There is absolutely nothing as fresh as sheets dried outdoors in the sunshine. Agreed? The smell, the feel, the look of them swaying in the breeze. And these days you get the added sense that you are "doing good" - that you are being socially responsible by relying on renewable energy sources (the sun and the wind) rather than fossil fuels to dry your clothes.
And yet, there are some people who find clothes lines tacky and junky-looking. Check out Drying for Freedom, a documentary in current production. This is from an introduction to the film:
Tens of millions of individuals across Northern America are banned from outdoor line drying by the very communities they live in, forcing them to turn to the dryer. Homeowners who break the rules are fined, sued and even foreclosed on. This ban is not only infringing on civil rights, it's contributing to the environmental and energy crisis. The dryer is responsible for 6% of the average household's energy bill and it costs residential ratepayers in the US an estimated $5 billion annually... Corporate America has sold the dryer and the consumption of electricity as a status symbol, and now they have their eyes on a much bigger prize - the world.
Let's please keep in mind how the rest of the world functions -- that in most of the world, the sun does this work on a regular basis. How goofy that we have made things so complicated!
Yes, I know that dryers are time-savers - for sure - and I know that we are very busy with work and parenting and other important activities. And yet, I do like to imagine what it might be like for us to ditch some of the time-saving machines that bring so much convenience to our lives. I do like to remember that having so many of these machines requires us to work long hours to pay for them, decreasing our time with family and friends. I remind myself of the research that shows that happiness is related most strongly to relationships - to other people - and not to money (beyond the level at which basic needs are met) or possessions. I think about the difference between "wants" and "needs" - and about how many of our "wants" hurt the environment.
I like my toys. But I am trying to learn to hold them more loosely and to keep my eyes on what is most important.