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Monday, July 9, 2012

The Simple Joy of a Clothesline

The simple things in life can bring us great joy.  Who would have thought a clothesline could bring so much delight?

Our well water is high in iron.  As a result, our white laundry doesn’t stay sparkling white.  My mom was telling me about how she used to hang cloth baby diapers on the clothesline. The sun bleached the diapers and kept them white and bright. 

I’ve wanted a clothesline for some time, but we didn’t know where to put it. We have a lot of trees and wanted the clothesline to be in the direct sunlight.  We also wanted it to be close to the house, but not in the middle of the yard.  

We’ve been in this house for 13 years, and we finally built our clothesline.  The first thing I put on the line were clean sheets.  There’s nothing like the smell of sheets that have been drying outside in the fresh country air. 

It might sound kind of wacky, but I love putting clean clothes on the line, watching them blow in the wind, folding them as I take them off the line, and bringing the fresh clean linens and clothes into the house.

John has been doing the laundry for the past few years, but I just stole his laundry job. I’m having a lot of fun, and he is not resisting the take over.  He thinks the clothesline is a great investment in both his time and our money.

All the laundry bins are completely empty, and I’m looking for more things to wash.  I’m now washing curtains. I asked John if he would have thought about washing the curtains if I wasn’t around.  He smiled and said, “If I didn’t have a woman, I wouldn’t have curtains.” 

You’d think after 20 years of doing laundry for a large family, the job  would become mundane and drudgery.  The excitement is back! It must be the magic of a clothesline. 

I love seeing the clothes cleaner and brighter.  Jonathan said, “Every time I see you, you’re doing more laundry.”  It must look like fun because several of the children want to help.  Standing out in the warm sunshine hanging clothes on the line really does bring me a lot of joy.

Jaylee said, “I think it’s romantic that dad would build you something that you really want.” I never thought of it that way before, but she’s probably right.  Over time, many kind gestures build an enduring relationship.

We didn’t know we would use and love our new clothesline so much.  After the first week, John added another section.  Each section is four lines wide.

There are many simple things that bring happiness.  Capture the joy in the everyday pleasures.    

P.S. My sister shared two laundry tricks: 

#1 Whiten the Dingy Whites: Mix 1 cup of bleach and 1 cup of Cascade powdered dishwashing soap in a sink of hot water.   Let your whites soak in this solution.  I was amazed at how white it turned those dingy shirts.  I was going to get rid of several white shirts because they were yellowed.  Now, they look brand new. (Use rubber gloves when you put your hands in the water because it makes a lye-like solution.)

#2 Pre-Wash Stain Treatment: Mix ½ cup ammonia and ½ cup liquid detergent (Era, Tide, etc.) in a 16-ounce spray bottle.  Fill the rest of the bottle with water


  1. Hello Jennifer, I am like you, I find joy in the simple things like crisp clean washing dried in the country air.
    My husband Andrew made me a great clothes line too, it is attached to our upstairs balcony and connected to a huge Gum tree, like those clothes lines in Italy connected house to house, it works with a steel cable and pulley. How awesome we both have wonderful husbands who are good at making things!

    Love Eva

    1. If we lived closer, we would enjoy spending time together.

      My parents served a mission in New Zealand. They loved it!


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