Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hanging Out My Laundry

This is how I hang laundry in Honduras. And yes, I use cloth diapers too. The image on the right is our "backyard" and our huge blue pila.

I lived without a dryer for over a year; but a few months back we had to break down and buy a dryer. It was the rainy season and as you can see from the photos here, we have a wall that runs along the back and sides of the house. The wall is nice for privacy, but it is not so good for air flow. Without the sun and very little breeze circulating the clothes would never dry and we ended up having to make runs to a cousin's house close by to use their dryer. It really became a hassle to deal with. Sometimes we could get by with hanging clothes inside with fans blowing on them.

Electricity is beyond outrageous in Honduras too, but what really is the kicker is the tax you pay on it. It's more than the charge of what you consume! Does that make any sense? It's at about 120% right now. I don't know how that can even be legal; but it is what it is.

So here I am in MN and electricity is expensive here too, right? duh... we are in a recession. Being the good daughter that I am, I figure I'll help my parents out by breaking out their clothes line and help them pinch a few pennies by hanging the clothes to dry. I'm pretty good at it now that I've had a lot of practice. My parents have this really cool retractable clothes line thing that attaches to the side of their house and you pull it out and anchor it into a removable steak in the ground and ~ voila! A clothes line! So cool. Check out the awesome vintage clothes pin holder too. My mom kept it all these years and it was still full of clothes pins.

I've got to be honest...Sometimes when I hear people talking about how they love the smell of clothes dried on the line outside, I wonder...really? I think either it stinks way too much in Honduras because my clothes sure don't have that fresh scent when I take them off the line. Not in Honduras, and not here in MN. They just smell like dried clothes to me. But I also don't use huge amounts of detergent and softener either (to save a buck). I think many people use twice as much as they need and drown their clothes in softener to get those nice smells that linger.

I'm really not getting any tree hugging feeling by hanging my clothes out. It just feels like the smarter, wiser thing to do. It's a good example for the kids too. After a bit of grumbling from Sister having to go back to stiff jeans - she is also helpful in getting the clothes off the line for me.

I used to have many romantic visions about ways to live green and save the planet. A lot of these green dreams became more about the green in the bank. I'm all about saving a buck and if it's good for the earth - even better! Since I'm talking about this, I've got to give a shout out to one of my blogger friend who has a nice blog about living simply. I admire people that live environmentally conscious. I also used to read a daily bite on simple ways to live green called Ideal Bite. Check out these little green nuggets if you'd like.

When I moved to Honduras, I think being surrounded by so much...well, non-green living practices, the whole concept of green living lost it's luster. I don't think that it's that Hondurans don't live green, in a sense, or care about it. It just seems to be more of a necessity than a mission. There doesn't seem to be some romantic vision to save the planet in Honduras. Many will hang their clothes up to dry outside but throw their garbage in the street or burn garbage in their yard. You see what I'm saying?

But isn't that retractable clothes line cool?!? Happy belated earth day!


Live Simply Love Strongly said...

Very cool clothesline!

Thanks for the mention! I'm all excited today about my easy cheese recipe that I'm trying. Hope it turns out!

Laurie said...

I guess it's all about perspective. I am LOTS older than you, and we grew up with clothes dried on the line. I like the smell of clothes aired on a line rather than the dryer. However, lately I am drying clothes simply b/c the apt I live in now has a dryer, and the line is rather small in the bathtub. Happy drying.