER buy a house requiring membership in one.

    I met one of my dearest friends while hanging out a load of diapers. Arlene was my back fence neighbor, and we both were outside one morning, hanging up a load of diapers, and we both had our six month old babies sitting in a laundry basket playing with clothespins. Every morning after that, we’d hang out our load of diapers and then chat over the fence. When our children became toddlers, we laughed as they ran through the sheets on the line, playing hide and seek. I miss my clothesline and Arlene (she’s moved away now), but we had some wonderful years as young mothers together.

  4. Beth, thanks for reminding me of the memories of meeting a neighbor while hanging clothes. I met one of my nicest neighbors that way. But I was hanging clothes and she was sun bathing. 🙂

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