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Summer wardrobe a favorite part of season

Sat., July 30, 2011, 6:12 a.m.

A clothesline great for environment, feel of clothes

There was a bit of a dustup around here the other day. Somebody, I won’t say who, put a couple of my white shirts in the dryer. This, as I pointed out while looking for the culprit, is not my way. I have a system and that system has nothing to do with the big white machine in my basement.

When summer arrives my wardrobe gets simpler. Because I work from home as much as I do, and there are fewer downtown meetings, business breakfasts or lunches and other events to attend, I am pretty casual. Most days I wear a pair of jeans and a white cotton shirt. It’s simple and I can dress the look up or down. More often than not, the shirt isn’t even pressed. It’s all relaxed and comfortable, just like the season.

On laundry day I wash a load of white shirts in hot water and then put each shirt on a sturdy hanger as I take it out of the washing machine. I take a minute to smooth the fabric, pulling out wrinkles from the collar, cuffs and front plackets.

Then, the shirts and blouses, hanger and all, go out to the clothesline in the backyard. They spend all day drying in the hot sunshine. When it’s time to take them in, they’re ready to go straight into the closet relatively smooth and crease-free.

If an occasion calls for a freshly-ironed top I’ll go back to the laundry room to take care of it. Otherwise, I put it on as it was when I brought it in.

I like the seasonal ease of the system. I like the comfort of cotton and the fresh smell the shirts bring to my closet. I especially like the idea that the dryer wasn’t used. The clothing lasts longer and wears better without the wear and tear of the dryer and I use less energy. And, to be honest, knowing what I’m wearing before I even open the closet door saves me time and personal energy.

I have to admit I get a special pleasure from the sight of a row of clean cotton shirts hanging in the sun. I know it won’t be long until the only “white” I see out my window will be snow on the ground and I’ll miss the simplicity of having the sun do my ironing for me.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at

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