Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Hanging Out Clothes

Over the weekend, I sent Chatter to hang out a  load of clothes. Afterward she told me-“I’m going to have a clothesline someday. I like hanging out clothes.” I told her-I like hanging out clothes too. There is just something nice about going out in the yard and hanging out fresh clean clothes and linens.

As I watched Chatter hang out the clothes I noticed she had already figured out what method worked for her. She lines a few clothespins along the strap of the bag. Granny made that bag for me ages ago.

My method is a little different. I put a pin in my mouth and hold 4 or 5 in my right hand as I move along the line.

Do you hang out clothes? What method works for you?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    May 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

    What fun to think about this. I still hang out, and I wash the line every time even though it is coated with plastic. Our dryer is on our closed-in back porch, it heats up the house. That means summer is prime time for hanging out.
    My lines now are wrapped around the poles of our covered patio, I just stand on the patio and pin things to the line. I have my mother’s clothes pins and the bag is made from feed sacks. It looks like a little girl’s dress. I think I will retire it soon. Then I will hang it on the laundry room wall. It will hang beside two old family wash boards, both well used.
    We have choices that would make my beloved Grandma W say, “I never seen the like!”

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 9:27 am

    You know I do!
    I grab a handful and hold them till I run out then I grab another handful.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I had my clothes lines removed lat year. The silly hubby put them many years ago near a wild cherry tree and walnut trees, plus a cedar. Well guess what those trees got BIG.
    But I love sheets dried outside and I do miss that.

  • Reply
    Melissa P - Misplaced southerner
    April 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

    B Ruth, I’m with you. I’d dearly love to hang clothes out on the line. There’s a certain smell and feel from being in fresh air and sunshine. Sadly, I can’t do it up here in Michigan, either. Too many birds out front and dogs out back. I can just see my dogs jumpin up, grabbin the entire line and running around the back yard with clothes and sheets flyin everywhere. They’d love it! Somehow, defeats the purpose, though.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Two Bears Farm
    April 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I don’t mind hanging out clothes. Our clothesline collapsed last year, though, so we need to do some repairs.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Absolutely nothing smells better than laundry dried in the fresh air and sunshine.
    Yes, Jim, my mother ALWAYS cleaned the close line with a wet rag before hanging laundry out to dry. Of course she grew up in a paper mill town and everything outside had to be cleaned before use……but knowing my mother she would have cleaned it anyway…that’s just what she did. lol

  • Reply
    April 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I like hanging out clothes, it gives me a time to relax and enjoy the gentle breezes outside. I have a silly habit of attaching the clothes pins to the hem of my shorts so I don’t have to visit the clothes bag so often. I made my bag from a baby’s dress I got for a quarter at a yard sale. You just sew the hem together, button up the dress and hang the dress on a hanger. My neighbor also taught me to always take a damp paper towel with me to wipe the line with.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I have a basket of clothespins and just loop it on my arm. Love hanging out clothes but am grateful for a dryer on wet days like today.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Gosh, there isn’t anything more to add. I love hanging out clothes, and I love the fragrance of the clothes after a good sunning. It can be problematic down here in South Texas when it is heavy humidity.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Ever notice how the bath towels dried out doors (even though a little rough) are far more absorbent than those dried in a dryer?

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    We absolutely DO hang out our clothes, long items (sheets, etc.) in the back, shorter items (washcloths, etc.) in the front with medium items and clothes in the middle. We get a wonderful breeze here and they dry so quickly and smell so great when they come back in the house.
    When we lived closer to the city though, we couldn’t hang out clothes. Something about the place made our clothes come back in smelling musty, like it had taken them too long to dry.
    Course, didn’t get nary the breeze there that we get out here in the country.

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph. D.
    April 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Hey Tipper: You certainly did a number on us this time! I just had to copy your HANGING OUT article to a ‘new’ friend of mine down in Roane County! Three times I have visited BRIEFLY and THREE TIMES she has told me about get the NO CLOTHES LINE restrictions removed from their sub-division RULES! Can you believe it – NO CLOTHES LINES ALLOWED!!!
    Cheers, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Hanging out clothes is part of my daily routine both in winter and summer. I hate tumble driers! Besides when we are blessed with about 300 days a year with sunshine, I’d rather hang laudry out on a line.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    When I was growing up, I hated hanging clothes out on the line because of the heat and the mosquitos. Now, I miss it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Tipper–Good topic, and one so commonplace only someone like you would think of it. That’s one of your real strengths.
    Several folks commented on the wonderfully clean smell of line dried clothes, and I heartily agree.
    Does anyone else remember the solid wood clothes pins (pre-metal “spring” ones)?
    Another advantage to hanging out clothes is that it might please Al Gore and others of his ilk. Mind you, I happen to think he is a bloated buffoon, but this is sensible energy saving. Somehow though, before he parted ways with his wife, I dobut if so much as one load of laundry ever decorated the grounds of their energy consuming mega-mansion.
    One more question. Do others wash off the line with a wet rag before hanging out a load of laundry? We do.
    After our mother passed away, the clothes line at Daddy’s house saw much less use from us, but the neihgbors next door, John and Rita Mattox, sort of took up the slack. They are a wonderful couple with delightful children (several of you met one of their sons, Jonathan, on the hike a group of us took after Daddy’s funeral), and Rita rightly sought permission to use the line before so much as a washcloth touched it. Daddy readily gave his assent, but added, “just don’t be hanging clothes out on Sunday.” That delighted Rita (a staunch Baptist), and she mentions it regularly. This weekend in fact, late on Sunday afternoon, I saw her out in the yard piddling with her flowers and commented on her Sunday activity (never mind that I was putting in a couple of rows of beans). She chuckled and said, “Yes, but I’m not hanging out clothes, so I think I’m okay.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    What happy summer memories you’ve stirred! In my childhood days, nearly every house in the neighborhood had, and used, clotheslines. Mom and Grandma both had dryers, but in the summer everything was dried on the lines outside. When I was very small I loved to play between the lines when there were sheets and blankets on them, it made a sort of tent. Grandma would even hang hers extra low – on purpose! When I was a bit older I was enlisted to help fold things as they came off the line. There is no sweeter, fresher scent than sun-dried laundry! I no longer have the space to hang my laundry out, and I miss it!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I love hanging out wash…much more than folding it and putting it away! There’s nothing like crawling into bed with fresh line dried sheets, and we think the towels are more absorbent when hung outside to dry.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I put up a clothes line last fall
    and went the easy route by fastening it to the end of my porch. That way I can hang out my
    clothes in my houseshoes and not
    worry about getting stung by a
    honeybee or jacket.
    In my younger days I use to ride
    my bicycle down to my great uncle’s house. He made corn whisky
    and had a pet crow, which he loved
    to show off to folks when they
    came to visit. He’d put a saucer
    full of whisky on the floor and place that crow down beside it and
    when it was all gone, the ole crow
    would just stand there for about 5 minutes. (waiting for the kick)
    Then my uncle took a shiney washpan, put a couple of clothes pins in it and took the crow out on the porch and threw him in the
    air. By the end of the day that little washpan had 30 or 40 added
    pins, stolen from the neighborhood…Ken…

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Granpa Ken….Yes, I remember the pant stretchers. I used to have to put them in my brothers blue jeans. What a pain to do if it was cold outside or do them inside and tote the flat jeans to the line..ha They were made out of flat pieces aluminum and were a bit bigger at the top than the bottom. You adjusted for the size..pulling the slide apart after you put them in the jeans to stretch them tight. They were then hung on the line by the top or from the cuff end..Doing them this way made a nice crease and the jeans were just touched with an iron…but they were also stiff as a board..ha
    I never wore jeans back then, I don’t remember many girls wearing them. We only wore light cotton petal-pushers or corduroy pants and they weren’t stretched. Pants were not worn to school either..jeans or others..that I remember..
    I have sold thru the years, some of these vintage jean pants stretchers, when I could find them…A lot of ladies still search for them use for their jeans!
    What’s old is new again!
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Love the term Eva from Germany call pins – pecks. I also have heard them called pegs. Still hang clothes out, but not during the winter, to cold!

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    April 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I have always loved hanging out clothes. I remember helping my mom when I was really little. In the winter we had lines in the basement. At each of the houses I’ve lived in, I’ve had a line. One place was a tacky double wide where I was renting and I hung lines in the extra bedroom. Don’t know what they thought when I moved out. LOL Casper has made me a really nice one here. I think of my mom every time I hang out a load.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Grand Pa Ken-I don’t remember the metal inserts to keep the crease-maybe one of my readers will though. I bet your Mother got those pants as white as could be : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    April 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I miss being able to hang out clothes to dry. We live in a triplex and have a huge bird population. Although there is a clothesline out back…the birds frequenly use it to perch on. I recall from my youth, clothes flapping in the wind on the line. There is nothing so refreshing as snuggling up under some line dried sheets. Thanks for the sweet memories. Have a beautiful springtime day! Prayerfully, Nancy

  • Reply
    Amy Phillips
    April 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I hung my sheets out on Sunday! They smell so good! Amy Jo Phillips

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Sandra-I have my Mamaw’s sprinkler that she put in her coke bottle somewhere-now I want to find it: )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:57 am

    My daughter when she was a teenager hated when I hung out her underwear on the line and when the school bus dropped her off there was her underwear flapping in the breeze for all the boys to see : ) She swore she would never hang clothes until now and she has to pay her own electric bill ! One time we had a nieighbor dog that would steal the clothes off the line ?

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I hang laundry outside year round. I’m lazy and leave the pins on the line — I know that’s a bad habit, but it works for me. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

    ok, you hit a hot button, i HAD to hang out all the clothes and they were the kind mentioned by Terri, they came out of a washer heavy and wet and it was freezing cold and I hated hanging out the wash. especailly the sheets and shirts. they froze in winter and did not dry in the humid heat and then we had to iron everything, that meant sprinkle the clothes with a coke bottle with a sprinkle thing on it, wad them up in a basket let them set and then iron even the hankies to sheets. yikes did i say i hated it? then i married and had two babies in real diapers that had to be washed and hung. got the first dryer when kids were in school and never looked back and have only hung things out that can’t go in the dryer. but i do love to sweep the floor with a broom and love to mow the lawn. i also love to mop. i like to see the floor get clean and shiny.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Growing up in Denver 66-years ago, I remember Mother Ruth hanging clothes on a braided line from our back porch with wooden clothespins. Our milk was delivered in glass bottles by horse-drawn wagon. I was five years old; the driver would pull me up beside him on the seat and let me ride halfway down the alley.
    I didn’t hang clothes. Now I just hang out. Gretchen calls the room where I read and write my “man cave.”

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    April 12, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I don’t hang out clothes very often, my clothesline is too close to the back fence. My neighbors have no concept on where their yard (the dirt) goes when they cut their grass. Well.. it goes on my white sheets! But yes, its nice. I remember though when that’s all my mama had.. and I remember her having to go out there in the cold weather too, that part is not so nice! But yes.. nothing is any better than the smell your clothes have when hung on the line! No need for little sheets of smell good!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I absolutely love doing laundry and hanging the wash (worsh, as my Baba would say) out to dry.
    My favorite wash to hang out are linens, specifically white cotton sheets on a windy day. I love the sound of them popping in the wind.
    I really don’t have a system other than little things like hanging jeans by the the back waistband to allow the front to flop open for air circulation, I hang shirts out on hangers to give me extra room, and I hang towels by pinning two towels ends with one clothespin.
    I’ve also taken to making my own washing powder which has turned into a full love-of-laundry routine.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

    There’s nothing better than sleeping on clean sheets that have been air dried. I hang out alot of my clothes and like you,I put clothes pins on my shirt and one in my mouth.

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    April 12, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I love the smell of clothes hung on the line. Many fabric softeners have tried to reproduce that smell and have not mastered it. I have hung a lot of clothes out in my time. Currently we don’t have a clothesline thanks to a dog we used to have who loved to pull the clothes off the line. I may have Jack put up another one now that the dog has gone to his great reward.I can remember when I was small a passage of youth was when you could reach the clothesline to hang clothes and get them in.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I had to link to your post on my blog Tipper. I loved this! I miss my clothes line, the tree that held one end of it wastaken out in a storm and we have never got around to putting it back up.
    Thanks for the memories, and maybe the needed poke to get it back into service.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Yes I do! I will sometimes clip the pins to the bottom of my shirt. I love to hang my sheets out!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 12, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Back in the day when the washer, didn’t wring out all the water, a load of laundry carried to the line was heavy and wet…
    On a cold winter day bringing in the wash was challenging, frozen stiff clothes, if the sun was waining before you got the clothes off the line. Hanging clothes wasn’t an option, like waiting on a sunny warm day..
    I vowed to never hang out clothes again, when I grew up, if I ever owned a dryer!
    Those times passed and on a warm day, with a breeze I would love to hang out sheets and towels even after years of owning a dryer…The only problem is the occasional bird poop…or in the early summer tiny clover mites swarm, landing on the sheets…
    Oh boy, did I ever get in trouble one time for not taking the wet soapy rag and walking down the line and back to give it a quick wash…before hanging clothes…After that Mom always reminded me, “Wash the line!”
    Thanks for the memories Tipper!

  • Reply
    grand pa ken
    April 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I remember my mother hanging clothes on the line, the thing I remember most was my dad’s pant. He was a mechanic at the chevolet dealer and he always dressed in white yes a mechanic in white. she used lots of scrubbing and bleach. She put ? metal things in the legs so the pants dried with a leg crease so they were easier to IRON remember that?

  • Reply
    Eva Kroells
    April 12, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Hi over there!
    Here in Germany it’s very normal to hang out clothes and all laundry to dry in the sun and the wind. People use dryers only in winter and rainy periods in order to save money and electricity and also for ecological reasons. This way clothes don’ shrink and you can keep them longer.
    We have lines in the garden and also in the cellar and on the balcony and we use pecks to fix everything. Even when the weather isn’t warm, the wind helps drying.
    Greetings from Germany, Eva

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Tipper, it is interesting that you posted this today. My granddaughter-in-law was talking to me yesterday about her impending return to Japan, where our grandson is stationed. She talked about the electric bill, and said she was going to hang more clothes out when she returns. She described the windows, which slide sideways and have a bar you can hang things on outside the window. She said everyone hangs laundry on the balconies, windows and every available place.

  • Reply
    Janice MacDaniels
    April 12, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I, too, love to hang out clothes. I love lining up all the shirts, then all the pants, then all the socks, etc. My most favorite things to hang out were all my babies’ white diapers. All exactly the same, perfect symmetry blowing along that straight line. Alas, no more babies and living in an apartment….. no clothesline in the yard.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 6:12 am

    i don’t hang clothes, but i would love to have a line…save on that electricity bill! wonderful post tipper…

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