Learn how to use your clothesline the right way! #homemaking #homesteading #sustainbleliving #frugal

Tips for Using Your Clothesline

You’ve moved out to the country (or maybe you still live in town- that’s ok, too!) and you’re all pumped about your new homesteading adventure!

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You’re going to get back to the land and not be so dependent on outside forces to keep you going, right??

And one of those new homesteading ventures is to use less electricity!

One of the great ways to lower your electricity consumption is to use what God gave us to dry our clothes- sunshine and wind! (We have an abundance of wind in Kansas, let me tell ya!)

And who doesn’t love the smell of getting into sundried sheets at night after a hard day’s work on the farm???

Let me tell you, though, I see a lot of people who use a clothesline, but don’t know how to use one efficiently.

So, I’m here to give you my wisdom of using a clothesline, accumulated from about 30 years of my life (I was probably around 8 when I could really reach the line well…)

I grew up using a clothesline and, while I may have grumbled when I had to help Mom with laundry, I did learn to love all the advantages of a clothesline.  I didn’t appreciate the money savings until I was married, but I did love the smell of the clothes 🙂

Tips for Using Your Clothesline

Tip 1:

First of all, before you ever hang a stitch of clothing out, you must have the proper set up!  Yes, you can get by in a pinch with a rope between two trees, but if you’re really wanting to make line drying a joy rather than a chore, having the proper tools definitely helps!

On that note, I have two clothesline poles that are welding together from old oil field pipe.  Jeff made mine, but if you or your husband doesn’t have access to a welder, I’m sure you can find someone to do it for you.  Building wooden ones are also an option.  I found this tutorial on how to build a set of wooden clothesline poles 🙂

Learn tips on how to use your clothesline from a veteran farmwife! #sustainableliving #homesteading #homemaking
See my aqua pole in the background?

Tip 2:

After you have your poles, you need the actual clothesline, right?

I’m here to tell you, you want plastic covered wire NOT rope!  I made the mistake this spring of buying rope (I was in a hurry and not paying attention!).  I went ahead and put it up and it is not nearly as good as wire!  My clothes sag really bad-especially jeans and overalls and anything else heavy.

Learn tips on how to use your clothesline from a veteran farmwife! #sustainableliving #homesteading #homemaking
This is not a camera angle trick! This is the difference between the height of the wire clothesline in the back and a rope clothesline in the front. Note how much the rope sags!

And- don’t use uncoated wire because that can cause rust stains on your clothes!

Tip 3:

Another important thing is to make sure your clothesline is hung very tight!  If it’s not, again you can have the problem of sagging clothes.

The easiest way to do that is to use a wire tensioner for electric fence.  Using one of these also allows you to tighten your clothesline over time because I can guarantee it will start to stretch!

Learn tips on how to use your clothesline!

Tip 4:

After you have your clothesline wire strung on your poles, you’re already to hang your clothes out, right??

Well, not quite…..

You will also need clothes pins!

I highly, highly, highly recommend getting the good wooden clothespins.  And not all wooden ones are created equal.  I have found that the cheap Wal-Mart ones work in a pinch, but don’t hold up as well.  I keep my eye out for these….

Learn how to use your clothesline from a veteran farmwife! #sustainableliving #frugalliving #homesteading #homemaking
Note the two grooves in the top of the clothespin? Clothespins that look like this are usually good and sturdy. If they are shorter with a flat wood, usually they are cheap and flimsy. I have actually found these good wooden pins at my local non-big-box grocery store in our tiny town!  Or you can find them at Amazon 🙂

After you get your clothespins, then you are all set to save money, be less dependent on electricty and use your new, awesome clothesline!

Tip 5:

But, there is an efficient way to use one and a completely inefficient way.

So, let me give you a quick lesson on the best way to USE your clothesline!

The most efficient way to hang up your clothes and to maximize your clothesline length is to overlap your clothes as you hang them!  A pet peeve of mine is to see clotheslines being used in the movies and each piece of clothing is taking up enough clothesline real estate to hang a quilt, lol!

Overlap those clothes, K??

Learn how to use your clothesline the right way! #sustainableliving #homesteading #homemaking #frugal

Now, with heavier fabrics, like denim, I recommend hanging them up without overlapping, otherwise they can take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to dry.

The other thing I do is I usually hang two socks together.  It’s astounding how much space 20 socks can take up if you hang them individually 🙂

I also double over my tea towels.  They are really large, but very thin, so they dry just as fast being folded as hung, but take up half the amount of space.

As you may have noticed in my pictures, I generally hang shirts right side up, which works fine most of the time.  But, Jeff’s t-shirts get weirdly puckered up at the shoulders when I do this, so I hang his upside down.  On the day I took pictures, it was Reece’s laundry day 🙂

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with hanging your clothes.  If you find a way that you and your family prefer, then by all means, do it that way!


There you have it!  All of my clothesline wisdom that was passed on to me by my mother or that I have learned as a farmwife and mom 🙂

Enjoy the process of hanging out your laundry in God’s magnificent creation!  I use it as an excuse to smell the air and take a little break from indoor housework.  Plus, the smell of the laundry when you bring it in and fold it just can’t be beat.  Almost makes folding it and putting it away somewhat bearable, right?? 😉

Learn how to use your clothesline the right way! #homemaking #homesteading #sustainbleliving #frugal

Share with us your clothesline tips!  What lessons have your learned?

Melinda Donley
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