Tag Archives | line drying laundry

Happy Solstice

wintersolstice13

Today I watched the sun rise and set on the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. For a sunlover like myself, It’s a day worth celebrating, as it marks the glorious shift towards lengthening days. Here in New York City, winter kicked off at a balmy 62 degrees Fahrenheit. So, determined to spend some quality time in the briefest day, I donned my shorts and sneakers and went for a run from Red Hook up through the waterfront park, past the three bridges Manhattan/Brooklyn bridges. Since I moved into my place in August, I’ve been enjoying witnessing the Brooklyn Bridge Park transform during the impressive expansion project. I’m grateful to have such an incredible public park to exercise in and I have been trying to take advantage of it (and unseasonably warm weather) every chance I get. Running in this place is my one of my primary defenses against physical and mental ailment.

This year I have more than light to celebrate. I completed my first semester of graduate school this week. It was a challenging four months, during which I hustled to attend to matters of school, work, love, life, and death in a city that is at times less than hospitable. But the things I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve cultivated here have all been well worth the effort and I feel fortunate to be able to call this place home for a while. Needless to say I did not manage to make much time to post, but I have been documenting my No Trash trials and victories and I look forward to having some time between semesters to share some of my projects and discoveries.

laundrydays

Through the hectic, often sleep deprived weeks I somehow managed to stay healthy, even when friends around me were falling ill with flus, colds, and bugs. I’ve wondered if the reason I’ve managed to dodge these ailments so far this season has anything to do with the fact that I was able to come home from work and school to my sleepy Red Hook hideaway, where I’ve been able to establish some sense of order and routine. For instance, being able to wash and dry clothes in my own home may seem like a small privilege, but it’s increased my ability to function efficiently during an occasionally tricky adjustment period. Endless thanks to my best friend who helped me heave my beloved energy efficient washing machine, which I purchased used from a refurbished appliance supplier in Cranston RI, up two flights of stairs into my tiny kitchen. Line drying in my sunny front room humidifies my whole apartment and helps me breathe easier on dry days. Making time to cook most of my meals at home (which I have learned is uncommon practice in NYC) and take leftovers to school to fuel long days of class and study sessions also helped me stay well. And drinking down homemade fire cider to fortify my immunity was also a part of the equation. Stay tuned for a recipe post.

Looking ahead, there are still a lot of No Trash Project elements to fine tune here in NYC. Like the worm bin improvement operation I have been scheming on. But so far I am really enjoying all things new to me here in this great metropolis. To all of my readers who are still with me: Happy Solstice. Here’s to sunlight and health.

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Plot twist

twist

So, it turns out you don’t need clothespins to line dry laundry. I gleefully stumbled upon this ingenious technique during a meandering internet search. How is it that I never thought of this? It’s so simple and efficient. The twisted line seems to hold garments even better than my wooden spring clothespins. And I like the snapping sound it makes when I pluck the dry clothes from it’s grip. This method is especially good for my indoor setup, which I hang up and take down with each load I dry. Outside in the garden, the line I share with my landlady is a more permanent, untwisted setup. I imagine that in an open air situation, a twisted cotton line might be prone to growing mildew after a rain. At any rate, the pin-less approach will be my new indoor jam for the remainder of the cold season.

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The perfect thing

linentowels

My new lightweight, unbleached linen towels will replace my old heavy terrycloth cotton towels. The cotton towels are the only items in my laundry that I find sometimes need to be machine dried. They are quite thick and dry very slowly on the line, especially if there isn’t a lot of air circulation, which means that line drying them inside my apartment during the winter months doesn’t work very well. If they stay damp for too long they grow mildew. They also dry scratchy and matted down when hung on the line.

I’ve read a lot about linen and it’s many wonderful properties. Linen is made from flax fiber and it has the ability to absorb water and dry very quickly. This stack of four standard size bath and four hand towels takes up about the same area as one of my terrycloth cotton bath towels. I’ve used the linen towels after showering now and I love them. I really notice the incredible absorbency when I wrap one around my hair. The linen draws out so much moisture and my hair air dries so quickly afterwards, which is great on cold winter days. And I’m amazed by how quickly the saturated linen dries on the towel rack or on my indoor clothesline.

My cotton towels are a little ratty but still quite useful. I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do with them yet but found some great ideas here. I love the suggestion of donating old linens to a local animal shelter, so I plan to make some calls to see if any near me could use mine. I also know some artists who would appreciate a donation to their studio rag pile.

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Clothespins

I just bought some new (old) clothespins to use on the clothesline I’ve been planning to install in my living room. I couldn’t find any quality wood pins in my area so I finally ended up ordering this vintage set on etsy. I contacted the seller and asked her to ship them without any plastic packaging and she was very accommodating. They arrived yesterday loose in a cardboard box with some newspaper filler. I wanted to find an older set because I figured they might be sturdier than some of the flimsy new spring pins I’ve seen for sale. These are great, and I look forward to putting them to use. With a line and pins, not only will I be able to hang my clothes, but also larger items like my sheets.

I happened to have a burlap bag that’s a perfect size for the pins.

This primitive springless pin came with the set. I think it’s such a beautiful object. I might try to make some like it with the scraps from my woodworking projects.

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