July 20, 2011 at 2:32 am #599812
from Alan Durning, Executive Director at Sightline Institute: “Sightline is looking for places in the Northwest where hanging your laundry out to dry is forbidden. Apartment buildings? Condo or homeowner associations? Tell me if your Right to Dry is being limited; folks can email to alan (at) sightline (dot) org and I’ll pass it to the right people. Thanks!”July 20, 2011 at 6:25 am #729975July 20, 2011 at 9:09 am #729976July 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm #729977
All Sightline has to do is examine the standard rental agreement here in Seattle and they will find that most people who rent houses are forbidden to hang laundry outside:(July 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm #729978
A Right to Dry? Really? Must have missed that section of the Bill of Rights. I’ve gotta hand it to our founding fathers though. Who knew they were sufficiently forward-thinking to consider laundry freedoms.July 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm #729979
Thanks for feedback
If you don’t know about Sightline, check it out; Alan is a brilliant researcher; they are doing a ‘Making Sustainability Legal’ series, and seeking voluntary feedback for a story; NW Home Magazine at Seattle Magazine is also interested to write about this topic
I grew up in an era where literally everyone hung all their laundry out in the back yard to dry; today there are many places where people have been legally prohibited, stories all over the country; Sightline is trying to get the local scoop on this; how many in Seattle area would like to hang their clothes out to dry, but have been told that legally they are not allowed
JoB; “standard rental agreement here in Seattle and they will find that most people who rent houses are forbidden to hang laundry outside”; I’ve been a lifelong renter, and have never seen this on a rental agreement; if you have a copy of one of these, please send to Sightline
it’s definitely not in everyone’s rental agreement; I rented a house near the junction for 7 yrs, with a huge backyard, and it would have been totally fine; but I had a washer/dryer, so never did
now I rent apt in 4th floor walkup 1950’s apt, with no outside (except for small parking lot/garbage/recycle area) and laundry room in basement is awful/expensive/too far; so I wash small stuff by hand and hang in my living room
cjboffoli; “founding fathers …sufficiently forward-thinking to consider laundry freedoms”; people back then rarely washed their clothes (or their bodies, ick) and the women (and servants, slaves) did all the housework; so it was likely completely off the radar for the dudes; the actual laundry washers probably wished for freedom from doing laundry at all
dawsonct; “Only limited by the rather less-than-ideal clothes drying weather!”; you are so right; most years maybe 2 mos; this year, 78 mins so far
in the winter, I run a space heater/fan; dries my clothes and warms my roomJuly 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm #729980
example in our own West Seattle neighborhood; and in a ‘green’ community; wth?
“Elizabeth Morris and her family bought their house in the High Point neighborhood for a reason. “High Point is the City of Seattle’s premier ‘Green Community,’ having been touted internationally as such, as well as [for] mixing Seattle Housing Authority [SHA] rental properties and private home ownership,” she explained. It’s a compact, walkable, mixed-income, energy-efficient, green-built neighborhood peppered with bicycle commuters and rain barrels. So Morris was shocked to find that at High Point, clotheslines are banned.”
full story here; http://daily.sightline.org/2011/07/28/unbanning-clotheslines/July 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm #729981
Diane: As much as I agree with you philosophically – based on the knowledge that clothes driers are among the most energy hungry appliances in one’s house – is it really reasonable for anyone in the City of Seattle (a place famous for its almost constant drizzle) to expect to hang their laundry outside most of the time?
Moreover, the most environmentally friendly solution might not always be the most practical in an urban environment. For instance, collecting rainwater for drinking would be more green than processing and piping it from hundreds of miles away. And composting toilets might be better in some ways than pumping sewage to a treatment plant and then into the Sound. But both examples would pose risks to health.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I leave a window open in my house, there is a fine coat of grit on the windowsill at the end of the day. I expect this is a combination of dust, diesel soot and whatever effluent is wafting over my house from the steel and cement factories a couple of miles over the hill to the East. I’m not sure I necessarily want a thin sprinkling of that magic dust all over my clean clothes every time I do the wash.
Lastly, clotheslines are just plain ugly. There would be nothing that would make High Point look more like a tenement than for everyone to have to look at all of their neighbors’ underwear hanging all over the place. While the green benefits in exchange for aesthetics might seem like a no-brainer to you, consider the cultural implications of publicly hanging undergarments for the significant Muslim population at High Point.July 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm #729982
Can’t chase the perps through the backyards as efficiently, blocks SPD’s line of fire.July 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm #729983
The Velvet BulldogParticipant
I am definitely hanging laundry out on nice days–not the undies though. I can’t imagine people want to see mine any more than I want to see theirs. (And those that do…ew.) Haven’t had an issue with any layers of dirt on the hung clothes–an occasional bug maybe. Being mostly unemployed now, I’m looking for any option to save a buck. I’m also an enviro-geek, so it appeals to me on that level too. I will admit though, that the clothes do need to be tossed into the dryer once in a while to get them back into shape–line drying stretches the t-shirts out like crazy.July 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm #729984
cjboffoli; this is not my issue or any kind of a big deal for me; I was passing on the request for input from Sightline, and sharing my experience from very likely way before you were born; brings back fond memories for me of my childhood in the 50’s, just like the door to door deliveries of milk, eggs, baked goods and Fuller Brush and Avon, when neighbors all knew each other and visited often ……. and much of that neighborly chatter was over the fence while hanging laundry out
don’t think I said “most of the time”; of course not in Seattle; and like I said before, even when I had huge yard and it was just fine with my landlady and neighbors, I never did hang laundry outside; but I sure don’t think it’s ugly or gross, or makes Highpoint look like a tenement; I think they look quite lovely
it is very surprising to me that this “green community” that has received awards and commendations from around the world, would ban clotheslines; I don’t get itJuly 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm #729985
and yes kootchman; I am way more concerned about crime in Highpoint, and safety for families, than clothesline rightsJuly 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm #729986
I certainly do appreciate (remembered from childhood) the fresh-smelling scent of clothes dried outside in the summer. (Not to mention the spring-loaded, wooden clothespins that were versatile toys). Though the stiffness that Velvet Bulldog mentions was an issue, as were unexpected rainstorms. I just think science should come up with a more energy efficient way to dry clothes inside as, again, in an increasingly dense urban environment, it just doesn’t seem like a practical solution to have clothes strung up everywhere.July 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm #729987
Diane: Thanks for posting this. I did not know that homeowners’ organizations or landlords were dictating that folks not line dry. I lived in Arizona for several years, and always line-dried there. I would do it here more were it not for the unpredictable weather.
Your post prompted me to run a quick search, and I found several sites that promote National Hanging Out Day (April 19) and provide calculators for determining the cost and carbon emissions associated with using your clothes dryer. The expense, waste of energy and other resources, and environmental damage from clothes dryers is nothing short of amazing; but even more amazing are the justifications for banning clotheslines from our communities.
There’s a documentary that was released earlier this year, Drying for Freedom, that (according to he producers) explores why line-drying is banned all over the U.S. (but nowhere else), what it’s costing us and our environment to ban outdoor drying, and who benefits from our love-affair with indoor hot-air drying.
Fascinating issue.July 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm #729988
Discovered this thru Diane and got the Seattle Housing Authority’s side of the story – including the fact this may be up for reconsideration soon. Home page story in a few minutes.July 29, 2011 at 12:05 am #729989
I don’t think any scientific breakthrough is needed cjb. I’ve been air drying my clothes indoors since I was a teenager. I always preferred cotton shirts and the dryer in my childhood home would render them unwearable due to shrinking. So I just stopped using it and the habit stuck.
So the wet clothes come out onto hangers and up onto the shower rod, the light shades, curtain rods…whatever. Takes 12 hours or so, but no shrinking and no electricity (other than the house heat).
What science has already invented is the front loading washing machine, the better models of which (say Bosch, Miele, etc) spin your clothes upward of 1,000 RPMs. Clothes come out of the washer already halfway to dry.
What should be banned are top loading washers: noisy and wasteful of both water and electricity. Unfortunately, my only option in my current rental, since the builders apparently couldn’t spare and extra 1.5 inches to fit a full size washer in the space. Dumb!
The higher end dryers these days have humidity sensors and can turn themselves off when the clothes are actually dry (not just when the egg timer runs out). But, that’s only a solution for the affluent who can pay $600-$1k or more for a dryer. No landlord is going to pay for those. At least until that technology is mandated across the industry. We’ll see how it goes with the CFLs.July 29, 2011 at 3:15 am #729990
I have a clothesline in my basement. The many birds enjoying the fruits of nature and making deposits on the old outdoor line caused the switch.July 29, 2011 at 6:09 am #729991
Most of the apartment buildings that have been constructed in Beijing and Shanghai in the last 15-20 years, in the big modernization push, have deep interior window wells and a rod at the ceiling so clothes can be dried inside. Most urban centers in Germany have community clothes lines in the courtyards of the massive apartment blocks. Almost anywhere else in the world people dry their clothes outside. We are spoiled to have one dryer (or more) per family. I personally prefer my clothes dried in the dryer, but I know it’s a big waste of energy.July 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm #729992
Line drying is the least of your inequalities at highpoint. How many of you read your HMA agreement? It comes on a CD.
You don’t even own the outside of your house. You get notified when it is going to get painted and don’t dare put up political signs except in windows.July 30, 2011 at 7:44 am #729993
Remember when you had to go to Laundromats to do your wash (until you could save enough to buy a W/D?) Now they’ve gone the way of phone booths.
Interesting article on the costs of doing laundry:
You can get a good (folding) drying rack for indoor use and then toss the dry clothes in the dryer for 10-15 minutes to take out the wrinkles and stiffness. Clothes will last a lot longer and retain their size and color better too.
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