Waste not, want not…and other joys of retro renovation

I have been entranced with the idea of putting up a clothesline for about a year now. This week, my excitement peaked when I discovered a whole market for vintage clothesline paraphrenalia and bought this cool Cordomatic Clothesline Reel, unused in the original box, on eBay.


In addition to being very interesting graphically and functionally, the clothes reel is a reminder of yet another reason to consider a retro renovation — it’s green. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” — was the original environmental rallying cry; now it seems, the mantra is to demand more e-friendliness in our products…but to keep using more more more, always new.

Regardless of the politics: Hanging your clothes out to dry not only saves energy — it saves money — it’s exercise — it reduces stress — and presuming you live somewhere with cleanish air, it gives your clothes an oh so nice smell and feel.

Much the same can be said about any number of retro renovation projects – they’re positive on so many fundamental levels. Salvaging my aquamarine kitchen cabinets saved them from going to the landfill — where I’m sure they were destined — and made for a much more interesting kitchen. Putting up pinch pleats from an estate sale saves from heat and air conditioning loss through our windows, repurposes existing resources, and saves tons of money vs. buying new. Vintage sofas, chairs, tables, dressers — are usually better made and save money, too. On and on it goes.

In such a “disposable” world — it’s nice to be on the re-using end. And having fun with it all, too!

  1. That’s awesome! I’ve been obsessed with a clothesline ever since we closed on our home as well. Not only is it more economical, clothing seems to smell better and kind of sparkle after being sun-dried (not to mention the fact that sunlight kills germs & will gently bleach whites).

  2. 50sPam says:


    Doing more research on installing a clothesline now goes on my official to-do list. When I was in Canada a few years ago, I saw an awesome, heavy duty, “aluminium” umbrella-style model that you could buy and concrete into the ground. I’ll have to ask my friend there, Chantal, to go to the Canadian Tire (like a Sears) and look for it for us. Alternatively, a relative told me an even better route is to build an assembly out of 4x4s, two “T’s” with the cords hung between them. I think that people used to do this with plumbing pipe also. More work and more space, but super heavy duty. Meanwhile, I’ll use my Cordamatic inside for the winter.

    BTW, did you see the newspaper stories recently about homeowners’ associations banning clotheslines because they were “unsightly”? Argh.

  3. 50sPam says:

    Yup. That is EXACTLY what happens! Send a pic sometime. I am very interested in vintage laundry line paraphrenalia. Thanks!

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