There are times when I am not sure if North America is ahead of China or are the Chinese actually ahead of us.
Take drying clothes as an example. Are not clotheslines far cheaper and more environmentally friendly than clothes dryers?
An article in "Managing Curb Appeal" from the New England Condominiums states:
"After all, it’s hard to attract
prospective homebuyers if your association’s grounds are scattered with
litter, the flower beds are choked with weeds, and residents constantly
have laundry hanging out their windows."
Most of our condo directors would blow a heart valve or two if they saw
this clothesline hanging from one of the units in their condo buildings.
That is one difference between Chinese condos and ours. They have no
problem drying clothes out of their windows. I have seen clothes
hanging out of condo windows and on balconies all the way from Shenzhen
These homes have special clothes-drying racks attached to the buildings just outside their windows.
I seen clothes hanging from lower floors. At this new condo in downtown
Nanjing, the clothes are drying just above the ground-floor advertising
On the south side of this building, the clothes add an interesting dash of colour to the off-white walls.
This is the building next door. Since I took this photo in the early morning, the day before must have been washing day.
I believe that although most apartment dwellers own a washing machine
but very few own clothes dryers. Chinese washing machines are smaller
than our machines and they are located in the bathroom near the hot
When you want to wash your clothes, you fill the top-load washing
machines using the flexible shower head. The machines are plugged into
a regular electrical outlet so no extra electrical wiring is required.
If you don't own a dryer—and no condos I saw have laundry rooms as amenities—you have to dry your clothes somewhere.
Many newer condos have solariums so the residents dry their clothes inside ther units.
High and low
I saw laundry hanging from the highest floors of condo towers in
downtown Shenzhen. It's obvious that no one was worried that the wind
would blow their clothes half way across town.
Another interesting thing was to see steel security bars all the way up
to the very top of condo buildings. In northern China, I never saw
barred windows above the third floor.
(You can see that the barred windows are all different from each other. The owners install what they like.)
The owner of a commercial-residental unit in Dandong dries her clothes on a parking spot out in front of her retail shop.
Why not? If the cars across the street can park on the sidewalk then
why can't she dry clothes on the road. (Notice that she uses a green
chair to protect her clothes line if the car backs up.)
A washing machine just needs an electrical plug and a place to drain
the water. Many Chinese apartments are small and they do not have room
nor are they wired for clothes dryers.
So most Chinese use clotheslines to dry their laundry. As you can see,
some hang their clothes outside their windows. Newer apartments usually
have sunrooms with built in clotheslines so they can dry their clothes
Some of the hotel rooms had clothes racks in the shower stalls which came in handy.
What about property values?
Clotheslines do not appear to have any affect on property values whatsoever.
Clothes lines are coming—someday
In Ontario, the previous Liberal government's drive to cut electrical
usage, would have allowed clotheslines in condos starting in January
2019. They would have been limited to the exclusive use spaces for
ground floor units.
However, the newly elected PC government repealed the Green Energy Act, so condos can continue to ban clotheslines.
In the United States they have nine "Right to Dry" states including
Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, and
In addition, a 1979 Oregon Law states that any restrictions on "solar
radiation as a source for heating, cooling or electrical energy" are
"void and unenforceable." Clotheslines rely on solar energy so they are
included in Oregon's Solar Rights.
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