B.B. Boudreau

Novelist | Singer

Small Things IV— Hanging Laundry

Among my choicest green practices is the meditative task of hanging laundry. I do have a dryer, but use it only sparingly and in the winter, but my clothesline dangles laundry even in January if the weather is favorable. Even frozen clothes dry eventually.

I was in high school before my parents bought a clothes dryer. I remember thinking we had “arrived,” with our new clothes dryer and color TV. I’ve hung plenty of clothes through the years. I grew up in neighborhoods with big backyards, where a clothesline was stretched tight between two T posts. Television revealed urban clothes lines strung between tall brick buildings in cities. What a cool concept.

For years, I envied that pulley system clothesline and finally in 1996, when we moved into a small apartment in the Fort in Gloucester, my wish came true. The clothesline was secured outside a window, making it a tough “on your knees” clothes hanging experience, but I loved it just the same. Then we bought a condo on the second floor of a house, and I had my husband rig a pulley clothesline that first week. I had arrived.

The deliciousness of the fresh natural air and sunshine embedded in fabric. Freshly hung sheets to plunge your face into. I swear it germinates pleasant dreams.

Energy efficiency and economy. Somehow, I feel like I’m getting away with something. Clothes dry for free. Why would I pay for dry clothes and natural aromatherapy?

The added bonus is the meditative ritual of hanging clothes. The squeak of the pulley; the dance of shirts in the breeze. I shake each item, hang the edge over the line, grasp a clothes pin from my mouth, clip, clip, squeak. Shake, hang, clip, clip, squeak. Each motion methodical, rehearsed. Each seam is exactly matched. Unanticipated rain shower? No matter. I just leave the wet clothes overnight and retrieve them the following day. These are the best aromas; rain, fresh air and sunshine.

Consider adding the humble clothesline to your life. The benefits will amaze you.

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