Introduction: Laundry Room Organizer
After recently moving into a smaller house, organization has been a necessity to ensure we can keep a clean and neat home. One of those organization projects was to organize our laundry room due its small space with zero storage. No where to place our detergents or laundry baskets. So the problem had to be solved, which is great giving me the excuse to do some woodworking while keeping my wife happy! Win-win!
For this instructable, I will be walking through the steps of designing and building a laundry basket holder with shelves to accommodate our storage requirements, while keeping it organized.
Step 1: Design & Requirements
The requirements for this project are dependent on the necessity. Our laundry room is a very small room with barely enough room for a small metal shelf and a laundry basket. So I started brainstorming on the solution. My brother-in-law has a fairly large laundry room and built a floor to ceiling laundry basket holder to separate clothing. This helped with the inspiration of my design along with some quick internet searches for other designs. Check out Ana White's design that follow a similar design that I drafted. My requirements were that it holds at least two baskets, provides at least one shelve for storage, and fits within my limited space.
My first design (hint..hint) was to hold three baskets and one shelve on the top. I first sketched the design in my project notebook to get a rough idea of the look and the proportions. I feel like this is a fast and easy way to bring an idea from mind to reality without having to worry about the exact dimensions. After I got the general sketch, I took dimensions of my laundry baskets and of the area that the shelving would go. This help bring scale to my drawing while still keeping it simple.
Once I got the initial design sketched out with rough dimensions, I turned to my computer to determine the exact dimensions to develop my material list and cut list. Doing this before cutting or purchasing the material helps save time and money! This also helps with proportions of the overall project.
Step 2: Gathering Project Materials
After getting my material list prepared on the computer, a quick run to the home store is required to gather the materials and consumables. Some of the materials and tools can be substituted depending on tool availability. For example, mending plates and L-brackets can replace the pocket holes to assemble the frame. I used the mending plates in one portion of my frame due to a mistake in the fabrication process (See Step 4 for an example picture).
Below are the materials and tools required to complete this project.
1. One (1) 1"x12"x144" Pine board
2. One (1) 1"x12"x28" Pine Board
3. One (1) 1"x12"x60" Popular Board or Pine Board
4. One (1) Box of 1/4" Course Pocket Hole Screws
5. One (1) Box of 1 1/4" Wood Screws
6. One (1) Box of Pocket Hole Plugs
7. One (1) 1/2 pint of Wood Filler
8. One (1) Box of 100 Grit Sand Paper
9. One (1) Box of 150 or 200 Grit Sand Paper
4. Pocket Hole Jig (Optional)
5. Speed Square or Straight Edge
6. Tape Measure
7. Sander or Hand Sander
8. Flush Cut Saw (Optional)
Tip #1: Most home stores have a reduced wood rack that can be up to 70% off. That is were I obtained the wood for this project. They were marked with purple spray paint. Just be careful when looking at the boards to ensure they can be used and are not to badly warped or damaged. The boards I used had some warping and damage at the ends. I worked around these issues with very few problems.
Step 3: Cutting the Material
Using the cut list from Sketchup, I cut the frame and support members from those three boards. First, I cut all the stock down to rough dimensions on the miter saw to make it easier to cut on the table saw. Then I cut them to width on the table saw to 2 1/2 inches.
The boards that I bought from the home store were discounted due to damage and warping. To mitigate bowing of the frames, I used my table saw to edge joint the boards. I learned this method from Jimmy Diresta after watching his "Ask this Old House" YouTube video.
The method to joint the edges of the board on the table saw is to flip the piece of wood during each cut to slowly reduce the amount of unevenness of the edge until the edge is square. While cutting the boards the goal is to take off a little at a time to reduce the amount of waste of each board. This worked better than I thought. As you can see from the pictures above it eliminated the gap completely from my top shelve. Quite a difference.
After the edges were straight enough, I cut all frame stiles, rails, and support members to size on the table saw and miter saw.
Tip #2: If you don't own a table saw, you can by dimensional lumber in the correct widths at the home store. This will alleviate the need for a table saw to rip the pieces to size. All that would be required is to cut the pieces to length on a miter saw or circular saw. Just ensure the boards are not warped along the length.
- Four (4) 3/4"x2.5"x43" pine boards (Outside Stiles)
- Four (4) 3/4"x2.5"x23" pine boards (Rails)
- Two (2) 3/4"x2.5"x38" pine boards (Inside Stiles)
Horizontal Support Members
- Four (4) 3/4"x2.5"x18" (horizontal support members)
Step 4: Assembling the Frames & Design Confirmation
Once the boards were cut to final size, I began assembling the left and right frames that will be the main structure of the laundry basket cabinet.
The primary means of assembling the rails (horizontal members) and stiles (vertical members) were by pocket hole screws. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig to create the pockets on all the rails and the middle stile. This worked fairly easily. However, one frames middle stile didn't take the screws very well. So, to fix the issue I used a mending plate to attach the middle stile (See picture above). You can use mending plate to attach the entire frame assembly instead of using pocket holes.
After the basic frames were constructed, I assembled the whole cabinet to verify the position of each laundry basket shelf and the top shelve. I used clamps to hold everything in place to show my wife and get the approval to continue.
Her strong recommendation was to eliminate the top laundry basket shelve and replace with a normal shelf for more storage. So I redesigned the cabinet to account for the secondary shelve. I took measurements of the location of each shelving rail and dissembled the cabinet to secure the shelving rails to the frames.
Tip #3: If you don't have a pocket hole jig or don't want to purchase one, mending plates can be used to assemble the side frames and L-brackets can be used to assembly the side frames to the horizontal support members on the top and bottom.
Step 5: Preparing for Finishing
After completely assembling the the side frames with the shelve railing in place, I filled all the pocket holes with wooden dowels and a few pocket hole plugs. This will hide the construction techniques and make it look more professional. I also filled the screw holes and any imperfections with wood filler to hide all the screws and defects in the wood. Once everything dried, I flush cut all the wooden dowels and sanded down both frames to prepare for finishing.
I first used 100 grit sand paper to remove the bulk of the high spots and left over material from the wood dowels and wood filler. After that was completed I used 150 to make everything smooth. Now the frames and top are ready for finishing.
Step 6: Final Assembly & Finishing
Now that everything is ready to be painted, I assembled everything today except the top. This ensures that the glue bonds to the horizontal support members and makes painting easier. Since the base of the cabinet will be painted white, I applied the first coat of paint and let set for a couple of hours until it was completely dry. Then I lightly sanded with 220 to remove any high spots and bubbles in the paint. Make sure you wipe the area with a clean rag to remove any dust and debris from the cabinet. I applied two additional coats of paint to ensure the durability of the paint was adequate for its use.
For the top, I ensured all dust and debris was removed from the surface and applied a sanding sealer to ensure the stain would be applied evenly throughout the wood. This gives the wood stain a consistent color throughout the wood grain. I applied two coats to get the desired color, sanding between each coat. After the stain completely dried, I applied wipe-on polyurethane to make the wood shine and apply some protection. You can substitute with wood polish for a little less protection but easier application.
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