How to Hang Pulleys on an Amish-Style Clothesline

Updated April 17, 2017

With the cost of electricity and natural gas on the rise, it makes sense to save money by hanging your freshly laundered clothes outside on a line to dry. The Amish are known for their clotheslines because they don't believe in using automated clothes dryers. Pulleys on a clothesline allow you to stand in one place. It's the clothesline that moves, not you. Here is how to mount pulleys on T-posts.

Pre-drill holes in the clothesline horizontal cross T-posts . If they are wood, use a drill bit slightly smaller in diameter than that of the wood hook screws. Insert the tip of the wood hook screw in the hole and turn it into the wood. When it becomes too hard to turn the hook by hand, insert a screwdriver horizontally through the hook. Hold the screwdriver with both hands and turn clockwise. When you're finished turning, the end of the hook should be facing skyward.

Drill holes all the way through the cross posts if they are metal. Use a drill bit the same diameter or slightly larger than that of the hook screw. Push the threaded end of the hooks through the drilled holes, put on the nut and turn it until the hook is locked tight to the post. Use a wrench to tighten the nut hard against the post. Make sure the end of each hook is pointing toward the sky.

Slide the pulleys on to the mounted hooks. There is a hole at the top of the frame that the pulley wheel rotates in. One pulley goes on one clothesline post, and the other is mounted on the post directly opposite the first one.

Cut the clothesline rope twice the distance between the two pulleys plus two feet. Thread each end off the rope on to each corresponding pulley, going from top to bottom. Tie the two ends together, pulling the rope as tightly as possible and tie a double knot.

Trim any excess rope.


Be aware of the different types of clothesline rope and choose accordingly. All cotton rope tends to sag and stretch out. Vinyl-coated wire is the strongest but is harder to use in conjunction with pulleys. Polyester and nylon rope will start breaking down in time if left out in bright sunlight. If you are installing your own clothesline posts, before installing the pulleys make sure you call the utility company to come out to check for any underground gas or electrical lines before you start to dig postholes.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood-threaded hook screws
  • Machine-threaded hook screws
  • Wrench
  • 2 pulleys
  • Clothesline rope
  • Utility knife
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About the Author

Robert Gray has been writing full time since 1995. His first photography book took seven years to research and publish. He specializes in writing on photography and the arts. He's written for Photography Magazine, Large Format Camera Magazine and many online art and photography websites and blogs.