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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Clothesline

Hanging clothes on a clothesline saves money and makes your clothes smell so good! But like most things having to do with homemaking, the art and practice of hanging clothes has nearly been lost. What once was learned from watching someone else at work, now must either be learned by trial and error or… by reading here.

I realize that this seems like a huge amount of effort put into what should be a simple chore. But……


if you are going to hang out clothes exclusively, or if you are going to be doing it a lot this year, it pays to do it right and to do it in such a way that economizes your time and shortens the time the clothes need to dry.  There is method to the seeming madness here, so read on and learn……

Hanging out clothes begins indoors with how you sort and prepare the wet clothing. When you pull the clothes out of the washer prepare them for the clothes line in this way:

1) Give all the clothes a good firm snap. Hold tight to one end of the clothing and then shake it or snap it hard. This will help the clothes to dry with a minimum of stiffness. It also helps to use either vinegar or fabric softener in the rinse water.

2) Loosely fold the wet items so that they are easier to get out of the laundry basket and not in a big tumbled knot. You don’t have to get crazy with this, just snap that t-shirt and then fold it in half, lay it in the basket and go on to the next one.

3) Completely fold flat and fitted sheets into long rectangles and place in the basket! Yep, you heard me. Sheets dry pretty quickly and if you don’t have a space issue on your clothes line, go ahead and fold the sheet in half and hang on the line. BUT, if you do have space issues OR if someone in your household has allergy issues, you can fold the sheets in half, half again and then into a long rectangle. Hang the rectangle on the line. It will dry pretty quickly, all the surface areas of the sheet won’t be covered in pollen and you save a lot of space on the line.

Ok now we are ready to hang them out. Here are some pointers for hanging.

1) Hang shirts and t-shirts upside down by the side seams. What this accomplishes is that the heaviest part of the shirt is hanging upside down and it works with gravity to pull the moisture out of the fabric in the heaviest part of the clothing. It also helps to have the side seams of t-shirts lined up when they are drying, they tend to be easier to fold and the seams more lined up.

2) Hang towels from the narrow edge, don’t fold them over the line.

3) Hang clothing in a long chain, using the last clothespin as the fastener for the next item of clothing.

4) Use a chair or other lightweight stand so you don’t have to bend and straighten up so often, that gets really tiring after several loads. In fact the best help is a little helper who will retrieve items from the basket and hand them to you! A small child can do this and enjoy being a helper.

5) Always bring your clothespins inside after you are finished with them. Leaving them outside seems convenient at first but the weather tends to be hard on clothespins and can cause them to leave stains on your clothing. A good idea is an apron with big front pockets or a clothespin bag that you can transport in and outside.


  1. Trish

    I hang most all of my clothes just how you do! I learned by watching my mother. We didn’t have a dryer until I was a teenager! My mother hung our clothes on the line year round, even in the dead of winter!

    • Sylvia

      Trish, I’ve hung out clothes in the dead of winter too, and brought in frozen towels! haha!

  2. Jeannette

    Ahh ha! This explained some problems I have encountered. Thank you for your counsel and godly example. I have been delighted to find this website!

  3. Shari

    I always sort my clothes by type before hanging them out. All wash clothes are sorted and put together in the basket, hand towels, bath towels etc… This makes hanging and taking down much easier for me.

    Thanks for the article.

  4. Glenys Hicks

    Thanks for those tips, Sylvia! I thought after 40 years of housekeeping that I knew all there was to know about hanging out the laundry. But I have learnt a few tips from this such as hanging the sheets in rectangles: I had always put them full length across the line. This will save me having to use the dryer as well as the line when I have quite a bit to hang out. 🙂