Clothesline Ladies Unite!

country life, For Fun, humor, living, photography



Dear Sophisticated Darlene,


I’ve been reading your site for eons, okay, really, just for two days, but I’m super duper impressed with your wide array of sophisticated knowledge. I hope, hope, hope that you will pull my question from your frilly, ribbon-ensconced, satin-lined hatbox to answer in next week’s advice column. I have a question for you about, oh, it pains me even to type this word, a question about clotheslines. What is with these country folks who think it’s a-okay to hang their laundry outside?


Cherishing you &

Wondering in Washington.



Uh, okay.


So, buckaroos, obviously miss Wondering in Washington has me mixed up with someone else – some wise and wonderful woman who oozes forth a classy and refined diversification of housekeeping talents, probably not seen since the likes of June Cleaver and her Leave It To Beaver days.


Oh well, I’ve been called worse. But, since I aim my pistola at paper plate targets, err, since I aim to please, I’ll go ahead and answer her query here in my very own advice column entitled Simple Stuff You Should Already Know!


And as a reward, this time I’m gonna throw in some countrified how-to and bonus bits; ya know, just in case she wants to leave her quagmire of high-class socialites and join us in the lineage of ladies with laundry lines.



Simple Stuff You Should Already Know!

Clothesline Etiquette -n- Rules for the Beginner:


1. These are hard and fast. Set in stone. Don’t mess with ‘em or the earth may tilt off its axis and we’ll all land in our wicker baskets (ha! I bet you thought I was gonna say something else right there).


2. Wash your skuzzy, dirty clothes. From all of my experience, it is safest, easiest, and best to do it indoors. You can use a regular washing machine, be it a top-loader or front-loader, it don’t rightly matter; you can use your granny’s old wringer, or you can scrub it on a board in the bathtub. But, do not, I repeat, do not, slip into the city pool via moonlight for what we country folk refer to as a Two-fer-Deal.


Apparently neked diving and laundry washing creates a neighborhood ruckus when the lady of the house dons her birthday suite, pours copious amounts of detergent into the pool, and repeatedly cannon balls off the high dive, all while yelling, Calgon, take me awaaaayyyyy! Oh, it’s true, with this method you can wash fifteen pairs of Wranglers at a time, but sister, a night in the pokey with your black plastic bag full o’ soggy laundry just ain’t worth it. Trust me. I mean, don’t ask me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.


3. After you wash your dirty clothes (indoors), you may refer to it as “laundry,” but not before. Before it’s met the soap-suds-n-water, it’s just a bunch of stinky ole socks and dingy dungarees.


Tote your wet laundry outside. Put the basketful on the ground. Proceed to fasten the clothespin hanger thing underneath your armpits with orange (or blue, as it may be) baling twine. If you cannot tie a slipknot, tie what I fondly refer to as a knife-knot. Be sure to keep your pocketknife in your pocket.


(Bonus note) Remember to place all undergarments on the outermost edges of the line, making sure to pin your husband’s whitey-tighteys and your son’s red and blue rimmed Spidey underwear, so that the saggy parts all face your neighbors and/or the street. You sure as shootin’ don’t wanna look at that all day.


4. If you’ve run outta clothesline room and still have sheets to hang out, just toss ‘em into the nearest tree. Better yet, if you live in town and share a fence line with someone, drape your sheets right over that property boundary line. You might have to secure the edges with a wee bit o’ duct tape, but be considerate about it—when you are finished, leave the sticky stuff on the fence for your neighbor’s use.


5. Now go away. I mean it. This is partial off-grid living business is tough. You’ve worked hard and you deserve a break. Load the lines full o’ laundry and then go to the movies, or better yet, go to your husband’s work and press a cardboard sign up to his window that says Honey, I sorted, soaked, and hung up your underwear today. I love you bunches. Truly yours, your lovely lovable laundry lady.


(Bonus note) While you are out and about and the radio crackles with a severe high wind warning weather alert, stop at the store and buy new sheets.


6. If you opt to stay home whilst your laundry flaps in the breeze, you must frequently go outside and bury your nose in the linens and sniff away, sister. The ozone-fresh smell is a pleasing aroma to any woman. If your kiddos are home with you, do not, under any circumstances, allow them to copy you, otherwise you’ll be washing those freshly jam-hand-smeared pajamas again.


7. Whether or not to fold laundry at the line as you place it in your basket or cram it into said basket and fold it indoors, is a highly debated clothesline topic. The more disorganized among us lean toward the latter. Well, some of us climb a ladder, but we are talking about the later latter, not the rung-ed ladder right now, lovely laundry ladies.


Alrighty then, whichever option you choose, be sure to shake all manner of spiders, bees, stinkbugs, and homemade pirate swords from your clothes. There is nothin’ more alarming than to witness your husband as he runs through the house at dawn’s early light whilst he screams, smacks at his backside, and strips off his work clothes because something bit, stung, sprayed, or poked him. And if you haven’t yet used the pot and/or drank your morning java, this can be quite an invigorating way to start the day.


8. No, I’m not ignoring Wondering in Washington; I’m just setting the stage for a direct approach to that gal’s questions. What is with these folks who think it’s a-okay to hang their laundry outside? Please see the reason list below… as if my how-to public service message wasn’t enough.


– It’s a free, solar-powered drier. Get with the greenie program.


– It’s purty to see all them colors in yonder breeze. Some folks hang modern art on their interior walls; while the more sharable among us, consider our flapping laundry to be nothing more (and nothing less) than outdoors art.


– It’s downright neighborly to gawk at one another’s laundry lines because it decreases speculative gossip. Here are some examples: (a) If the extra living room blanket is flappin’ in the breeze, the mister most likely spent the night on the couch. (b) If the entire set of child’s bedroom linens (and the pillow and the mattress) are hanging out upon your rising, you’ll know that John Junior did more than eat way too birthday cake last night. (c) If fifty-three towels are dryin’ in the breeze, the mister musta misread the do-it-yourself toilet installation manual. Again.


– It’s good exercise. What’s better, Sweatin’ to the Oldies or Sweatin’ with the Undies?



‘Nuf said. End of story. Period. Hasta la pasta. Hi-ho Silver, Away! Until next time. I lied. I’ve got one more thing: Countrified clothesline laundry ladies unite!




 My friend, miss Gretchen Louise is hosting



over at her place.

If you are a laundry lady or a laundry looker

or a clothesline creeper,

I reckon you’ll find something that suites your fancy.

Images, quotes, stories, tips, link-up, give-aways… it’s a veritable smorgasbord

of all things laundry-related.

Oh yeah, and I better come clean,

my clothesline was copied from the one her husband built her.

Who needs to re-invent the line?




* What’s your funny clothesline soggy saga? Do tell. 




15 thoughts on “Clothesline Ladies Unite!”

  1. You are hilarious! I’ve been married one month shy of 36 years {wow…I AM getting old!}…and that’s how long I’ve had a clothes line. The doctors I worked for over 30 years ago felt sorry for me when I was pregnant with my first baby and they bought me a dryer. They knew I was going to use cloth diapers and couldn’t imagine how I’d manage with just a clothesline. Silly men.

    Funny clothesline saga? Hmmm….the first thing I can think of is when red-winged blackbirds apparently had built a nest not too far from my clothesline and they were so bad about trying to attack me when I was hanging up clothes to dry that my then 5yo Nick had to go outside with me and swing at the birds with a baseball bat so I could hang out clothes.

  2. I laughed so hard I ended up with coffee up my nose…yep, love this piece and can relate. My favorite part? “Stop by the store and buy new sheets….” Ha! Still snickering over that. Maybe I’ll head over and join in the fun, laundry is my nemesis so laundry week intrigues me!

    • Coffee up yer nose, miss Erica, is better than pee down the leg.

      I saw your laundry post – yay, we are united over laundry mats too. Or I should say “yikes” we are united…


    • Well, the kiddo laughed out loud, but he has my sense of humor, so I’m glad someone else thinks it’s funny. Can you just picture it at the pool?


  3. Oh, Darlene, thank you for bringing joy my way once again. This post was delightful! : ) I had never used God’s solar dryer before until I came to Uganda, where it is all we use. The Lord blesses us with year-round sunshine, too. When it is hot, I tend to haphazardly fold my items and take time to refold them when I am inside where it is cooler and my nose is not being burned. Also, here are undies can be washed, but not seen, so that means hanging them on the bedpost, which is exactly what I do. 🙂 When you run out of line, you use the handy-dandy hedge, which works just fine. The island students use the fence around the school. My most recent laundry story…I went to teach Bible study at the school a couple of Saturdays ago, but left a few things on the line. While I was still teaching, the sky darkened and opened wide…I could only think that my laundry was receiving an extra rinse, only to find upon my return that some gracious soul had rescued my laundry from a soggy fate. I was sure blessed by someone’s sacrificial kindness. 🙂

    • Miss Ruthie, you are welcome. And I’m shocked that a native wetlander of Oregon never used a solar drier. We did when we were there, but it was iffy with all that rain.

      My favorite image of yours for the SUUBI Project is the laundry one with all the red towels… I have it right on my desk. Sorry, not sending that one off to anyone.

      Do take more images of your Ugandan laundry – with that sky and the red clay and the deep green, it’s all art.


  4. Natasha Metzler says:

    I would respond to this but I’m gasping for breath from laughing too hard. 😉

  5. I have absolutely nothing to add to this all comprehensive post. It is perfect.
    You are a delight Miss Sophisticated Darlene.
    I will say one thing (when can I not?) – one of the things I used to love about visiting my Mom was hanging the laundry on her clothesline and then taking it in. Oh the aroma! Nothing like it.

    • Miss Linda, I’m so glad you stopped by… and that my story made you think of your mom.

      Yep to the good aroma. And laundry that’s hung out in the wintertime has an even more super-duper, terrifical scent.


    • Miss Amy,

      You are pretty funny yourself … I’ve read stuff about you kicking in doors and moving into parking spaces. It’s not everyone who can do that sorta thing.

      Back to the laundry talk, do tell, why don’t you have a line? You could start out with a clothes rack that you place outside.


  6. LMBO.

    I haven’t hung laundry out to dry since I was young. When my family got a clothes dryer, we celebrated — and we didn’t know what to do with the one in our yard. My momma occasionally used it for airing rugs, and I think some hippie friends of mine and i once used it for tie dying some shirts — but I know that the whole neighborhood had them.

    When I think about clothes hanging on the line, I think about bounding through a neighbor’s backyard, while trying to sneak in after curfew, and running into the line in the dark and that being not awesome.

    Clothes lined. Indeedy.

    This makes me wanna write a blog of my own.

    Enjoyed this so. You crack me up.

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