Clothesline makes a comeback

With good humor, neighbors endured my backyard clothesline for over 20 years. I’d hook it up on laundry day and take it down when the clothes came in. A few years ago, a neighbor in a two-family house finally succumbed. She converted the line for the dog’s lead, next to her kitchen door, into a clothesline - a few items at first. As time went by, it was used more often. Now the dog is hooked to a lead by the garage, liberating the line for 100 percent laundry use. 

This spring another neighbor a few doors down started hanging wet laundry on a clothesline!  Something is definitely happening.   

I grew up in New York City where people still hang the wash out on clotheslines. Travel in Europe and you see tourists photographing colorful clotheslines. Even my University Heights house came equipped with a system of them suspended from the ceiling in the basement for winter wash. 

Clevelanders used the sun to dry clothes once, but it became unfashionable. And so, we towed the line. 

Our days of pariah-hood for using backyard clotheslines are over. Whatever the reason: high cost of electricity (dryers use five to 10 percent of residential energy); the great feeling of being “green”; need to get rid of aged related flab (a great workout); getting the Vitamin D we need from the sun or just loving the smell and feel of clothes and sheets dried in the fresh air (sun dried fabrics last longer) - you no longer are a pariah. 

Phone calls to University Heights and Cleveland Heights city halls confirmed, you may have permanent backyard clotheslines. And contrary to urban myth, even our venerable neighbor to the south allows backyard clotheslines.  

Want to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to FutureHeights? Seitz-Agin Hardware on Lee Road will donate $1 to FutureHeights for each clothesline they sell if you mention FutureHeights or the Heights Observer. A 50-foot clothesline sells for only $3.79 and a retractable system for $26.49.   

Mmmmm, can’t you just smell that sunshine on your pillowcase?

Anita Kazarian is a freelance writer and University Heights resident. 

Read More on Home & Garden
Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.22.2009