International Clothesline Week


By Sharon Schweitzer


International Clothesline Week was first started in  2006, and is celebrated from the first Saturday of June to the next, all around the world. This year it takes place from June 1st-8th. It is a week-long celebration initially created to enlighten people about more sustainable living. Do you know that Hills Clothesline, the famous clothesline producing company in Australia was started by a former WWII soldier, Lancelot Leonard Hills? The Hill’s Hoist, is a type of clothesline widely used around the world. The story of Hill’s invention was so widespread that realizing the business side of it, the former soldier decided to take his invention into business, and thus, came the birth of Hills Clothesline, a famous clothesline-producing company known globally. He wouldn’t have thought of inventing the rotary hoist clothesline, that would be globally sought after if his wife hadn’t complained about washing falling off a prop washing line. This proves that challenges bring forth opportunities.

Gary Drisdelle founded the day to advocate for use of the century-old laundry essential. As the world strives towards green energy and less carbon emission, individuals, organizations, and parastatals have advocated for less use of energy sources that emit ozone-depleting substances. Drisdelle decided to remind the world of one such way that is as simple as going back to drying one’s laundry on a line in their backyard. About 16 years back, he founded a week-long awareness event, International Clothesline Week, and today, it’s observed by loyalists worldwide.

It’s difficult to say when clotheslines were first used and imagine, instead, that clothes were simply hung anywhere they could get dry. The word ‘clothesline’ was not even mentioned in any text until the 1830s in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. More recently, the invention of the clothesline is attributed to Gilbert Toyne, a blacksmith, who first patented his Aeroplane Rotary Clothes Hoist in 1911.

It doesn’t take much effort to put up a clothesline these days. They come in a variety of interesting mechanisms and sizes so you can customize them to your lifestyle. Whether you live in an apartment or out in the country, there’s a clothesline for you. And the benefits add up, too. Though we will point out from the beginning, one of them is not time savings. Using a clothesline does take a small investment in the time arena, but it makes up for it in benefits.

It has inspired many to reconsider their routine use of electric dryers and to adopt more eco-friendly laundry practices​. One playful way to kick off International Clothesline Week is to turn your clothesline into an art display. Imagine hanging clothes, colorful fabrics, fun patterns, and even some DIY decorative items like lanterns or streamers.

It transforms the mundane task of drying clothes into a vibrant spectacle in your backyard!


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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