Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clothespins and the Clothesline Back to Basics Reduce Energy Use

The most practical way of reducing your energy use is to use clothespins  and a clothesline.   When I first came to the Jarvis House in 1975 I had a wooden "T" bar clothesline with four lines.  But it was hard to mow around and the trees grew up around it blocking some of the light.  It finally rotted.
The electric dryer was used even in beautiful weather.  Then two years my dryer gave out.  I decided to try to hang clothes outside for a few weeks in the summer.
I bought this retractable line at the large orange home store.  I liked this a lot. When I wasn't hanging clothes I could wind up the thing and it was out of sight!  On the new plastic line there was a plastic nipple on the bottom of the box which is used to wrap the cord around, to secure and keep the line tight.
 Because I usually do two loads of wash, a white, then a dark load, I needed more line to  hang the wet clothes on.
 Then this wonderful vintage retractable line turned up at the thrift store.  I grabbed it and hung it by myself on the barn, near the first line.  The line is secured by wrapping it around the metal wheel.   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that probably a metal box and parts will last longer than plastic.
 This is the end of the vintage clothesline,
as compared to the plastic loop on the new line.
When I started hanging laundry outside, I made a clothespin bag like my mom's, from scrap fabric, a metal coat hanger and some cotton rope.  The coat hanger keeps the bag open and has a hook for attaching it to the line or someplace else that is convenient.
 Now believe it or not, after hanging clothes for my mom when I was a kid,  I learned from her the "ART" of pinning clothes on a line.  Long pants could be pinned upside down by the cuffs to keep them almost wrinkle free.
 Flats, like top sheets and tablecloths are hung like so and they dry quickly, even if you double them up.  Also no wrinkles.
 O.K.  fitted sheets are hard ot hang and fold, but the convenience of the elastic makes up for the strange shape.
 There are many, many different kinds of clothespins.  Some are  single pieces of wood, like the "doll" pins, some are flat pins, some have the metal spring between two pieces of wood or two plastic pieces, some are made from springy plastic shapes.
I could hang the bag on the line while I was working.
 O.K. even me, the original nerd, wears cotton panties, and I don't go anywhere without socks!  There is a special way of hanging underwear.  It makes it easy to match socks too.  And single socks do not get lost in the dryer.
 You can hang blouses straight across, or
by the collar,
 or upside down matching the seams and hanging the shirt bottom in a straight way.

Towels hang straight like sheets.
 Plastic  laundry baskets can be used if you cannot find wicker baskets.
Because the Jarvis House has a back door entry, I have a laundry closet next to the washing machine and dryer sectioned off so that these basket  with  dirty laundry can be  hidden.  The vacuum, detergent, and garbage bags fit in too.
I learned the hard way that washing machine hoses can rupture.  This happened once when I was at work and the washer had been turned on.  It rained on my pantry for hours.  Now I have reinforced hoses and a water main shut off for vacations.
The thermostat on an old dryer quit and kept on heating even when the drum had stopped spinning.  Luckily the washer is near the back door and I smelled the heat. In poor weather I rely on the electric dryer, but I unplug the dryer and clean the lint trap  after each use. Also, I  clean the large vent hose frequently, including the trap door outside the house.
Other items are hung to minimize wrinkles.
Another  way of hanging jeans and slacks.
After the clothes have dried, they are sorted and folded and  have that wonderful outdoor clean smell.  They have tried to replicate that aroma on dryer sheets, but if you have hung clothes outside, you know the real thing when you hold air dried clothes up to your face, or lie down on bed sheets that have been air dried.
In really hot weather the clothes dry faster and of course you are doing a "green" thing by using solar power instead of electric power.   There is also a serene quality to hanging clothes outside and looking at the garden, the greenery, your mind goes to a nice place.  This is a truly rewarding activity on many levels.  Maybe the "back to basics" methods will help us in the new economy. 

1 comment:

lisa hermanson said...

Nice display of all the different kinds of clothespins - I didn't know there were so many styles!!