For a while now I’ve been struggling with a laundry room that is perpetually a mess. Although I only have one child for now, another one will be along shortly, and I do about three times as much laundry for my husband as I do for myself. He has a work uniform, casual clothes he wears at home, and work clothes he wears while doing dirty remodeling jobs. Sometimes he goes through three sets of clothes in a day, and he doesn’t like to re-wear stuff often. All that adds up to a big pile of laundry.
While I’m pretty good at staying on top of actually washing the clothes, I’m not so good at putting them away, and there was really no place to stack stuff in my laundry room, so piles would end up being toppled, undoing all of my folding work. Recently on pinterest I found plans for these laundry basket dressers, and they seemed like the perfect solution. You can find the plans at ana-white.com, which is another discovery I made in the process. She has plans for all kinds of DIY furniture, and I definitely have a few more pieces on the list to make. There are a couple of different configurations for these dressers, so you can choose which makes the best use of your space, but I chose the taller ones that hold four baskets each. Each unit uses one sheet of 3/4” plywood.
I made these with my dad, but they are really very simple, so if you have some basic tools and have someone cut your boards for you if you don’t have a saw (the store will sometimes do this for free or for a small fee), then you should have no problem doing them by yourself. The only change I made to the plans was to add some decorative molding to the front edges so the rougher plywood edge wouldn’t show.
I’m super happy with how these turned out, and they’ve been just as helpful at containing the laundry mess as I had hoped. Now I just fill up the baskets as I do laundry, and once they’re full, I put them away. The idea is for my kids to put their own clothes away once they get old enough, but that’s a few years off. I also decided to make two dressers instead of one because as a family, we already fill up the one. Add in another possible future child, and I would need another one anyhow. This way, I have a couple of extra baskets. My husband has two—one for work clothes and one for regular clothes, and I use another for items to go downstairs (kitchen linens, tablecloths, downstairs towels, etc.). I’ve also overtaken a couple for ongoing craft projects…but hopefully those will empty out soon.
I painted the dressers red to add some color to the room, and I just love the way they turned out. I primed with a brush first, and it took me about six hours for both. I wasn’t about to do that again, so I had my husband use spray paint, and it was a really good choice. It took about three coats and several cans, but it gave a very smooth finish, took less time, and cost about half what a gallon of paint would have cost. The rungs are difficult to paint around, which is why it took so long with a brush. I suppose it also would have been easier to paint the insides before they were assembled, but I didn’t think of that at the time.
Honestly, one of the parts I love the most about these dressers are the cute little tags I made to label them. I’m quite proud of them because I designed them in Photoshop with my seriously limited skills. I installed a new font and for the background I used a picture of the fabric from fabric.com, where I bought my curtain fabric. I then laminated the tags and tied them on with red ribbon—it must match, of course! Anyhow, they’re very functional and sturdy as well. I’ve been carrying the baskets around the house, and they are quite secure.
The finishing touch for the project was making an organizer (I’ll post more on that soon) in coordinating fabric to go over the top and down each side. I wanted a mat of some sort for the top since I planned to set things up there and possibly slide things around like laundry detergent. It also helps tie the two units together and prevents anything from falling in the little crack between the two. I could have made it all one unit, but I like having them separate in case I decide to move them or change my configuration at some point. The sides were pretty much wasted space, but with the organizer, I have pockets on both sides now. On the laundry side it holds a bleach pen, lingerie bag, etc. and on the sewing desk side, I’ve filled it up with scissors, rulers, pencils, and other sewing notions.
One of these days I hope to make some basket liners out of the fabric I have left….it’s going on the list, but for now I’m very happy with the way things have turned out. The room is much more functional, feels more spacious, and the bright happy colors make me smile when I go in, even if it is to do laundry.