Am I the Only One … who remembers clothesline rules?

By:  Donna Hale Chandler

clotheslineYes, there were absolutely rules regarding how and even when to wash your clothes (on a wringer washing machine, perhaps?) and hang them outdoors on the clothes line. I remember well my mother instructing me on the correct way to put your clothing out to dry.

1. You must have at least 3 clothes lines. They must be tightly attached to the poles so    they wouldn’t sag when loaded with clothing.

2. You must have a clothes pin basket of some sort. Most likely my mother made what we used for our clothes pins. It looked a little like a small dress hanging on a hanger. There was a large opening for retrieving or replacing clothes pins. The hanger hung on the clothes line and you slid it along as you pinned up articles of clothing. The clothes pin bag must never be left outdoors once the laundry in finished. It needs to be as clean and neat as the rest of the ‘wash’

3. Before pinning anything to the clothes line, you needed to make sure the line itself was clean by walking the length of each line with a damp rag around the line.

4. Large items, sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc. were pinned to the outside lines, leaving the inside line for your ‘unmentionables’. I’m not quite sure what would happen if your neighbors saw underwear hanging out on the line but it probably would not have been pleasant.

5. Socks were to be pinned by the toe, shirts by the bottom, pants by the cuffs, etc.

6. Never ever hang a colored item with a white item. The neighbors would surely decide that you were too lazy to separate your laundry properly before washing.

7. Don’t waste clothes pins. Pin the edge of one garment to the edge of the next.

8. The laundry absolutely must be taken in before the evening meal. Again, the neighbors would decide lazy people lived there if the wash hung outdoors too long.

9. As you removed clothing from the line, the pins went back in the clothes pin bag and the article of clothing was folded and placed in a clothes basket. This would make it easier to iron later when it was ‘sprinkled’ and smoothed out on the ironing board.

10. Of course it doesn’t even need to be mentioned that you never ever, under any circumstances did laundry on Sunday. You’re probably be struck by lighting and sent straight to hell for that.

We’ve come a long way — now I throw everything in the washer and when I think of it, move it to the dryer. (Grandmothers around the world are turning in their graves each time laundry is washed in these modern times.)


Gram use’ta say

old gal 1 (2)

“That’s when everything that doesn’t leak, dries up.”




1 thought on “Am I the Only One … who remembers clothesline rules?”

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