April 19 is celebrated each year as National Hanging Out Day. There are two meanings to the term “hanging out”. One deals with hanging out with your friends, and one deals with hanging laundry outdoors.
This national day is not an excuse to join with your friends and goof off for the day. Rather this day encourages us to hang our clothing outdoors!
Since this holiday falls in April, it’s a great time of year to start putting your laundry outside!
How did National Hanging Out Day start?
It used to be a common occurrence that people dried their clothes on clothes lines outdoors. But with the invention of modern day dryers, this is not something that we see as often.
I’m sure some of us can remember our mothers or grandmothers dragging a basket of laundry out to the clothesline in the back yard.
This national day started in 1995 by Project Laundry List. The group educated people about the benefits of washing clothes in cold water and then air drying them.
The group was located in New Hampshire and has a mission statement of “making air-drying laundry and cold-water washing acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy.”
The founder of the group, Dr. Helen Caldicott, famously said, “If we all did things like hang out our clothes, we could shut down the nuclear industry” at a Middlebury College symposium.
The organization was helpful in getting “right to dry” laws passed in many states, in opposition to Home Owners Associations (also known as HOA’s) who were making the practice of outdoor clothes drying an offense in their communities.
You can read more about the history of this organization here.
Why hang your clothes outside?
In spite of the fact that overreaching by HOA’s makes this practice illegal, there are still many reasons to hang out your clothes to dry.
- Electric dryers use 6-10% of the energy consumption in residential areas. Hanging clothes outdoors saves money.
- Hanging clothes outdoors is good for the environment.
- Clothes which are dried outside on a clothesline have a natural freshness and smell.
- In order to hang clothes outdoors, it means that we are also outside and fresh air is good for our health.
- Sunlight can help to bleach and disinfect your laundry.
There are a few cons to the practice, though. Drying clothes outdoors takes longer, produces more wrinkles and is cumbersome for large articles like sheets.
But these are minor inconveniences for the potential energy savings.
How to observe National Hanging Out Day
There are lots of obvious ways to celebrate National Hanging Out Day. Here are a few other creative ideas to help honor this day.
- Even a small clothing rack can be used to air dry clothes on a back yard deck or patio.
- Go all in! Turn off the dryer and install a back yard clothes line to air dry clothes.
- Invest in some fancy colored clothes pins to hang your clothes on lines out doors.
- Volunteer at Project Laundry List.
- Post flyers in local community center or give flyers to your child’s school to help teachers to educate students about the benefits of air drying.
- Use the hashtag #NationalHangingOutDay to spread the word about the day on social media. Here is a tweet to get you started:
What are national days?
National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods, animals and items that you come into contact with.
Be sure to check out my national day’s guide for more fun days to celebrate.
There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in April.
Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the April food holidays here.
Be sure to also check out these other unusual national days this month:
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