Clotheslines are one of my favourite home appliances.
Well, it’s not exactly an appliance per se. And that’s why I love it.
The clothesline (or as some prefer, warshline) is a long lost tool that is both green, saving the sky a few more emissions from our coal-generated power, and economical, which means fewer kilowatts used by your household and thus cheaper power bills. Win, win.
Even better? The smell.
Candle companies and scent makers may try to emulate the smell of fresh linen or clean cotton, but no chemical concoctions come close to that fragrance.
How can I describe it?
I always associate it with home, with returning from school and discovering my bedroom smelled heavenly because the bedclothes and curtains had been washed and hung outside. And, of course, they were always freshly starched and ironed.
That smell inspires renewal. All your worries, washed away, replaced with hope and optimism.
It means spring is here and you can finally hang out your wash. While dryers are convenient when it’s raining for five days straight, or when it’s 15 below in the middle of January, the coming of spring means it’s time to smell that smell again.
It doesn’t matter what kind of detergent you use. Yes, some smell better than others. But even the most economical detergent, once it’s been exposed to a brisk wind and bright sun, captures that fresh odour. While I have a particular affinity for Tide with Downy, I also enjoy Cheer or anything else that is economical. Do you use environmentally friendly and organic laundry soaps? Don’t worry; the lack of fragrance in your soap won’t matter a bit. Plus you can feel as though you’re not poisoning yourself.
Interestingly enough, the smell of a nearby horse manure pile never gets on the wash. As I unpin it after a long beautiful day, all I can smell is freshness encircling me, as the wicker of the basket crinkles and settles with each garment.
The smell is released whenever you pull on a shirt. Whenever you climb into bed, poking your feet down to the bottom. Whenever you open up a towel after a bath and bury your face in the terrycloth.
One of the worst things about apartment living is that you have to bake all of your clothes in a dryer, which is both costly and destructive to your clothing. Apartments should have community washlines or at least those contraptions that look like wild TV antennas.
And subdivisions that forbid washlines? I spit on you. Phoot!
Hanging out your warsh is an experience I would never forgo, even if I became a millionaire and no longer needed to economize.
Nothing compares to that smell and the nostalgia it evokes. To me, it’s priceless.