Drying laundry outdoors, done hit or miss, can be the most exhausting part of the wash-day procedure.
Here are a few rules to follow which will ensure less stooping and straining:
- Don’t have the clothesline so high that each piece calls for stretching.
- Before wheeling laundry out, sort in the basket the order in which it is planned to put them up them, ie.: sheets together, towels together, etc. This will prevent chasing back and forth along the line, either carrying wet clothes or pulling the basket.
- Buy a child’s wagon or build a little platform on wheels on which to trundle the garments along and save lifting the basket. (An old baby carriage with the hood removed would be ideal–serving both as bin and wagon.)
- Hook the peg bag on the line and push it on ahead of you or rig up a little trolley wheel which will make pushing easier. (Here are some patterns to sew your own).
- To save sprinkling* take the items down while damp. Follow the same procedure noted above and take in similar pieces at the same time. Smooth and fold them, which will save time later and allow a bigger load in each basketful.
- Arrange dresses and blouses on wooden hangers to make ironing easier.
Rights and Wrongs Of Hanging Items
As in everything else, there are rights and wrongs about putting up clothes. Here are some rights:
- Clean the clothesline with a wet rag (do this after it’s up).
- Be sure pins are clean and smooth.
- Position white articles in the sun where they can bleach; colored fabrics in shade where they will not fade.
- Place bedding and other large linens first, fitting smaller things into the spaces.
- Fold sheets in half, hem to hem. Position over cable the long way with one-third of the folded sheet on one side, two-thirds on the other. Secure on either end and in the middle with clothespins.
- Never peg anything by its corners or hems will tear.
- Place towels with one-third of length over cable, pillowcases the same, open end down.
- Napkins, handkerchiefs, belts, etc., may be hung in groups. See to it colored and white things are not mixed.
- If there seems to be a strain when an article is fastened with a clothespin, move more of the fabric over the cable.
- Be careful that the clothesline is not hung too close to bushes or any structure which garments may touch if the wind becomes stronger.
- Peg shirts from yoke.
*This was a common method of preparing something to be pressed…nowadays people prefer using the steam setting on their iron although some believe that certain things are ironed easier and turn out nicer when sprinkled (besprent) dampish first.
- On hot sticky days, mildew will form rapidly. Do not let dampened laundry stand more than three or four hours. In the winter, they may be left overnight. Colored pieces should be spritzed immediately before pressing.
- A large salt shaker, a mason jar with holes poked in the metal cap or a pristine whisk broom will aid in distributing water evenly.
- Use warm water, since it penetrates and spreads more easily than cold.
- Do large items first, one at a time. Small articles, handkerchiefs, dish towels, may be laid in piles, besprent and rolled together.
- Heavy fabrics must be quite wet. Double areas, collars, cuffs, hems, also require more thorough spritzing.
- Roll garments smoothly, with as few wrinkles as possible. Pack them in clothes bin and cover with clean cloth.
Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Book, 1948