“After enlightenment, the laundry.” Zen Proverb

By Eloise Collison. Eloise is a freelance writer, organic gardener, and fibre fanatic who lives and writes in Westboro.


I’ve been thinking about laundry a lot lately. With five people in the house and a lot of rain this spring, laundry is becoming more of a sporting event than a chore.

To lessen the environmental impact of all this washing we are looking at solar hot water heating, and will be attending the next info session in our neighbourhood. If you missed the previous post it will be in Westboro (Ottawa): Tuesday June 23rd, 2009. 7pm-9pm at Dovercourt Recreation Centre, 411 Dovercourt Avenue, Ottawa, ON.

I am also hanging as much of my laundry outside as possible. It’s been raining a lot this spring but I sometimes hang it out anyway. I call it the second rinse. It will dry eventually, and still smell fresh.

In some communities there are by-laws prohibiting the hanging of laundry. However, in Ontario those by-laws have been repealed. (As far as I can judge from the legalese that I found here.) The environmental tips page at the City of Ottawa encourages the use of lines and laundry racks.

In BC an organization called Let’s Hang Out is working to promote outdoor clothes drying, as a way to combat global warming and save energy. According to the people at Let’s Hang Out, 6% of your household energy is consumed by the clothes dryer.

If you need a reason to abandon your dryer here are mine:

Top 10 reasons to hang your laundry on the line:

1 You can meditate about life as you pin up the clothes.

2 Folding the clothes as they come off the line prevents that “we decorate with mountains of socks” look in your living room.

3 Hanging laundry gets you outside on a sunny day.

4 Laundry flapping on the line is beautiful.

5 In the few minutes it takes, you can keep an eye on your garden, your children and what’s happening in your neighbourhood.

6 No static cling, and no need for fabric softener.

7 It’s a chemical free way to bleach out stains.

8 Bacteria in your clothing is killed when exposed to the sun.

9 Your laundry will smell fantastic when it’s dry.

10 Air drying your laundry saves money and Energy!!

2 thoughts on ““After enlightenment, the laundry.” Zen Proverb

  • I had to laugh about your comment about leaving your clothes out on the line even when it rains. It sounds like you do that deliberately, at my house it is because I forgot (again) to take the clothes down before the storm hit. I like this Zen approach better – the next time I will just go with the (storm)flow ! 🙂

  • Laundry flapping on the line IS beautiful and it does smell fantastic! Must do it more often – thanks for the inspiring post!

    “Fibre fanatic” is a great phrase also!

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