I had an epiphany this morning. I remembered this book I bought years ago when I was purchasing my first home. Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House is exactly the kind of book my friends make fun of me for having. It’s 800 pages of knowledge on 100s of housekeeping tasks–lots of grandmotherly and practical advice. Cheryl Mendelson* covers everything from how to fix a broken book binding to how often to wash your bedsheets and how. It’s come in handy a few times, and I decided to consult its wisdom on line-drying today.
Mendelson comes in strong with 3 pages of text and 2 diagrams on line-drying (using a machine dryer got 4 pages, believe it or not). The image above illustrates the most helpful principal I gleaned from the book–the art of making your clothes into boat sails. You see, I was under the impression that you just wanted stuff to lay flat so as not to let it wrinkle. But really, the most effective line-drying requires a gentle breeze and clothes hung just loosely enough for the wind to come along and fill them like a ship’s sail. I tried it out right after reading this, and it was truly efficient (it helped that the “breeze” was a 95-degree Tennessee summer blaster).
Two more helpful tips from the book:
- “Towels will line dry to be much softer and fluffier if you shake them energetically before you hang them on the line. Make them snap. This loosens up the pile very effectively. Shake and snap them when you take them off, too, to soften them.”
- Pin socks at the toe.
*In researching a little further for this post, I learned that Mendelson has a 416-page book JUST about laundry. I bet she’s really fun to talk to at parties.