Hanging Your Laundry to Dry in the Wind

Have you ever inhaled the intoxicating scent of your outdoor air-dried laundry or experienced the beauty of your laundry being blown in the warm summer breeze? If you have, you’re one of the fortunate few and if you haven’t you are missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. I came to this pleasure later in life.  I had the impression that laundry that was hung to dry would feel like cardboard and be all wrinkled.  I had grown attached to my fluffy warm laundry.

But several years ago when my marriage ended suddenly and I found myself in the middle of grief, I knew I needed to make some conscious changes in my day to day life to help me get my feet planted firmly on this new plot of ground.  Also I wanted to honour my value of conserving energy and I was willing to try a greener way of doing my laundry.

At first I hung my laundry indoors on a wooden drying rack that I purchased at the hardware store.  It was remarkably easy and rather miraculous to me that it would be completely dry less than 24 hours later. (I must confess that I tossed it in the dryer for 3 minutes before hanging it on the rack to fluff it up a bit.)

I loved hanging my laundry on the wooden rack.  I delighted in picking it up, shaking it out and finding just the right spot for each item.  I liked walking by and seeing it hanging in the spare bedroom.  And when dry, I enjoyed folding each item and putting it away.  Tasks with clear boundaries can be so soothing especially in times when life is in transition.

It was not until the following year when I entered a new love relationship that I discovered the pleasure of hanging my clothes outside.  Certainly, I had noticed my neighbours clothes fluttering joyfully in the breeze.  I marveled at the colours and the patterns.  But I hadn’t experienced an outdoor line until I visited my long distance sweetheart in Nova Scotia and discovered that he had a pulley system line strung up from his second story deck.

What a pleasure it was to hang our laundry side by side outwardly declaring our love in a message that spanned the length of his entire back yard.  I loved inhaling the intoxicating scent of the east coast air infused in my laundry.
One day in the excitement of my new love, I took a photo of his black underwear and mine hanging together. You can imagine my surprise when I returned home and realized that I had accidentally set the camera to ‘video’ making a mini movie of our laundry flying free and happy in the breeze. Oooh, la, la!

We have lived together now for two and a half years. The blush of new love has tempered but not my enthusiasm for hanging our laundry. Last August you should have seen the joy in my eyes, no the joy that filled my body as I threaded the first load of our laundry on my new birthday line.

Hanging your laundry outside, even occasionally, can transform one of life’s chores into an act of love. Is it time for you to experience one of life’s simple pleasures?

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  1. Posted September 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    When I lived in Bethany, I loved hanging out my clothes on the line. I sometimes put my clothes outside on a folding rack now, but I’d love a clothesline to encourage it to happen more frequently.

    • Jovanna
      Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Let’s put one up!

  2. Posted September 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I read this and felt the Ahhhhh, thank you for sharing this Jovanna!
    The fresh joy of laundry, love and simple pleasures.

    • Jovanna
      Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink


  3. Posted September 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Your post reminds me of downtown, big-city neighbourhoods where laundry hangs in community between apartment buildings, where people don’t have the ‘luxury’ of keeping their lives so closed and (im)personal. It’s as if that forced intimacy opens space for deeper connection, gathering and conversations, something that so often gets lost in our pristine, bleached lives. What a beautiful post. Thank-you

    • Jovanna
      Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Tara. Thank you for sharing your image and considered observation. There’s a whole lot more to laundry than meets the eye. Isn’t it fun to ponder it. I love having you take part in my blog!

  4. Alison Rodriguez
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Jovanna~ this is lovely…I could really feel your excitement and glee! This summer was the first summer since living in Peterborough (12 years) that I started to hang my laundry outside. It was first a decision to conserve energy and money and then blossomed into a joyful action. My garden doesn’t accommodate a line nicely but my fancy ‘drying centre’ did the trick and with its handy high bar allows things to blow in the wind.

    • Jovanna
      Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      I’m so happy that you made your way to “blossoming”. It’s a choice we can make again and again.

  5. Posted September 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


    I could smell that laundry as you described it, and I love the image of laundry as a declaration of love. I used to hang laundry as a newlywed and can remember the joy.

    You have a gift for enjoying the simple things of life. They are the best. And so are you. Love the website, blog, and your free gift.

    • Jovanna
      Posted September 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind comments, Shirley… I’m glad that my writing reminded you of that joyful time in your life.

  6. Susan Joyce
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful blog! If only we could look at all of the so-called ‘chores’ in our lives with as much positive energy, wouldn’t our days be so much more joyful? Thank you for helping us to remember that it is often the most simple things in one’s life that can bring us the most joy.

  7. Kimberly
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Lovely post and fantastic writing, Jovanna! So great and hope to see more very soon!

    You will also receive a complimentary subscription to my ezine Creating Space with practical tips and inspirational perspectives. I respect your privacy and will never ever share your contact information.