Some laws are made to be broken. Here are a few laws applied to life at home that will confuse, confound, and even irritate you.
You live a clean life: You brush your teeth twice a day, you obey speed limit signs, and you never park in the Customer with Child parking space at the supermarket unless you actually have a kid in tow. After you take a look at these weird home laws, however, you might realize that you’re living closer to the edge of the law than you thought.
Most of these are not enforced (although don’t take our word for it!), but they will provoke the WHAAAAAAT? response in you anyway, we’re sure.
1. No airing your dirty laundry
… Or clean laundry, for that matter. As much as you might love the smell of freshly laundered clothes after they’ve dried in a summer breeze, a law in El Mirage, Arizona, forbid residents from hanging clotheslines in view of the street. If you live in this neck of the woods, make sure a fence or wall hides your clothing and linens from passersby.
Sheesh. Never has an old saying about airing one’s dirty laundry in public been taken so literally. If this law was applied to TMI one-way cellphone conversations on the bus, we’d probably be more on board with this law.
2. No entrepreneurial kids
Your favorite memories from childhood might include those hot summer afternoons spent hawking plastic cups of lemonade for a few cents each. Now, however, business-savvy kids who set up similar front yard storefronts might actually violate the law in certain jurisdictions. Laws in states like Missouri assert that lemonade stands and similar ventures run up against health codes and traffic ordinances.
I ask you! As far as we’re concerned here on the BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home, there should be a mandatory law that reads: “when kids are selling lemonade, you must buy”!
3. No girls allowed
Not more than three to a house, at least. In another weird entry from Missouri, laws prohibit four or more female roommates from sharing a residential property unless they can prove a biological relationship.
This might stem from the days of brothels; lawmakers tried every trick in the book to prevent women from operating houses of ill repute in the Show-Me State. But this is just embarrassing at this point. Women living in the same house is a totally neutral thing, so calm down everyone.
4. No fashion blunders
In Carmel, California, legislators take sartorial choices seriously. They made it illegal for a man to step foot outside his front door in a mismatched pants-and-jacket ensemble. Dress in green pinstripe trousers and a red polka-dotted coat while in the confines of your own residence, but don’t subject your neighbors to any such eyesore. The text of the law does not indicate who enjoys the final word on improper matching.
This is not to mention another law in Carmel that prohibits women (and presumably men, too) from wearing high-heels without a permit. This was to protect people from spills on the hilly terrain, and to protect the city from law suits. This is dumb, although maybe litigators don’t think so.
5. No shoes, no service
Speaking of footwear, New Yorkers must suffer from cold feet or get creative when the temperatures drop on a winter night. A state law forbids both men and women from wearing slippers after 10 p.m., though it doesn’t say anything about socks, sneakers, or high heels.
Additionally, the law fails to mention how long the sleepwear ban lasts. In Oklahoma, feel free to wear your slippers as late as you want, but the law prevents you from wearing boots to bed.
6. No Sunday chores
Several communities forbid homeowners and renters from conducting Sunday chores. If you live in Hawaii, for example, don’t leave the leaf-blowing for Sunday morning; in Passaic, New Jersey, don’t let the law catch you painting your house.
Maybe this is connected to the “keep the Sabbath holy” by not working on Sunday point made in many religious texts. Regardless of your position on that, relaxing on at least one day of the week is probably good advice in general, right?
Laws and changing community values
The police probably have better things to do than conduct ten o’clock slipper checks, busting criminal lemonade stand rings, and cite otherwise law-abiding citizens for hanging laundry to dry. This is not to mention court dockets piling up in most regions!
But, one thing we can count on is that life at home is always changing, driven by the naturally evolving values of communities. Sometimes, laws have trouble catching up. In the meantime, at least we can have a chuckle without risking a fine or a night in the slammer (?).