Tips: Line Drying Laundry (Me and Martha Series)

To see all of my Me and Martha posts, click here:

Today’s tip is all about Line Drying Laundry.


Some of you may think using a clothesline is an ancient practice.  I thought that for many years.  But honestly, it’s so smart!  You aren’t using electricity, you’re utilizing a natural resource – the sun.  Your sheets and towels are lightened from the sun, which means you’ll use less bleach.  And sun dried laundry reminds me of being a kid.  Sometimes, actually most of the time, I think our grandmother’s really knew what they were doing.  For decades I think we’ve tried to do things in new and improved commercial ways; but there is something very comforting about a backyard garden, a clothes line, and learning to make your own jam.  And fortunately, Martha agrees.  I’d like to think I’m closer and closer each day to being able to survive a zombie apocalypse and I have my grandmothers and Martha Stewart to thank for it.  <— quote of the day.

I bought a simple retractable clothesline off amazon a while back for about $20 and Matt hung it in our tiny side yard.  It especially works well for us because we can hang our wet pool towels and damp cover-ups on the line at the end of summer days.  You could use one of these in any size yard or even an apartment patio.  You don’t even notice it when it’s not in use.


I found the tips for Line-Drying in Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook on page 398-399.

line drying

You could probably click on that pic and see all of the great info on line drying but I’ll summarize for ya.

  1. The type of clothespin you use is a personal preference.  So if you prefer the simple split piece of wood, great.  If you prefer the ones with the hinges, great.  I use the ones with the hinges.  I also use a clothespin bag to keep them all together…
  2. Hang clothes upside down to avoid stretching (for example, the shoulders of a shirt will stretch if you hang them by that area).
  3. Turn colored items inside out to avoid lightening from the sun.  If possible hang your clothes line where it gets some shade and some sun at different parts of the day.  Then hang colored stuff while the area is shaded, lighter laundry when the area gets direct sun.  I mainly only use ours for towels and sheets and linens so the bright sun is always good.
  4. To hang sheets and tablecloths, don’t fold over the line.  Fold them in half and pin the corners/hems to the line.
  5. Hang towels by the short end with an overlap of about 3 inches.  To avoid a stiff texture, give them a quick snap before hanging them and again when taking them down.


You can see I use our tiny side yard to dry our linens.  The fresh smell of the sheets makes it worth it.  The retractable line attaches to a tiny hook on the fence.

We also have a drying rack in our laundry room as well.  It’s used for delicates and skinny jeans that if dried will not fit over my thighs.  Just being honest.  And of course we use our dryer for most everything else (even linens in the winter).  A clothesline is nice though.  And when I’m pinning our laundry up to dry I always get a sense of nostalgia for old times when things were just a little bit simpler, ya know?



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