Retractable Clothesline

Here you see my family room with a retractable clothes line and a nice fire going to dry my laundry. I mounted the retractable line on one wall and used two sturdy hooks so I can get two lines. A ceiling fan circulates the warm air. This also has the benefit of humidifying the house in Winter. When dry, the line zips into its holder, the size of a small plate.


Source: I got this idea when I stayed at a Vicarage in England as an exchange student in 1969. The Vicar would fire up the stove to bake the week's bread, and there was an elaborate rack and pulley system to put the wet clothes high up to dry in the heat. The Church was built in the 16th century, and the Vicarage kitchen had a very high ceiling.

By Polly from Cloverdale, CA

December 30, 20090 found this helpful

How do you reach the line?

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December 30, 20090 found this helpful

I would love to know the "how-to" of setting up the reatractable line. Did you buy it as it is, or design it? What are the necessary steps to making one?

I am very interested in this, because my husband and I live in the mountains of NC and also use a wood stove for heat. When I have laundry, I hang it on hangers on all the available areas: curtain rods, chandalier, ceiling fan blades. They dry, then we fluff them in the dryer on low/no heat with a softner sheet. It saves $$ on the electric bill, and adds humidity to the air, that is otherwise very dry from the wood stove.

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December 30, 20090 found this helpful

Excellent idea, and the ginger cat looks warm and toasty, too. 5 stars!

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December 30, 20090 found this helpful

It is funny how we take our "modern conveniences" for granted, and I don't mean that in a negative way. I was in a museum this fall that had a mock-up of a tenement flat, and there was a wood drying rack on a pulley system in the main room. As I looked at that, I realized it looked remarkably like the drying rack in my grandparents large kitchen when I was young (in the 60s and 70s). It only then occurred to me that it would have been a necessity for my grandmother to dry the laundry for a 9-person household. To be honest, (she never let us in the cellar--she thought it was too dangerous), I don't know if she even HAD a dryer!

I prefer to hang laundry in the good weather, but I have the luxury of making the choice. I love the idea of the retractable clothesline. I have had the multi-line kind when living in neighborhoods where deed restrictions limited having them. When we moved into our current house, I decided to not worry about the deed restrictions, and in 12 years, no one has complained.

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December 31, 20090 found this helpful

We hang all of our shirts on hangers then hang them from the shower bar.

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January 1, 20100 found this helpful

Good job!

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