Lacey's Laundry

I asked my good friend Lacey to do a guest post for me. The topic she has addressed is dear to my heart! (As seen here) Of course my personal washing line quirks are a bit different. Starting with, I’m a bit of a double handler – I love to fold once I get inside, and although I started to when I was first married, I rarely hang things inside out. I wish I did sometimes, but I’m afraid I’m just too lazy! Laziness means I never, EVER colour code pegs on purpose! Anyway, Enjoy this post, and look forward to you sharing your laundering secrets with us!

Hi, I’m Lacey. I blog over at A Fruitful Life. I started my blog 18 months ago, as a way of documenting the (few) crafty things I was doing around the home outside of my very busy job. Over time, it has morphed dramatically, as I gave birth to my baby girl, gave up my rewarding career, and decided to stay home. I write all sorts of things about my life …. my crazy experiments into using DIY natural beauty products, and spectacular cooking failures like accidental-pork-chocolate-chip-cookies, along with crafting success stories, coping with a post-partum body and all sorts of other bits and pieces. I’d love for you to pop your head in, and of course, leave a comment sometime.

Anyway, I’m here to buy Caitlin a little more time cuddling babies, wiping bottoms and filling empty tummies. Caitlin and I share a common past: we were both teachers, and at the same school to boot. I also like to think that we share a common future: watching our beautiful families grow, as we cheer them along. Sorry, just a little sentimental there. I’ll get back to my frivolous writing style right about now.

So, in my former life as a teacher, my colleagues and I were sort of hard pressed to find topics to talk about other than our students, our workload and how much we hated all the curriculum rewriting we were being forced to do. Occasionally, though, we would stumble our way into a topic that made all those stresses fade away. One particularly memorable lunchtime, a Mr Brown* and I delved into a topic that had the entire table chiming in: how to hang out washing correctly.

I really love that Australians (pretty much) all hang their clothes outside on a line to dry in the sunshine. It’s so good for the environment and for our wallets. And, it meant that an Australian invented the rotating washing line for the world to benefit from. There’s something familiar and comforting about the routine of hanging fresh, clean clothes on the line, with the breeze tickling your face.

Everyone has their own little personal habits and rules. Here are mine:

  • The outer lines must all be filled up before going into any inner lines. 
  • Shake each item vigorously to remove wrinkles. 
  • T-shirts are hung from top, with pegs on the seams to prevent peg marks. The shirt should never, ever be stretched taut, but should hang loosely. 
  • Socks are hung on one side only, with the top hanging open to let in the breeze. 
  • Jeans hung inside out
  • Underwear is hung with one peg only, on the crotch
  • When taking the washing off, pull off all the socks and underwear and things that don’t need folding first, so that it sits at the bottom of the basket. 
  • Bigger items next, especially ones that don’t wrinkle easily. Fold as you go. 
  • Jeans/button up shirts/dresses/thing that crinkle last, laid gently on top. 

It drives me nuts when my husband and I hang out washing together. I try to enjoy doing it together, but he just doesn’t do things “my way” and I don’t cope. 

So … what’s the correct way to hang out (or take in) washing? Do you colour code the pegs? Or does it just not matter, as long as the clothes are dry? Please share! 

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  1. Clearly you don’t live in Melbourne where you often need to rush out and get the washing off the line because it’s raining… or where you have to spend five months of the year hanging all the washing inside on various racks and hangers over the heating vents! 😉

    I have a rectangular fixed clothesline, not a rotary, so I tend to start at the line closest to the fence and work my way out. My main quirks are:

    1. Dark clothes are all hung inside out so they don’t fade. Exceptions are jeans and undies because I don’t care if they fade.

    2. T-shirts and all other tops are draped over the line and pegged under the arms so they don’t stretch or have peg marks.

    3. Underwear and socks all go on a separate underwear-hanging thingy (the kind that you hook onto your line and it has 20+ pegs hanging down from it). This is mainly because I have space issues. Undies hung from a side seam – NEVER the crotch because I want that part to get maximum sun and air.

    4. Sheets are folded in half and pegged onto the line, but never folded OVER the line, because sometimes you need to get them off there in a hurry and it takes ages if they’re folded over the line. Again, this is a Melbourne thing. Oh, and always with three pegs because it’s very windy here!

    5. Trousers are hung from the back waistband.

    6. I tend to hang like with like, so they’re all together when I take them off and put them away. So, pyjamas together, tops together, trousers together etc. I’m not fanatical about this one though.

    7. In winter/rainy weather I put all the hanger items on hangers on an ironing rack and put it over a heating vent. Then I can just put them straight into the wardrobe when dry. (There is no ironing in this house unless absolutely unavoidable… and I have a pretty high tolerance for wrinkles…)

    8. Towels always share pegs but other items don’t – ie, a peg on the left corner, next peg holds the right corner of that towel plus the left corner of the next towel. I don’t know why I do it this way, and only with towels (and tea towels), but there you go.

    9. I never colour code pegs. I have a few different kinds of pegs, bought at various times, and I don’t even put the same types together. My only quirk with pegs is that I never use wooden ones. I hate the way they go all grey and grimy.

    This is all totally normal, right??

  2. Yes Emily Sue all normal sounds like you and I hang washing the way our mothers and grandmothers hung their wahing!,
    Great blog Lacey…kind of sad remembering those al in together discussions in the common room! 😉

  3. Oh Caitlin, I totally forgot that you wrote something a bit similar to this in the past, whoops!

    Emily, I like your tips. Never thought about the crotch/maximum sunshine thing. Do I need to change my habits? Gasp.

    Yes, doing the washing out, hovering looking for rain, dashing outside at the last minute thing is quite a common occurrence for me as well, although not quite perhaps at a Melbourne level! That’s why we bought a dryer and a clotheshorse. They’re lifesavers!

  4. Pants HAVE to be hung upside down by the legs. Nobody’s going to notice peg marks on your cuffs. But if you hang them from the back waistband, like my husband does, they STRETCH and need IRONING and NEVER FIT RIGHT again.

    I used to throw undies and socks onto the trampoline to dry. (Before we got a chewing dog.)

    I like to hang in sections for each person, fold as I unpeg (if I have time), and then I leave the basket of folded stuff on the floor of the lounge room for days and the person it belongs to grabs stuff out of it regularly and the whole pile gets messed up and by then I need the basket again so I douse the whole lot in petrol and set fire to it.

    Well, no, I don’t. But I THINK about it.

  5. I rarely let anyone hang my washing I’d rather throw it in the dryer than have to rewash and rehang because something has dried oddly and now needs ironing.

    I hang in sections with a large family (5 kids) I often dry and hang through out the day (two clothes lines would be perfect!) I know which section was hung first and therefore should be dry!

    Like a previous reader I halve sheets and hang with 3 pegs it make for easier folding at the line (I fold everything at the line) Towels are hung in half (I live in Bundaberg so the heat can always dry a doubled up towel) I hate out of shape towels so corner to corner hanging is a definite no no…. these items are always on the outside of the line.

    Shorts/ Jeans inside out on the outside line moving in with House shirts then misc items, underwear should always be on the inside line my neighbours don’t need to know that much about me (or my household) socks are always hung in pairs, knickers always hung straight (badly hung underwear does not sit well) from the top not from the crutch.
    All school/work uniforms and anything else prone to fading or will require ironing are hung on hangers in the covered area.

    I am very lucky to live in the climate I do, I mostly wash all day and hang everything during the night, can pull most of it in by 10am and hang the last loads.
    And yes I wash every day at least 3 loads a day generally more depending on 100 different situations! (school swimming, sport stuff/ illnesses)
    Lucky I rather enjoy washing even though I am somewhat particular….. I find it perfectly normal! My mother was waaaaaaayy worse

  6. Wow – what a HOT topic!

    I would share my washing strategies, but then a psychologist may read this post – see my comment and be in my door step.

    I have an undiagnosed ‘Washing Line Control Issue’. It is bad. I know that the cure would be to let someone else hang out my washing, I am not ready for that sort of intervention.

    Even when I was just home from hospital after having a baby if someone came to visit in the morning, I would get them to hold the baby so I could hang the washing.

    I do love hanging washing, I hate folding it. Hate it. In fact, that is what I SHOULD be doing now, but have been blissfully distracted by the internet.

  7. Fascinating reading, Ladies.

    I just spent a couple of days at my mother’s house and while I thought I would hang washing the way she does, I realise that I don’t! Not sure when that changed…

    A related topic that I can recall having heated discussions about once is: To leave the pegs on the line or not? I take mine off the line but leave the peg basket outside. Others were adamant that they should be inside when not in use, while others left them on the line for next time.

  8. Nooooo!! *twitch twitch* I NEVER leave the pegs on the line and I always bring the peg bag in when I bring in the washing. Admittedly, this is largely because I hang washing inside more than outside. I have two over-door hangers that live permanently on my laundry door and spare room door and they are in constant use.

  9. Interesting reading so far…..:)

    I like jeans and such like to be hung from the back waistline.

    If its a good t-shirt then pegged under the arms otherwise if its old then from the bottom.

    Undies pegged from the top but then sometimes I will also just do a single peg in the crotch (especially with the kiddies ones!)

    I start from the back of the line and work to the front in just one section before moving onto the next section of the rotary line.

    If I can be bothered clothes are turned inside out but its a time consuming job and who has the time!

    I tend to fold all my washing as I’m taking it in except for sheets.

    I even fold undies!

    Washing drys so much quicker here than in Christchurch so am thankful for not having to use the dryer much….that really irks me! I don’t like clothes from the dryer…weird I know!!

  10. I am sometimes tempted to get “thingy” about how I hang washing, but I try not to get too particular because life tends to throw you so many things to get anxious about, I figure I can do without extra stress at the washing line too.

    In my time I’ve had different ploicies on hanging things, but I don’t think anythig is perfect. Except having a maid to do my laundry, I guess.

    I actually like to spread as much as I can on the trampoline. Everything dries flat and not warped, and I can drag the trampoline into a shady spot when I’m laying it out or folding when dry, then push it into the right spot to catch the best sun. If I wash overnight, I can lay it out before the sun hits the yard and then I can bring it in by midday. If I do a later load, it will dry from midday until late afternoon when I can fold it as the native birds start getting frisky before dusk. The trampoline also provides a great flat folding surface.

    But in this, even most Australians think I’m weird. That’s just ecause it hasn’t caught on.

  11. Wow, I knew there would be some strong feelings on this, but hearing them is another matter. I had no idea I was doing things so wrong 😉 I wonder why we feel like this?

    One lady that I worked with commented that we develop habits like this because it gives our brains less decisions to make from day to day. We like the routine of knowing that this is how it’s done and not having to deliberate.

  12. 1. Start from the inside lines of a rotary & work out – using only one quarter section of the line at a time. it makes it easier than fighting through the clothes.

    2. Everything gets a firm shake to get rid of wrinkles & it must be hung tidily on the line – ie lining up the seams to keep them in shape.

    3. Undies – hang from side seam – one peg, NEVER hang from crotch. Hang on inside lines, along with bras & socks so they’re not visible for all to see.

    4. Shorts, jeans, skirts etc – all hang from back waistband.

    5. With two young girls in the house I now hang all their things inside out were I can so that the “hand-me-downs” still look somewhat fresh for #2.

    6. I hang towels with 3 pegs cos it keeps them in shape better.

    7. I fold as things are coming off the line because I don’t spend much time outside as it is & its one way to get my vitamin D! Also, it is neater, clothes get less wrinkled & if I don’t, the basket sits in the middle of my lounge room for a month & because I never seem to find the time to do it otherwise!

    8. Pegs must come off the line cos they get brittle otherwise & I’m too tight to waste more money on such a mundane household item! lol

    I hate it when my hubby hangs washing out cos he doesn’t do it my way! Lacey & Caitlin, I’d love to see you do a blog on how to FOLD washing. Now, THAT would be a can of worms!!!

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