Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Wash

22.8F, the temperature this morning when I hung the laundry.

In April, I switched from using our gas dryer to hanging clothes outside on a line. Most of the time, it's been enjoyable - working outside, surrounded by whatever is in bloom, knowing I'm saving money and energy.


And the more I've done it, the easier it gets, as I figure out little ways to make it easier. Like, keep the clothespins in the pockets of a spare apron; wear the apron when hanging or removing clothes from the line; use an adjustable-height pole (a gift from my very kind neighbor who noticed my dilemma) to prop up the line to keep the clothes off the grass ; wash clothes when there is enough for a load, rather than waiting a week and washing multiple loads on the same day, so there is enough room on the line.

April, BC
Before my neighbor's gift of a Clothesline-prop)

But I've been wondering whether I will be willing to continue once the weather turns cold.

So - I've had a few opportunities to try it out.

What I've learned:
  • When removing the clothes from the washer, either hang on a hanger or put clothespins on each item before placing in the laundry basket to take outside. It minimizes the time spent outside with fingers freezing.
  • Whatever can be hung on a hanger, do so; it saves space on the line - and it's quicker to hang up once outside. If it might slide off the hanger (V-necked pullovers), secure it with a clothespin.
  • If it's snowing a little, and it's a dry snow, that's OK. It doesn't seem to stick to the clothes.
  • If the clothes aren't dry by dusk, and a dry night and day are in the forecast, leave them on the line until the next day.
  • It's better not to hang clothes in the shadow of the garage, as they don't dry very well (this wasn't much of a problem in the warm weather).
  • And, the one I learned today (temperature: 22 F): find those old glove liners from downhill skiing days, and wear them while hanging and unpegging the laundry. Keep them clipped to the clothespin apron so they are always in reach.
It's hard to see, but these are silver-sparkly.
And reduce frozen fingers.

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