When you think farmhouse, what is the first picture that pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze? That’s what I always envisioned when thinking of our future farmhouse. A garden just off to the side of the house, chickens wandering about the yard in search of fat worms, and all the freshly clean clothes drying in the warm summer wind.
When we purchased our farmhouse, one of the first things I asked for was a dreamy white clothesline.
We were here for just shy of three months when one evening as we walked the yard after dinner I asked Travis if, for my birthday, he could make my farmhouse clothesline a reality. I found some plans (which he altered because he always does), and off he went to the store to purchase the necessary items.
Friends, it’s simply perfection.
I have a basket that came with us from the last house, and I use that to cart my clothes back and forth. But this one would also be up for the task!
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3″ Coated construction screws for the sides
5″ Coated construction screws for down through the tops of the posts
2-3 bags of concrete
Where to place the clothesline
I wanted the clothesline next to the back door that was closest to the laundry room. For our house, this is the door that exits the kids’ playroom/homeschool room. Some day I want to make a stone path from that door to the clothesline, but that’s another project for a different day. (I’m also going to make that door a dutch door, but again, getting ahead of myself.)
We decided to make our clothesline 20 feet long, and 6′ tall. That seemed to be the perfect length to keep the lines taut, and height to keep clothes from touching the ground. Any longer and the lines begin to sag, and tightening can actually pull the posts toward each other, causing them to lean.
Our soil here is clay, and it’s compacted so hard that a post-hole digger isn’t a great option for us. Instead, we use this auger for making holes. It’s been a game changer and time saver for all our projects around the farm. We even use it to dig the holes to plant our orchard trees and my rose bushes!
We placed our clothesline on a small sloping hill, so one of our post holes had to be a bit deeper than the other to help accommodate for the elevation change. Travis is the king of making things strong enough to last until the end of time, so each of our posts was placed an average of 4′ into the ground. We used one and a half bags of concrete for each side.
Using spare pieces of wood, support your main post by screwing them into the sides to hold it upright while you pour the concrete in. Allow 24 hours to cure before moving on to the next steps.
White Clothesline dimensions
We cut the horizontal cross boards to be 4′ in length. The cross members that support the horizontal boards were cut to 23″ in length, with 45-degree angles on each side. We pre-drilled the holes for the eye bolts and attached them to make assembly easier. Make sure to space eye bolts identically on both horizontal boards. Measuring is key here to the lines looking straight when clothesline is assembled.
I’ve seen the top horizontal boards be notched and also not, but I liked the look of the puzzle fit notched assembly, plus, it provides the clothesline with a bit more strength. We glued the horizontal board to the upright post mainly to make it watertight. You can also glue the side supports for added strength and waterproof.
We placed the posts in the ground first and trued them together to ensure they were straight. After the concrete cured we took a line level and made sure the tops were level to each other. Once level, attach the top horizontal board and side supports.
Once posts are complete, assemble wire using the clothesline kit materials mentioned above.
Attaching the wire
Loop and connect one side of wire using the rope thimbles and the wire cable clamps, make your first end and attach to one side of the clothesline. This will be the non-adjusting side.
Now take the opposite end with thimble and clamp and attach to other post. Then, with turnbuckles open, pull wires as tight as possible, then clamp down using the wire clamps. You may need assistance with this part to keep the wire tights while clamping down.
Now hang clothes and enjoy!
These old-school clothespins are my favorite!
It brings me such joy to pin up my clothes to the line. It reminds me of my grandma Judy, who would always hang everything outside to dry. (And I mean everything. From the sheets to her skivvies.) She said the dryer was a waist of time and everything smelled better line dried.
And if you have a problem keeping white clothes and sheets white, hang them on the line on a blue sky day and the sun will naturally bleach your whites and make them bright again. I always use to hang my stained baby cloth diapers at our first house and the stains never stuck!
Want to see my dreamy clothesline in action? Make sure you’re following along on Instagram where I share all the farm happenings in real-time.