Laundry can sometimes seem never ending. (Right, parents??) And yet, it is such a necessary process in our busy lives. Laundry machines make life so much easier; you throw the laundry in the washer, and it goes. It sings to you when it’s finished, and you switch the load to the dryer. Piece of cake.
But there’s another option.
Have you ever hung your laundry outside (or inside) to dry? Although more efficient technology for dryers is becoming common, there is just something sweet and simple about hanging your laundry to dry out in the fresh air.
I’m talking about a light breeze and gentle rays of sunshine, or even an overcast day with wind shaking the leaves. While it is incredibly labor intensive to hand-wash an entire load of laundry, drying our clothes outside in the fresh air is not so challenging. Many cultures (especially in Africa, Central America, and parts of Southeast Asia) do not rely on a washing or drying machine for the laundry process, instead capitalizing on nature’s providence. By drying laundry in the fresh air, they not only economize resources, but they also benefit from practicing mindfulness, physical movement, and spending time outdoors. I’m hooked on air-dried laundry, and here’s why:
1. Economize resources: Energy and money
Although according to this fellow you won’t save a tremendous amount of either energy (electric or physical) or money, you’ll still save something! If you’re a believer in “every little bit counts” like me, then this is enough motivation to hang your laundry outside. Opting to use natural energy (i.e., the energy of the sun and wind) does make a difference, and doing your part for the environment feels good.
2. Practice mindfulness and care
Doing simple activities like hanging your laundry out to air dry offers a productive way to practice mindfulness. You’ll get something done, while also taking time to pause from other “to-dos” on your mind. Appreciate the time you spend hanging your laundry as intentional, necessary time for refocus and self-care. You’re killing two birds with one stone!
3. Get your blood flowing
Hanging laundry is not rigorous hands-and-knees floor scrubbing, but it is still a gentle way to activate your circulatory system. Being a non-strenuous activity, it can even be a relaxing way to get moving in a different way. We spend loads of time sitting all day, and shaking out a shirt or five can encourage blood flow.
4. Breathe in some fresh air
Especially in the warmer, fresher months, getting outside to hang your laundry is beneficial for a lovely little boost of much-needed vitamin D. It’s easy to stay busy inside, and taking a step out into fresh air away from physical and mental clutter reinvigorates the mind. Maybe it’ll inspire other productive outdoor ventures, as well!
5. Enjoy the true “fresh cotton” scent
Maybe I’m biased here, but the smell of laundry hung out in the fresh air is just better. It has a natural, free smell that laundry dried in the dryer just doesn’t. Plus, if you hang your laundry outdoors, you’ll save money on expensive dryer sheets. And, your laundry will automatically smell like home: Mother Nature’s scent is sweet.