High and dry

Mary Russell first inspired me to consider going solar in the clothes drying department, but her inspiration fell short of me taking action. Then my sister-in-law, Judi, kicked in. She lives on a farm and hanging out laundry is part of her lifestyle. Still, no action on my part. Despite the exhilarating smell of fresh clothes (you know it's true), bridging the chasm between not having a clothesline and my lazy, hypocritical butt has been too far a stretch. Plus I'm an obsessive compulsive freak when it comes to physical surroundings. I see houses as art. A droopy clothesline would drive me to distraction.

All that said, I am pleased to report that my problem is solved. Earlier this year, I installed the clothesline of my dreams.

This is the simplest and most beautiful clothesline I can imagine. And the whole thing costs less than $15.

  • Hooks - 4
  • Inexpensive clothesline rope - 50 ft
  • Small rope U-clamp - 1
  • Closet pole (ten feet) - 1
  • Tools required - cordless drill with 1/4 bit

How to get it done

First decide where you'd like to have a new piece of functional art around your house or apartment. Just look for a triangle of three connection points where there's good sun for at least part of the day.

In our case, the installation stretches across the driveway, with two hooks on trees and one on the house. One tree hook and two house hooks would work just fine, too. Use a cordless drill to make starter holes for the hooks. The fourth hook goes at the top of the clothesline pole. More on that later.

To install your new clothesline art, tie one end of the rope to one of your hooks, then stretch it loosely to the other two hooks. Don't cut the rope until you decide where the middle of your clothesline will be. The "middle" is where you will put your clothesline pole.

My "middle" is closer to one tree, as shown, but that's just a choice I made. It could have been anywhere. Play around with different locations.

I know you're thinking ... clothesline pole? Trust me. The clothesline pole is the coolest part of this system. It's striking as a design element, ... and it's essential for full functioning.

Once you know where your middle will be, use the clamp to form a Y shape in the rope, with the bottom of the Y being doubled up as shown. You'll also be able to use the clamp to create tension on the rope, just by sliding it "up" the Y.

The pole story

If your triangle of sun involves a driveway or parking area, you run the risk of clothes interfering with access. Having a clothesline pole allows you to lift both clothes and line way above the cars, yet lower it down for ease of hanging. My wife Jane is five feet tall, and this system works perfectly for her. The bottom of the pole is just sitting on the ground. No holes to dig, no nothing. Just a wooden pole pressed held up by tension of a single rope.

People have been using clothesline poles forever, but usually they're holding up long, droopy lines. In this case, sliding the clamp along the rope allows you to tighten the line so that it feels architectural and crisp. Having that sense of design is what made this work for me.

It's not often we come across something cheap, attractive and functional that makes it so easy to do the right thing.


Clothesline poles

I've been watching the DVD set for All Creatures, Great and Small (love it), and an episode I just watched yesterday showed a lady boosting the line up with a pole just like yours. Which I had never seen before (or noticed, anyway). Seeing it twice in two days is kind of spooky...

I have always hesitated

I've always hesitated because I just figured that the neck on t-shirts wouldn't "shrink" back to the normal size (which would drive me nuts), so I haven't done the whole clothesline thing...yet anyways. I suppose I could look in to whether or not that actually happens though, before I toss the idea aside again.

Oh for god's sake

This is where Bluenc is focused these days -- whether or not to hang laundry out on a line. ~!@#$%^&*(

Laundry and Poll Results

I am eagerly awaiting an announcement of the poll results on another kind of "clothesline": the kind where the dirty undies of the Party(ies) are held up to the Sun's rays. The poll was initiated yesterday, i think, on this blog?

Anyone want to share the final tally? (I did not vote.)

I do hope BlueNC can continue to be a place for letting the sunlight in on the dark corners of our political real estate. The MSM is not longer able or willing to do so.

Martha Brock

clotheslines are the most elegant form

of solar power.

Plus the clothes smell so much better.

And to paraphrase Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary to continue squandering energy (especially with hoggish clothes dryers)is for good people to do nothing."

Edmund's sentiments

I am quite certain Edmund would agree that clotheslines are the way to go.


We joined the solar powered laundry revolution last year. Fresh sun dried sheets bring back happy childhood memories indeed. We live out in the middle of nowhere, sort of, so we had no worries about neighborhood restrictions, etc. that many folks face.

Our clothes line uses a pulley system so we can hang and retrieve the laundry without ever leaving the shade of our porch. Will have to look into the pole & hook thing though, sounds like another improvement we might find useful.

Mixing golden, yellow sunshine with BlueNC yeilds a lovely shade of GREEN ;-)


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Thank you, Thurman

Always good to see you out and about.

Hanging out and taking in the laundry has become one of my favorite things!

Just saw this news article today

Don't mean to bump such an old thread, but it is quite relevant. Saw this article today about homeowners associations pushing back against people who are using clotheslines. Apparently some states have already made it law that HAs can't govern that.



I've been following this line (pun intended) too. Ironically, I just reengineered by own clothesline to make it even cooler than before. Now using a 1.25" piece of conduit as the center post. It looks very cool ... even with clothes on it!