Grandma’s Rules for Hanging Out the Laundry



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Grandma’s Rules for Hanging Out the Laundry

Back in the old days the laundry was often done in a washtub, with bar soap (or flakes) and a washboard. Some families might have had a ringer, which helped to reduce the drying time by a fair bit. Even once electric washing machines came out, many people did not have the space or money to then also buy a clothes dryer. Given that everyone already had a clothesline, it might have seemed like an unnecessary extravagance and the real labor was all in the washing and ironing anyways.

Plus, there’s nothing that smells as good as laundry dried on the clothesline. Back then there were quite a few rules about how the clothes should be hung out. These rules were to save time and money and if you didn’t follow them you’d most likely get a stern talking to by Mom or Grandma.

Wipe down the clothesline

It would be counterproductive to hang clean clothes on a dirty clothesline, wouldn’t it? For each load you hang, always make sure you’re wiping down the line before putting up the clothes.

Hang socks by the toes

Never hang socks by the heel—that would stretch them out. And if you’ve ever worn a stretched-out sock, you know the struggle of it continuously falling off your feet.

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Hang shirts upside-down

While it’s probably tempting to hang shirts upright by the shoulders, this makes bumps appear once the shirt is dry, and they don’t come out easily. Hanging them by the tail might also give it a bit of a crimp from the clothespin, but this isn’t as noticeable and you can iron this out much more easily.

Color-code your clothes

Hang white sheets and linens with other white clothing and let your colored pieces hang to the opposite end. This is for the same reason we wash whites and colors separately; you avoid any potential bleeding of colors into the whites.

Group up the clothespins

Use one clothespin to hang multiple pieces of clothes. Back in your grandmother’s day, they did this to save money, but being resourceful is never a bad thing.

Hang sheets on the ends, delicates in the middle

The sheets are big enough to hide your intimates (underwear, bras, etc.) so that your neighbors wouldn’t get a full glance. Hey, they don’t need to see that floral number, do they?

Don’t pay attention to the weather

You might think drying clothes outside only works when it’s bright and sunny, but we can hear our grandmothers now: Whether there was six feet of snow on the ground or the it was frigid temps outside, the laundry still had to get done. (Hint: Hanging it by a fireplace could make your clothes smell like smoke or even get smoke stains—not a good look!)

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