My aim with DIY projects around the home is to look for innovative space-saving ideas and save costs on materials by recycling.
How to Make Your Own Innovative Laundry Basket From Wood
What to do when your laundry basket for dirty laundry gets in the way and more so what to do when the cat chews the handle off and the basket's wicker begins unravelling; you buy a new laundry basket, one that doesn't get in the way and one that the cat can't chew.
And if that doesn't work or you can't find a laundry basket that suits your requirements and décor then you might consider making your own that does meet your needs; which is what I did; and by using scrap, recycled wood, it didn't cost me anything to make this bespoke purpose built designer wooden laundry basket.
The details of my solution this novel laundry basket designed to meet my needs is given below; and maybe it will help inspire you and others to be innovative in finding your own solutions.
Innovative Wooden Bespoke Laundry Basket
Concept and Design
My main observations of laundry baskets for keeping the dirty laundry until wash day is that they are stationary, they need to be easily accessible, easy to use in depositing dirty clothes and easy to empty for sorting out and separating the whites from the coloureds and the woollens from the cottons etc.
The one thing that sprang to mind that meets all these conditions is a 'post box', a wooden post box built-in as a piece of fitted furniture where you could just post your clothes during the week and open the door to simply empty it for sorting and distribution of the different wash types into their different piles on wash day; simplicity in itself, and therefore the basis for my design.
The other advantages of this design is because it's built-in it's right against the wall and maximise on space so the depth is less than the space a conventional freestanding wicker ali baba laundry basket takes. There's no lid to worry about as you just simply post your clothes in at the top opening, which also acts as ventilation and its top provides a permanent shelf which can be utilised as another space saving idea for displaying ornaments, keeping books or other household items on. In our case we use the top of the built-in laundry basket as a shelf for a fancy wooden jewellery/trinket cabinet.
The Making of the Wooden Laundry Basket
Choice of materials and construction
Having made the outline design the next step was choosing the right materials and construction method. For this I rooted about in my shed to see what spare salvaged wood I had. My preference is for real wood but people who know me when remodelling their house or moving home will often offer me their old furniture for recycling the wood; and often these days it tends to be furniture constructed from laminated chipboard. Therefore I had plenty of old bits of contiboard (laminated chipboard) and an odd bit of kitchen counter top which would make for a great top to the built-in laundry basket; although any available wood could be used to make the top.
The door has to be considerably shorter than the cupboard specifically to give the letterbox opening at the top for posting dirty clothes without the need to open the front door; or a lid as an alternative more conventional design. The large gap (opening) at the top provides adequate ventilation, which is essential for clothing, but if you have any concerns you could always fit vents to the sides.
The whole construction is a very simple design with just two sides, a top and a bottom, and the door at the front. The sides are screwed or fixed to the top and bottom and the whole unit is firmly screwed to the wall with fixings similar to how you would fix a kitchen base cupboard to the kitchen wall e.g. just a few blocks that screw to the wood on the inside that are then screw securely to the wall. For fixing the unit to the wall and the sides to the top I used chipboard joint blocks.
For fitting the door I chose to use a couple of kitchen cupboard hinges specifically because these hinges incorporate a strong spring that keeps the door firmly closed without the need for a latch. No handle is needed in this design because the top of the door, which I finished off with a piece of decorative wood, acts as the handle for opening and closing the door.
Kitchen Hinges and Wooden Door Handle in the design
Purpose and Types of Laundry Baskets
Dirty laundry and clean laundry
Laundry baskets serve several purposes so, especially in a larger family, you may have a need to have different types of laundry baskets for these different purposes. The tasks laundry baskets have to serve are:-
- Storing dirty laundry until washday.
- To carry the dirty laundry to the washing machine.
- To take the washed clothes to the washing line or airer to dry.
- To take the dried clothes from the washing line or airer ready for ironing and if necessary store ironed cloths temporarily until put away in drawers and wardrobes.
Obviously for carting around your laundry to and from the washing machine and from the clothes line or airer for ironing and then putting away a laundry basket with carry handles either side, whether it be plastic or a wicker basket, is ideal; and when not in use can be put away somewhere e.g. in the bottom of a cupboard or wardrobe, or under the bed where it's not going to get in the way until when it's next required.
For keeping your dirty washing until wash day you need something more substantial that can stand in the corner of the room somewhere for people to put their dirty laundry until wash day e.g. a wicker ali baba laundry baskets, a chest laundry basket usually made from wicker or a metal frame and canvas, or one made from plastic.
The Problems with Landry Baskets
Space and Usage
The problem isn't with the carry laundry baskets it's often the stationary laundry baskets for storing the dirty laundry until wash day. These types of laundry baskets being in constant use need to be easily accessible by the whole family at all times but unless you have a redundant corner in the bedroom they're likely to be constantly getting in the way. They can also be bulky and too heavy to drag around the house so come wash day you need to transfer your washing to a lighter, less bulky laundry basket with carry handles.
In our case we had an ali baba type laundry basket made from wicker that gave us many years of good service. However, we don't have a spare corner in the bedroom to keep it so it was placed close to a wall where it frequently got in the way, being knocked over or pulled over by playful cats and in time the cats chewed through the handles; after which the wicker started to unravel. The other problems with it was the lid was not always put back creating a further trip hazard and come wash day the whole contents had to be emptied in order to sort out the whites from the coloureds for separate wash.
When our wicker laundry basket went home we bought a cheaper plastic upright laundry basket but it still got in the way and, although the cats had no interest in chewing it, plastic isn't as strong as wicker so it was only a matter of time before the plastic handles began to split. And as with the wicker laundry basket the lid was often left off creating a trip hazard.
It was at this point that we looked around for other options and the best option to suit our requirements would have been the more expensive chest or square rigid laundry basket with a hinged lid and made from wicker or wood. It was at this moment that I had one of those Eureka moments for making a bespoke wooden laundry basket to my own design that would meet all our requirements.
Plastic or Wicker Laundry Baskets
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Arthur Russ
Your views and comments on Laundry Baskets
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 16, 2017:
Thanks all for your feedback, comments and tips, and for sharing your thoughts and experiences; greatly appreciated.
lucille12 on April 09, 2015:
With many attractive and efficient products offered in the market, you will easily get a certain organizer that matches the décor of your house.
Carol Houle from Montreal on February 21, 2014:
I prefer wicker, but my cat has pawed it so much over the years it unraveled. I thought I was the only one. LOL I cut up an old bed sheet and rewove most of it. Now he's working on the very bottom of the woven banana leaves. The above didn't work for me so I post here instead.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on February 18, 2014:
As usual....very innovative! :)
VspaBotanicals on February 18, 2014:
I'm crazy about this idea!
Rosyel Sawali from Manila Philippines on March 23, 2013:
This is an awesome idea! Something we are badly in need of. Now if I could learn how to make it... ^_^
annieangel1 on February 23, 2013:
great idea I could do with one of those laundry baskets
Frischy from Kentucky, USA on February 23, 2013:
This was a great solution to your problem. I like your permanent laundry hamper!
norma-holt on February 01, 2013:
Never realised there was such a variety of laundry baskets and whether timber, plastic, wicker or other they are all called baskets, interesting. Blessed.
anonymous on January 31, 2013:
Its always fun to read how you approach and solve a problem and your postal hole custom made laundry hamper is another example of your ingenuity...practical, functional and low cost with your ability to make a little magic with what you have on hand. That hinge is a great idea....always delightfully done sir!