Who knew drying clothes outside on a clothesline is illegal in some states? ME EITHER!  Apparently it is also illegal in Paris. France.  HUH??? Whwhwhwhatttt??? You can’t have your clean, freshly laundered clothing outdoors?  I never heard of such.  But in one of my “green” newsletters that came in today’s email there was an article about Alexander Lee and his decade of activism in trying to change this.

I have to tell you I am stunned. I mean, I have spent, probably too much, time this morning researching where and why.  That is something I would have never considered illegal.  Of course I have always lived in the country.  I don’t have a clothesline at present, but this makes me want to put one up.  I find it kinda absurd.  I mean maybe I am just not thinking this thing through but why in the world couldn’t a person hang their laundry?  Maybe in big cities they don’t want the whole “drawers hanging across the streets” like I remember seeing in old movies and such.  That is the only reason I could think of.  But not everyone has a dryer.  Or a washer for that matter.

When we finally replaced our 20 year old dryer that was taking at least two cycles to semi-dry a load and  replaced our green Maytag washer (that I have no idea how old it was because we inherited it and it was old then but I am thinking it was at least 30 years old) with a Fisher & Paykel, it was amazing how much laundry we could get done in 1/4 the time.  Not to mention cost. The clothes came out of the new washer  almost dry due to the exceptional spinning cycle of the new washer and then a dryer that actually dried the clothes instead of just tumbling them until we got impatient and took them out anyway- there is no telling what we saved in energy costs.  So I did a little figuring to see how much our family spends to wash and dry our clothes per month.  Now this is based on information I got from several websites and is general cost per/load and not pertaining to a specific brand of washer or dryer or how new the appliances are.  And believe me that makes a difference.


Wow, if my math is right (and these estimations are anywhere close to being accuate) we spend nearly $750 per year just to wash and dry clothes.  That’s not counting detergent and my obsession with dryer sheets and electricity to run the water well and pump it to the house.  I know, Iknow…don’t lecture me about the dryer sheets.  The previously mentioned well water is a lovely shade of raw sienna and if it is real hot weather and it sits in the tank very long it smells a bit like pond water.  Not a thing we own stays white for more than 3-4 washes.  NO! We don’t drink or cook with this water.  We have a high dollar reverse osmosis thingy.

Anyway back to this crazy illegal clothesline thing, Project Laundry List is working hard to make air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy. And is petitioning the White House to restore the right to line dry your laundry. This may seem like a ridiculously extreme measure to go to but good grief…if I want a clothesline (and after all this research I most certainly do!) then I intend to have one.  This is AMERICA people!  So yeah, I signed the petition.  Now to convince Husband about the clothesline idea.

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Haha, I had almost forgotten how much laundry more than two people generate (I do about 3 loads of laundry A WEEK and that’s including sheets and rugs).

While I won’t lecture about dryer sheets, I will say that I stopped using them a couple months ago and really haven’t noticed much difference other than my towels are much more absorbent now. And oddly enough, I think I actually prefer the way our sheets feel without them.

When you were all at home and we had one in diapers, sometimes we did 6 -7 loads a day. WHEW. And remember when we lived in the blue house, I hung a lot of it. Now tell me again why I have half the people in my house now therefore half the laundry, cooking, cleaning and I get only half as much work done. OHHH yeah! Computer.

Interesting. I had no idea hanging clothes could even be considered illegal. My parents always had a clothes line. For years, my Mom never ran the dryer. Then one day she decided she had it, so why not use it? And she gave up the clothesline! Now, my Dad still hangs his clothes on the line. I don’t like how stiff his towels are, but he says he likes them that way!!

wow that is crazy.


I just have to chime in on this one! I have a clothesline. I have lived in subdivisions where it was against the rules to have a clothesline. At one house I asked my neighbors if I could put up a clothesline and they didn’t mind. My husband makes the most beautiful clothesline poles and I have had them at every house except in the desert where I could put my clothes on a rack and they would be dry in an hour.
By the way, my neighbors wanted clotheslines after that and there went the rules!
I live in the northeast where winter is severe and when there is a sunny day my sheets are on the line and they smell awesome in the winter air. And last but not least, hanging up clothes is exercise! Also it has social value. The energy saved would be astronomical. And remember the days when our Mother’s hung out clothes and talked to the neighbors who were hanging up clothes?? Let’s start talking, exercising and hanging out our laundry!!

Susan, This is one of the things I love about you and your blog…. you write about the most unusual and thought provoking subjects… love it and you!

My mom hung out her wash… and I had to bring it in each afternoon and fold the clothes!

I was just thinking the other day… how I would love to hang out my clothes.

Victoria in Houston

Just found your blog through – The Retro Housewife.

I have to say that a “visible” clothesline is illegal in my neighborhood as well. It’s against the CCR’s for the community. But I’ve had one in my backyard for the past 9 years and they are the poles I made my husband move from our other house where I had them for 3 years! All summer I hang my clothes out. I fluff them in the dryer and then hang them on the line. I get laundry done so quickly that way. I think it’s better for our clothes as well. One great benefit – it makes ironing the clothes that need it much much easier! Sheets don’t even go in the dryer in the summer – straight to the line from the washer and they smell sooooo good! I like the energy savings as well! I can’t believe they would continue to be illegal in this age of “green”.
I say go for it with putting one up at your house! Once you get used to using it, it’s wonderful!
I look forward to reading more of your blog.

You should absolutely put up a clothesline! It’s America baby! I have one and I LOVE it. I estimate that I save about $25 a month using it. It’s good therapy too. Think of all the money I’m saving on that!

Just found your blog. Absolutely love it.