Monday, January 18, 2010

A Great DIY Laundry System for Small Spaces

Blogger's note: This post was originally published in January of 2010 and was edited in June of 2015.  Among other updates, new photos have been added, more details have been added to the DIY instructions, and product names have been changed due to manufacturer name changes.  This post contains affiliate links.

Here's a riddle. How can you store 2 loads of dirty laundry without taking up a single foot of floor space? With my favorite laundry solution for small spaces: hanging laundry bags! Household Essentials (which acquired Whitney Design in 2010) makes an affordable cotton canvas laundry bag designed to hang on a doorknob. If you hang two bags on double hooks--one above the other--either on the back of a door, or on an inconspicuous wall, you'll have a great place to toss dirty laundry.

Household Essentials laundry bagI love these bags.  They're sturdy, affordable, easy to carry with one hand, and each bag holds a full load of laundry. The hook at the top of the bag comes in handy for hanging the bag when you're transferring clothes into the washing machine.

As of June 2015, I have owned my laundry bags for over 6 and a half years now, and they are holding up great!  In my former house, I hung the bags one above the other on the back of the bathroom door as seen in this photo from 2010:

The system worked beautifully.  The only problem that I noticed over the years was that when both bags were completely full of laundry, they threw off the alignment of the door a bit due to the weight.  This problem corrected itself as soon as the bags were "reset" to empty again though.

After moving to a new house that has a bathroom layout without space behind the door, I decided to use drywall anchors to hang the bags on the interior side wall of my master bedroom closet.  Though the closet is tiny by today's standards--less than 4 feet wide and just over 3 feet deep--the bags fit right in.  Here's a photo to show placement:

See how well my laundry bags are holding up, 6.5 years later?!  The bags are sold plain, but you can easily personalize your laundry system by adding words in a fun font to the front of the bag. Here are instructions for how to create your own personalized laundry system:

  • Two hanging laundry bags
  • Two double hooks
  • Drill and/or screwdriver
  • Drywall anchors (if hanging on drywall)
  • Tape measure
  • Computer/printer/paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Ballpoint pen or dull pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Black acrylic paint and/or black laundry marker
  • Teeny tiny paintbrush (if using paint)
1. Type your chosen words in a word processing program using a large font. I chose to type the words "Lights" and "Darks" using Palace Script MT font in a 200 point size.

2. Print out your words.

3. Trim your paper and cut a piece of carbon paper to the same size as the trimmed paper.

4. With the black part of the carbon paper facing your laundry bag, layer the carbon paper under the word and tape it onto the front of the bag. I placed mine 4.5 inches below the top edge of the bag and centered it on the front of the bag.

5. Remove the bag from the metal hanging frame, and tape the bag in a single layer to the corner of a work table so that you have a flat surface on which to work. (The photo below shows a later stage after the word has been painted.)

6. Use a ballpoint pen or dull pencil to trace the printed letters on the paper. Push down hard to make sure that the carbon paper leaves a mark on the fabric.

7. Using your teeny tiny paintbrush and black paint (or a combination of this and a laundry marker), trace your carbon letters. Allow the paint to dry completely.

8. When the paint is dry, place the bags back on the frames.

9. Use your tape measure to plan where to place your double hooks so that your laundry bags will hang one above the other, and mark your screw locations with a pencil.  In the photo at the beginning of this post, the bottom edge of the top hook is approximately 78" from the ground; the bottom edge of the bottom hook is 45" from the ground.

10. If you're hanging your bags on a wood door, use a drill and/or a screwdriver to screw the double hooks directly onto the back of the door.  If you predrill your holes, select a drill bit that is narrower than your screws.  If you're hanging your bags on drywall, you'll need to use drywall anchors due to the weight of the bags when full.

11. Hang your new laundry bags on the hooks, and enjoy your new, pretty, functional laundry system!

This post has been linked to My Backyard Eden, We Are That Family, Today's Creative Blog, A Soft Place to Land , and Thrifty Decor Chick.