little life lesson

February 12, 2011|Posted in: appreciation, family, gratitude, green, My World and Welcome to It, random, sustainable living


I’m finding it a little harder than I thought to completely stop using the dryer. It’s been sunny, there is no snow, and yet the dryer is RIGHT THERE next to the washer. So instead of just reaching over, I have to lug a wet, heavy basket outside, spend the time hanging this stuff out, shaking it, etc. Then I have to wait several hours and then bring it back in. What a pain in the *ss.

The difference is in attitude. If I look at it as a chore, as a pain in the tuchus, then it will be. If I look at hanging the clothes dry as a mitzvah (gift) I can give to the earth and to our budget, it’s a lot easier to do. I try to feel gratitude for being outside in fresh air, for the good smell of line-dried clothes, and for the opportunity to hang clothes when many people can’t (snow, or HOA rules, or whatever).

And, even bigger picture, I am grateful for having this many clothes to wash, a clean place to wash and hang them, for not having to wash them in a place where other people bathe, poop and drink, and competing with fish and crocodiles for the water. Many things about the process make me grateful.

And last, as local writer Adair Lara used to say, hanging out my clothes, and my family’s clothes, gives me a chance to think about each of them in turn. About The Boy’s kung fu accomplishments as I hang up his practice clothes. About Mr. Husband’s job as I hang up his shirts and socks. About our German student as I hang her things. About the family dinner, as I hang up napkins and placemats. About the party I went to when I wore this dress. Good times and hard times. It’s all good in its way.

Attitude of gratitude.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.



    February 12, 2011

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    Not sure if this appeals to you, but one thing that helped me make the shift to hanging out everything, virtually never using the dryer, is using lots of hangers and clip-hanging very little.

    I don’t know if this actually saves time or not, but somehow I don’t mind to do it and even enjoy getting everything onto hangers and then hanging them on the line as if on a closet pole. It also seems like things are more wear-ready and need less ironing, if it’s an ironing-required item. It also seems easier to bring things in and out on an armload of hangers. My basket of things left to hang is pretty light.

    This convenience may be all in my mind, because most of the things on hangers have to come off again before being put away!

    I hang all clothes, including husband’s undershirts. (I hang his undershorts and my underthings on skirt hangers and hang them inside, in the laundry room). I hang pants on skirt hangers. I drape rows of socks over plastic tube hangers and put the hangers on the line.

    I put towels and washcloths and such on foldable drying racks, which might or might not be easier than hanging them up with clips, but it works for me, and if I see it’s starting to rain I can run out and grab the drying rack and put it under an overhang outside or bring it inside and let the drying finish inside.

    I also find the hanger-drying good for that reason too. I can run out and scoop off an armload of hanging laundry at the threat of rain, get them inside quickly and hang them up around the house to dry.

    The only thing I can think that I actually hang with clips is big stuff like sheets and blankets. And when I do that, I can still put hangers over the front or back of the hanging sheets and everything dries fine.

    Between hangers and drying racks, I manage all my laundry on one line that’s maybe 10-12 feet long.

    Not traditional, but it makes a difference for me between not minding the drying and finding it a big pain. And I love seeing everything on hangers on the line. It just looks pretty and orderly and like it’s laundry all done (even though it’s not), and patting me on the back.


    February 14, 2011

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    I, also, hang many clothes on hangers to dry on the line. Yes, half-dried laundry on hangers comes into the house more quickly than ones attached to the line with clothespins. Hangers are space-savers on my one short line.


    Jon Spangler
    April 27, 2011

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    Because of our allergies, line-drying outside is not an option for us, but we n make the most of our two folding drying racks and the two clip-type hanging racks we have. We air-dry underwear, sox, many shirts and pants, and t-shirts in our small apartment, and the racks fold away when not in use. (I also use one of the clip-racks for drying plastic bags I’ve washed for re-use.)

    To kill off the allergens ands such we have to dry sheets and towels in the dryer, but those are only about 1/4 to 1/3 of our total laundry….

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