There are days when I like to pretend that Laura Ingalls Wilder lives next door.

In her little house on the prairie.

And she and Mary and Carrie and Grace always stop by to help me get the eggs out of the chicken coop and pick the corn from the garden for supper and milk the cows.

And Charles is always available for anything that requires a wagon and sage advice.

And Caroline Ingalls is always bringing over a peach pie.




And then there are days when I want to buy my eggs and my corn and my milk at Kroger and drive my John Deere lawn mower instead of a wagon and listen to Matt Lauer for sage advice.

And wash my sheets in my high-efficiency washer.


But I always want to go all “Little House in the Prairie” with my sheets.


Have you ever smelled sheets that are hung out on the line?


They will make you believe that all is good and right with the world.


kittens in the basket


I’m not sure if it’s the fresh air.

Or the wind.

Or the sun.

Or little sheet fairies that stop by to sprinkle fairy dust.

But the sheets smell……like fresh grass after it rains and the smell of the warm sun beating down on your face and the smell of the wind on a crisp spring day…..

……all rolled into one.




I love hanging my sheets out to dry…..but I’m not really old school when it comes to laundry on the line.

So I checked with my little house connections (thanks Alice) to get some official advice if you ever want to hang your sheets out to dry.

And here’s a few suggestions:

(1)  If you are hanging whites it is best to hang them in the sun… it definitely whitens them.

(2)  If you are hanging sheets, hang them lengthwise on the line and hang them folded over the line to keep them secure if the wind is blowing. Always put pins on both ends of the sheets and put 2-3 pins in between.


laundry basket


(3)  Always hang towels individually.  This will make them softer and fluffier.  I have seen people hang them double and this makes them stiff.

(4)  Never leave your clothes pins on the line after bringing in the clothes.  They will darken and make marks on the next clothes that you hang out.

……and this was my personal favorite…..

(5)  Never put your clothes line under a tree for obvious reasons.  Birds love white clothes.
You have to try it.


You have to try going all “Little House on the Prairie” with your sheets.

And when your done and you have the wind and the rain and the sun to tuck you in at night…..


……I’ll share a piece of Caroline Ingall’s peach pie with you 🙂

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  1. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    Yep! Not to mention what it saves on the electric bill -- oops, I mentioned it! :) I would add that towels dry softer on a windy day but wind will make your clothes fly away. I've been hanging laundry outside since I can remember. I remember every clothes line at every place we lived since I was three years old. When first married I tied out a line at the trailer park and brought it in when I finished for the day. Now I have a beautiful scaled down version of the very first set up that I remember. What a convenience!

  2. Image for Jen Jen

    I always thought it was three sheets to the wind. Let me tell you,there was more than one neighbor called Half-Pint.

  3. Image for Lynn @thevintagenest Lynn @thevintagenest

    Yep, it's so nice to sink into fresh clean sheets especially if you are really sleepy....mmmmmmmmmmm. I don't hang outside but Mom always did and it was my job to bring the laundry in. Summer was nice but winter.....not so good. I remember frozen clothes and on a rainy Monday, the clothes were hung in the attic. These days I do use a drying rack for certain items and I put it outside on the deck. It's so nice to bring in a little bit of sunshine to put away. :)

  4. Image for Scribbler Scribbler

    Nothing smells as wonderful as sheets dried in the sun and fresh air! That's all we had when I was growing up, and I thought it was terribly old-fashioned. Now I wish I could! The dreaded ARB doesn't allow clotheslines in my neighborhood, and I think this is universally true now in most city neighborhoods.

  5. Image for Eva Eva

    A great post. I have always thought that it's easier to feel closer to my maker when I'm breakthing in the smell of freshly dried sheets. It's a private worship experience. We do have a stalker, though. Sam the Sinister Cat likes to turn around and pee on my sheets if they are hanging too long! This has resulted in my folding them up so that they are a bit shorter in the breeze. He will also aim for the clothing basket which I leave outside empty many times while the sheets are drying. Very treachourous living in the country with all these little wild beings! :) Very wonderful living this rural life.

  6. Image for Gina Gina

    Oh Kari! Now I have even more reasons to LOVE you! You are talking to a girl who grew up in a house built right behind my grandmother's. After school was spent playing Little House in her garage full of antique hutches and sewing on her peddle foot Singer. Some days, if it looked cloudy, she would ask me to hurry and bring in hose glorious sheets from the line. Sleepovers at her house were the best. Crisp white Italian linens with hand crocheted edges...heaven. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Image for Maureen Maureen

    This is something I can't do because of allergies, but it sounds wonderful and does bring me back to the Little House days of my youth!

  8. Image for Suzy @ Worthing Court Suzy @ Worthing Court

    Oh - I love the smell of linens dried outside on a clothesline! Too many of our younger generation will never get to experience the loveliness of it. Your post brought back memories of my childhood - snuggling down into a freshly made bed with sheets off of the clothesline. There's nothing like it - I can smell it now!

  9. Image for Mary Alice Patterson Mary Alice Patterson

    Brings back memories of hanging the laundry on the clothesline out back. My sister and I had the job of bringing in the sheets and pillow cases and ironing them. Yup, those were the days of ironing your sheets! Delightful post, Mary Alice

  10. Image for Kim Kim

    Wow, you make hanging sheets out sound so romantic! I must get a line. Thanks for the tips, too. I think my mom left the pins out, but not sure.

  11. Image for Kirby Carespodi Kirby Carespodi

    We here in the fancy neighborhood are not allowed to have clotheslines. Which makes me wish I lived in the country again. But then I remember having to euthanize my chicken who had lost a leg under mysterious circumstances, and then I am glad I am not in the country anymore. It is a viscious circle, this brain of mine.

  12. Image for Bliss Bliss

    When we moved to this house a clothes line was on my wish list, which we never got around to putting up, I just use the deck rail when I must. Have not wanted one for the past few years till now as I smelled your towels. I would add one more thing to the list; must have one of those cute clothes pin holders that go on the line. Do you remember them from when you were a little girl? ~Bliss~

  13. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    I love the smell of sheets straight from the line - all sunshiny sweet and fragrant! On my bucket list - get the trees along the north all taken down and a clothes line installed. Hopefully by next spring.

  14. Image for Kimberly from Serendipity Refined Kimberly from Serendipity Refined

    Oh Kari, I'm so happy for you that you can hang your sheets outside to dry! There's nothing like it in the world! Here in suburgatory, there's an ordinance against clothes lines so I"m "Pioneer Woman"-ing them instead. It's close, but certainly NOT as good drying in the sun on a summer (or spring or autumn) day!

  15. Image for Donna Donna

    I love hanging sheets out, nothing better. My #6 would be, always wipe down the clothes line (we always used nylon cord) before you hang those white sheets....dirty rain leaves dirt on the clothes line.

  16. Image for Daniela @frugal ain't cheap Daniela @frugal ain't cheap

    When I got marry 6 years ago, we did not even own a dryer, so I hung to dry all of our laundry. Then we found a dryer for free on the side of the road...I mostly use it during the winter cold months, but still hang most of our laundry! and yes, the sun will take stain off your clothes, because it is a natural "bleach". (I put the cloth diapers in the sun, and it does takes stains out of it)

  17. Image for Peggy Peggy

    I do love line dried sheets too! maybe not orange or brown sheets though, they don't fare as well but we now have some really interesting geometric shapes on the sheets. ha ha! :) Really I am not supposed to dry any of our things on the clothes line due to allergies but the occasional sheet has been known to make it onto our lines. How do you get your towels soft?

  18. Image for Ally Ally

    I did it once. My towels were crunchy but the sheets were nice. However, I don't have your big beautiful trees so mine was hanging off of poles. Yours looks Little House, mine looked ghetto.

  19. Image for Beverly Beverly

    I remember driving through the country and seeing line hung clothes catching the breeze. It always looked so pretty. We always lived in a city so no line hanging for us, but my grandmothers let me help to hang their wash.

  20. Image for Chris Chris

    My laundry has been hung outside whenever possible forever. Nothing smells like 'staying overnight at Nana's' like sheets dried in the sun. And the sight of lines and lines of fresh white diapers flapping in the breeze gives you a good feeling. Mother Nature takes really good care of us.

  21. Image for Pinky Pinky

    You have hit a nerve: There is nothing better than sheets from the line. That being said I would DEFINITELY dry mine outside, ID I WAS ALLOWED TO, BUT, my neighbor was going to SUE me for breaking the deed restrictions. Come to find out, that is NOT ni the deed restrictions. I am looking into whether I can hang them at the new house???? I hope so! Loved your tips. Have a great day. XO, Pinky

  22. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Oh Kari...brought me back to the days when the only way you dried clothes were "on the line".....I only lived in one house that I was allowed a clothes line...I remember the very first thing that my sister and I did when we came home from school was to take the clothes off the line and fold them...I miss those simple times...of sweet, air freshened sheets...So I just put my laundry in the dryer and look at the wall at my vintage clothes pin holder and of days gone by....

  23. Image for Martina Martina

    Growing up all we used was a clothesline, those were the good ole' days! Your right about the sheets smelling so good too. NO dryer sheet can give you that smell! Great post KariAnne!

  24. Image for Michele Michele

    My Mom always hung sheets on the line and you are right - there is nothing quite like it. I don't do it here because the neighborhood association frowns upon it....and I have really grown to love the super soft Downey fresh goodness of machine drying. But I have this covered patio and I always hang my delicate hand washables to dry there - kinda unseen so the Association Nazis don't get upset. LOL. Love this post.

  25. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    This brings back so many memories! Mother always hung our sheets outside! You're right they are sprinkled with fairy dust! I can smell it now! Our subdivision doesn't allow clothes lines or chicken coops! What is wrong with them? I can understand the chicken coop, but not having a clothes line! This is just another reason to move to the country where I grew up! I guess for now, I'll just have to imagine smelling the sunshine dried sheets! Lovely post!

  26. Image for Gee Gee

    Good morning, Am I in the minority here?? Am I missing out on a very important thing? Sigh... Always thought they would be stiff. See, I learn someting new every day in Blogland. Thanks Karianne :-) Will have to get my 'Little House' vibe on. Cheers, Gee

  27. Image for Mrs. C Mrs. C

    Sun-dried sheets; the best, freshest, necessity for any bedroom!!! The clothes line was one of the first home improvements we made when we moved here. I'm in complete agreement with you, Caroline and all the other ladies who love sheets kissed with sunshine!

  28. Image for Ashley Ashley

    Our clothes line is unfortunately right beneath the power line that goes from the pole to our house. Usually the barn swallows only tend to poop on Mike's t-shirts, and I am hilariously okay with that.

  29. Image for Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista

    I've never tried it, but it does look so nice and the smell! Wow, my grandmother used to do this and I always loved that sun-fresh smell of the sheets at her house. Starting in on LIttle House in the Big Woods with my 5 year old, I'm so, so happy to be back with those characters after a too-long absence. Jessica

  30. Image for Ruth Ruth

    My mother always hung our clothes on a colthesline and when I was tall wnough to help, I did too. Several years ago, I asked my husband for a retractable clothes line for our big, sunny back porch. It has 5 lines and when I'm not using it it retracts nicely to one side of the porch wall. It has saved me SO MUCH on our electric bill, but mostly it reminds me of those long-ago summers when I was tall enough to help my mom carefully pin up our sheets...

  31. Image for Kristy Kristy

    Growing up in Australia, our laundry was always hung out to dry - undercover in the winter. When we moved to Michigan I couldn't believe that no-one had their laundry hanging out, and I bought some portable airing racks from Lowes so I could dry my laundry outside on the deck again. I remember the neighbourhood children asking me why I hung my clothes out to dry and I told them it's better for the clothes, better for the environment and better for your electricity bills. By the time we left Michigan to move to Germany (where everyone hangs their laundry outside), many houses in my sub were hanging their laundry outside to dry! My parents in Australia (aged 66) have NEVER owned a dryer ...

  32. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Ahh yes, I can remember as a child crawling into bed at night and knowing mom just put fresh sheets right off the line and onto my bed. The smell was heavenly. I've been meaning to install a clothesline for some time now so I think that will be my weekend project! Thanks for the Little House on the Prairie moment.

  33. Image for Lynn Wood Lynn Wood

    I remember my mom hanging the sheets out on the line long after we got "the 'lectric dryer". She just liked the way it made them smell. OK "Caroline" (you don't mind if I call you Caroline just for today), you've got me convinced, I'm going to give it a try. Have a very prairie day! Lynn

  34. Image for Laura Laura

    Mine are all dry and smelling wonderful, so where's my pie. Okay, you caught me, I told a big fat fib. I just pulled them out of the dryer, but in my own defense, I live in a townhouse. :)

  35. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Oh how I miss my clothesline! NOTHING beats the luxurious feel and smell of sheets dried in the sun. I appreciate so much that your posts are always so uplifting, helpful and delightful. I look forward to each and every one!

  36. Image for

    Well. I see that you have a lot of comments here and I do hope you can make your way down to mine. I saw your post because my friend Kimberly (Serendipity Refined) shared it on FB - and I'm probably going to go and do the same when I'm done here. I think we should be friends because we clearly have a lot in common. I think you should go and see my latest blog post: and see the SECOND thing I found at a yard sale the other day. I also want to point out that I have also written a blog post using the phrase, "go all Little House on the Prairie" - where I talked about how my mother cut down a dress to make me a new outfit. . . it sounds like you and I might understand each other. Nice to meet you! breida

  37. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    I so very much miss that hanging the sheets on the line smell awesomeness ... and when I moved to Chicago and we bought our house I tried to do it here. But, somehow, the fresh grass and sunshine smell was overpowered by bus exhaust and alley smells. So sad. Now I'm a slave to Bounce .... :) me

  38. Image for Libby Libby

    Have you all seen this video from Our State Magazine? It's wonderful. About hanging out the clothes on the line! Enjoy!!

  39. Image for Linda Linda

    There's nothing like the fresh smell of laundry. My Mom would even hang out her clothes in the winter and they would come in frozen. Then she would hang them off the kitchen chairs next to the vents and when the furnace came on the scent went through out our home. I can still smell that fresh scent , childhood memories.

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