Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hanging a Clothesline

I thought I'd post about how to hang a clothesline since it has been such a great change for our family. Not only have we saved some cash on the utility bills, but it gets me outside in the yard with the girls much more often than would have happened otherwise. I love getting that Vitamin D!

I hung our clothesline about a year ago and wasn't sure, at first, where to put it. I watched how the sun moved over our house and figured out where the sun was during the hottest part of the day. This was so clothes would dry quickly and also happens to coincide pretty well with naptime, when I'd be able to work most efficiently.

Here's what our clothesline lookes like. It's in a "W" shape. Our fence is the top of the "W" and the posts of a small deck are the bottom points of the "W." This is not a symmetrical "W" at all - it's in the back yard and who really cares? I just looked at the sunniest spot of the yard and thought, "where I can screw in anchors for a clothesline?" and "how can I maximize hanging space?" If you can't stretch across your yard without putting a hole in your siding some other options are: Trees, a corner of the fence (use line to make a triangle), outbuildings, swingset, or just dig a hole to sink a post into.

I bought these hooks at Home Depot last summer. I don't remember what they cost, but I'm sure it was less than $1 each. I drilled holes and screwed these sturdy hooks in. Big nails would have worked, but I didn't want to mess with rope staying put behind small nail heads or tension causing the nail to come loose. If you go with nails, use a washer to make the head bigger.

I didn't have any appropriate rope for a clothesline when I made this. I had some twine, but it was really too thin and I thought maybe a bit dirty. I looked at Home Depot and was surprised how much rope cost! In my neighborhood HD and Fred Meyer share a parking lot so I decided to check out Fred Meyer's prices. Jackpot! In the sporting goods deparment I found this white rope that was thick without being too heavy and looked like it wouldn't collect dirt. It was less than $3! I think it was called crab line?

I tied a loop at one end of the rope, hooked it at the tip of the "W" and then ran the line through all the hooks. At the other end of the "W" I tied a knot around the hook. A few times when the line has seemed to sag it's very easy to tighten the whole setup by pulling the line and making another loop around that last hook. By avoiding knots at every juncture I can just tighten things up without having to untie, pull, and retie. The rope slides through the hooks.
I had a friend ask me about clothespins recently and I had no good advice! All of my clothespins are from yard sales. I looked once at the Dollar Store and didn't see any, but I have, oddly, seen them at grocery stores in that tiny housewares section. I also prefer the spring clips, not the push on, though I don't have a good reason. And I like the wooden as opposed to plastic - again I don't know why. The plastic ones would certainly be easier to spot when I drop them.

Please comment if you have good clothespin advice or if you found a great place to string a clothesline in your yard!



  1. Do you have to stand on a chair to reach the line?

  2. Our yard is slightly sloped away from the house. The bottom of the "W" is at shoulder height and just right. The top of the "W" at the fence posts is about 18" higher so I have to reach up, but my elbows are just about shoulder height so it's still comfortable.



So, what do you think?