Clotheslines Banned in Thousands of U.S. Communities

You are officially invited to join the fight to legalize it…again. No, we’re not talking about the smokable plant that’s gotten so many politicians in hot water. We’re talking about the good old fashioned clothes line.

As families all over the nation seek out different ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money by using less energy, many have decided to return to hanging their clothes outside to dry them. However, many have met with great disappointment when homeowner’s associations and community management services have told them the lines are not allowed.

Treehugger.com reports that, “hanging clotheslines was against the rules in so many communities nationwide that state governments are being forced to step in and make it against the law to ban them. And states like Vermont and Utah have already succeeded. But the fight for the right to hang clotheslines is just getting started.”

Using an electric clothes drier can account for up to 10% of a household’s total energy use, and the EPA and other environmental organizations concerned with energy conservation and energy efficiency have been telling people to purchase Energy Star appliances for years. While this is a good idea on paper, many people aren’t financially able to simply go out and upgrade to a fancy new washer and dryer. However, they are being told they can’t have simple outdoor clotheslines, which are much cheaper and carbon neutral.

The reason for this clothesline predjudice, at least according to the ones making the rules, is that hanging clothes is unsightly, offensive, and causes property values to drop.

“It’s already hard enough to sell a house in this economy,” said Frank Rathbun, a spokesman for the national Community Associations Institute, “And when it comes to clotheslines, it should be up to each community association, not state lawmakers, to set rules, much like it is with rules involving parking, architectural guidelines or pets” (via an interview in the NYTimes).

While hanging clothes all over your trees and bushes might not be the best way to make friends with the neighbors, you can hardly call a few t-shirts and pairs of jeans flapping in the breeze an offensive practice…or can you?

Richard Monson, the president of the California Association of Homeowners Associations, told Legal Affairs magazine that a clothesline in a neighborhood can lower property values by 15 percent: “Modern homeowners don’t like people’s underwear in public. It’s just unsightly.”

What do you think?

Image Credit: kitchengardners.com

533 comments

Debra Masters
Debra Masters10 days ago

Thank you.

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Pauline Walton
Pauline Walton10 days ago

I've been doing it for years and my neighbors all around me do it too. No one complains.

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Pauline Walton
Pauline Walton10 days ago

Thank you.

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Teri L
Teri L11 days ago

Thank you.

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W. C
W. C11 days ago

Thanks.

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William C
William C11 days ago

Thank you.

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Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

What happened to freedom? It's a line, for heaven sakes. One that saves money and the enviorment.

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Penny L.
Penny L5 years ago

Who the hell do these people think they are trying to control us this way! Clotheslines are a part of life, make your clothes smell amazing, and are eco friendly! Take a stand, or next they will be telling us what we can do in our own back yards! This is outragous, has nothing to do with selling houses, it a control thing, and i am not putting up with this! I am going to go hang clothes out right now! Screw these community management people! My dad always said we have power as a group, so use it! This is the beginning of more bs to come, so fight for your rights!

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Anna Gualandris
Anna Gualandris5 years ago

CRAZY. On one hand we are to save energy, on the other, they cut our ability to do so. Clotheslines have been here forever and should stay for obvious reasons. I really hope that the authorities have better things to do than worry about jeans hanging in the wind. Have the Dollar regain its former power for one, and bring back our soldiers from the far away shores. These, should be their only priorities for now.

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Doris Mason
Past Member 5 years ago

I can not believe that there is a ban on hanging freshly washed laundry, on a clothes line. Of course,I too would object, if I had to look at unclean looking laundry,hanging for days at a time. It definitely would not be to my liking either. In the days of the past, there were no automatic washers or dryers, so one had to take care of the wash and dry,by using wringers, and hanging outdoors. The sunshine and the pleasant smell of the hanging laundry, was something of a sense of pride, and love of family.


The cost of electricity has risen, so to hang ourdoors should never be banned...

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