It's no great mystery that our life has been slowing down over the last year. If you're wondering how that can be with three toddlers and one on the way I will tell you: it's all God. It started probably long ago but for this story's sake it started last November when I started to question the importance of the sponsor-driven blogging I was doing, as well as the time I was spending using social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - even my iPhone was in question. I felt a strong urge (and pleading from my husband) to simplify life and live in a quieter time, more able to hear what God has in store for us. I am sure there are plenty of people who find their life calling through social media and the like, I am just equally certain I'm not one of them. Easily distracted and do-it-now-while-you're-thinking-about-it-before-the-moment-passes is usually more my style.
For me a slower and quieter life has looked like this: giving up my iPhone in favor of a more old school type that simply calls and texts. It has the ability to take pictures and "browse the Internet" but those features were so clearly unimportant to the cell designers when this particular phone was made that it's really more of a hassle than anything. I just don't bother. It's also meant blogging less, which gives me more time with my family and quality time as a human to enjoy life instead of constantly trying to "capture it". And doing without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram almost completely. I say almost because I have followed a Facebook link on more than one occasion for a company phone number, etc., and I did stalk a friend's recent delivery of her baby on Instagram via the computer, just to scope sweet baby cheeks :) Guilty + guilty.
Another way I've slowed down is by reading more actual books. I've gone through so many since giving up Facebook that I feel like a newly educated woman again. Bob and I have more to talk about than we have in quite some time, and it's deep topics, not just what so-and-so did on his vacation via social media. (Who cares?)
Another 'nother way I've slowed down is the diminished use of the dryer in our home. Actually it'd be more accurately described as the joyful doing of more of the household duties in general, but for this post's intents and purposes... the dryer. I am fairly certain that I owe my renewed vigor for line-drying clothes in part to two recent reads: All You Need is Less by Madeleine Somerville, and Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. Both women write, in their own ways, about the simple joys that can come from line-drying clothes, as well as the positive environmental and financial impacts, too.
"All in all, it had taken about only ten minutes longer than hurriedly throwing everything into the dryer and pressing "Start," and I'd been able to get outside and enjoy some sun and fresh air too. I was hooked. Laundry, usually one of my most hated chores, suddenly became enjoyable." -Madeline, All You Need is Less, p.93
Any old line between two posts will work for drying laundry, here are some of my own personal nuggets of wisdom for first-timers:
1. Before you fold and bring in dried laundry, give it a good shake. More times than I prefer (that would be anything over zero, for the record) I've found a critter in a line-dried garment either before or, the less desirable, after I've brought it inside. Also on that note: you might want to clear cobwebs from the lines before you hang clothes, too. Just a suggestion from a spider-a-phobe whose "been there."
2. Double up on safety pins to save. Here's my tried-and-true method: let's pretend we're hanging a basket of washcloths. I would clip one side of one washcloth, and clip up the other side with a second pin. When I bring up the second washcloth to pin I would overlap the last place I clipped. Make sense? (See photos for examples) That way you're saving space + pins (and therefore money, too!).
3. Take note of the weather. Especially windy days are good for drying loads quickly (got somewhere to be? not sure the rain will hold off?) and extra sunshiny days are great for "bleaching" whiter items. If this is your desire consider adding a 1/8 cup of lemon juice to the wash, too - aids in the all natural "bleaching" of whites.
4. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Most often when I'm hanging clothes my kids are outside playing; benefit number one: they get to see me work, benefit number two: I get to be near them while they play. Also, if they're not around me I can use the quiet moment with beautiful bright colored clothes, fresh air + sunshine to clear my head, or even say a quick prayer. I remember reading about a man who loved to do the dishes because it was his time in prayer with the Lord, that always stuck with me as a great reason to love chores. And finally, the sense of doing something worthwhile with my time - caring for my family, extending the life of our clothes by treating them with care, saving our Earthly and financial resources - is worth the few extra minutes it takes to hang.
So there you have it, my thoughts on line-drying clothes. Have you ever "gone there" with your garments? What was your experience? If you haven't - what's holding you back? I'd love to hear from all sides! Leave your comments below and be sure to check back, I'm a firm believer in every comment deserving a response :)