I noticed something missing in America, the clothesline. Hanging clothes outside is great therapy. If more people hung clothes, doctors would be out of business. It’s good for achy muscles, stiff joints and stress related illnesses. Bend, reach, ssstttttretch. Breathe. Inhale, pick up the jeans from the basket, and exhale as you pin garments on the line. Hanging laundry forces you to slow down. It’s mindless, which gives you time to focus on the world around you.
As I hang laundry in my little yard in Switzerland, I admire Mont Blanc, a white peak sticking up above a jagged, gray mountain line, behind a shimmering blue lake. Granted not everyone has a view of the Alps, but no matter where one lives, there is beauty to behold – yellow daffodils, emerald lawns, pink cherry blossoms.
I keep old-fashioned wooden clothes pins in a pin bag loving stitched by my mom. Although my son never used pins; he had his own technique. He would fling clothes from the washer directly on to the line. On windy days, I used to pick up my boys’ boxers from my neighbors’ yards on my walk home from school.
I’ve never owned clothes dryer. In Europe, they used to cost a small fortune. They are so tiny, a pair of socks, two t-shirts and three boxers would fill them. Washing machines, also compact, make laundry a daily chore, but it keeps me fit. I haul clothes up and down 24 stairs from the bedrooms to the basement. So my FitBit is always happy.
Every time I do laundry, I think how lucky I am now. When I first moved abroad, I washed clothes in the bathtub on my hands and knees. Then I hung tops, shorts, and socks on furniture to dry.
When first married and living in Paris, my sweat suits waltzed on the wrought iron railing from my balcony overlooking the town square. After our daughter was born baby clothes hung from a rack above the tub. Onesies fell on my head every time I took a bath.
I had been married 15 years before I owned a clothesline and a yard to put it in. Now I have one of those lines that spin and I love watching pants and shirts twirl in the wind. At the end of the day, while folding clothes I enjoy the comforting ritual, seeing the sun slink behind the mountains in a golden glow. While gazing at the view, I daydream unless a family member shows up to help, then we talk. Hanging clothes together helps us stay connected.
Better yet, keeping clothes clean gets me out of the house and away from the kitchen. Some fathers put up Christmas lights in July when they want to get away from the kids, I hung laundry to escape from the daily demands of motherhood.
If they still make clothes lines over in America, you should buy one. It’s a wise investment for your health. You’ll feel better in a couple of days, once you get back into that rhythm. Bend, stretch, breathe. Just what the doctor ordered.