I live in a century-old house with a couple of laundry lines that look like they've made it at least half that long. An ancient grape vine winds up one post. I use the laundry line in the summer for unbelievably quick drying, and many a vintage dress has aired out in the breeze.
I guess I may be one of the lucky ones, as I have read there is a growing movement to protect a citizen's right to dry his or her clothes on an outdoor clothesline, challenging many state laws.
The argument against use of lines is that it creates a messy vista, lowering property values. Nearly 59 million Americans live in association-governed communities, according to Frank Rathbun (spokesman for the Community Associations Institute). He said most associations restrict clotheslines to some degree. (Right to Dry groups seek laws allowing clothesline drying October 21, 2007, Alison Lapp, The Associated Press)
Arguing for hanging clothes out to dry focuses on the aesthetic of clean smelling clothing and getting oneself out into the fresh air, and the frugality (the average household stands to save $100 a year over the use of an electric dryer according to Alexander Lee, executive director of Project Laundry List). Besides, clothes last longer when not subjected to the heat of the dryer. This is always on my mind, being a lover of vintage clothing!
Most of all right now, supporters of "Right to Dry" are siting the energy consumption of the home dryer and how much it affects global warming. "At last count, in 2005, there were 88 million dryers in the US, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Annually, these dryers consume 1,079 kilowatt hours of energy per household, creating 2,224 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions." (As an energy-saver, the clothesline makes a comeback August 24, 2007, Caitlin Carpenter, The Christian Science Monitor)
Check out the great tips, information and just plain fun at Project Laundry List.