Introduction: Vertical Clothing (dis)organization Prototype

One night when I couldn’t sleep I was thinking of projects to do, and it crossed my mind that the reason my room is always so messy is that I seem to prefer my floor as a dresser as opposed to the conventional chest of drawers or even the less conventional cubby-hole systems. My problem is that I don't like folding clothes and putting them away.

This is my solution to that.
It solves the messiness issue by containing my clothes, and I don't have to put my clothes away neatly.

Step 1: Supplies

  1. Bungee cord (I got mine at the army/navy surplus store, but you can order online here
  2. Plywood (or something similar)
  3. Lengths of 2x4
  4. Wood screws

Step 2: The Design

The design is simple, it is just a box with 3 sides that are wood with the 4th being bungee cord and, optionally, a kick-board.  There are also some options for the bungee wrapping style. But since this is my prototype and not the final version, all info is based on the prototype. You are free to change it up however you want, though, you will need to do your math and dimension it all out. And if you do make this, upload some pictures!

Step 3: Some Math

For this project I devised some formulas to calculate how long the bungee cord will need to be unstretched and stretched for different ways of threading

  1. Length unstretched = (B/C) x √(½C2xD2)
  2. Length stretched = %70-99 x ( (B/C) x √(½C2xD2) )

Up 'n' over (the method I used, it saves length):
  1. Length unstretched = B+D+(Dx(B/C))
  2. Length stretched = %70-99 x ( B+D+(Dx(B/C)) )

When you go to buy your bungee cord, the length of cord you want to buy will essentially be this (however I did buy 9 feet more than my initial estimate of 21 feet, just to be sure). Another thing to keep in mind is that the stretched versions do pull on the sides and will deform them if you don't reinforce them with something.

Step 4: Measure Once, Cut Twice. Wait, Is That How It Went?

I must confess, the only thing I bought expressly for this project was the bungee cordage, 30 feet at $0.24 per foot, the rest was already laying around. In order to build what I built here, I cut 3 4'x16" pieces of plywood for the walls, a 1'x16" piece for the kickboard and a 20"x16" piece for the base board. Out of some lengths of 2x4 I cut 2 16" pieces and 2 19" pieces, which was a lack of foresight on my part because 2 of them SHOULD have included the thickness of the plywood, 1/2" (so I should have had 2 20" pieces instead of 19"). Since I'm no carpenter and I'm presuming other people aren't either, here are some tips: Measure everything, draw nice lines, and know where your sawblade is.

Plywood pieces:
  • 3 - 4'x16"
  • 1 - 20"x16"
  • 1 - 1'x16"
2x4 pieces:
  • 2 - 19" (19"+combined thickness of plywood)
  • 2 - 16"

Step 5: Pre-assembly Time!

Now its time to prep the cut materials for final assembly. 2 of the walls get the 16" 2x4's. Line up the boards flush with the bottoms than screw them together through the plywood.The back wall and kickboard get the 19" 2x4's. Make SURE they are centered as it will make it a bit easier to put together and also make them flush with the bottom so this thing sits flat.

Step 6: Screwing in All the Right Places

Start by laying your pieces out like it would look once built. I started by screwing the side walls  and kickboard together, usuing the back wall as a straightness guide. I flipped it over and did the same with the back wall, however I did need to compensate for height to get it straight. Last I turned it bottoms up and screwed the bottom board on. After that I attempted to fasten the edges of the walls together, with screws. It was a bit of a challenge since this material is very finicky about holes on and in the edges, I got it to work by setting the drill as low as it would go and drilling slowly and carefully.
  • tip: to prevent splitting by screwing near the end of the board, go in on an angle to cross multiple grains so as not to split the ends
  • tip: screwing the plywood together is tricky, screw in as straight as you can and set your drill to the lowest settings it has, this should prevent the screw from slipping/spinning (which would kindof kill said hole) once its all the way in and should prevent the plywood from doing all sorts of counterproductive things

Step 7: Bungee Time! You Know, Bungee Cord, the Springy Rope the Crazy People Use When They Want to Jump Off Bridges...with the Intent to LIVE

   Now its time for installing the bungee cord. First, however, the box needs to be prepared. Remember the math we did? Well here is where it shows its usefulness. The number you picked for C is the distance between holes, for me, C was 2", so I drilled a hole every 2 inches. I thought I was going to use the zig-zag method, (though I miscalculated) so I set it up for the zig-zag. On one side, the first hole was 2" down ( C ) from the top, the other side started 3" down ( 1½C ) and drilled holes at a 2" interval until I hit the kickboard. (thats the zig-zag setup)
   For the length of bungee I got, I should have set it up for the up 'n' over method, which both sides would be parallel, meaning the holes start at C (2") below the top on both sides and repeat every 2" (or C).

   Starting the bungee run, the back end of the cord needs a knot, preferably a double knot, and tight, as tight as you can get it, I used my Leathermans pliers to pull it tight. You also need to fuse the end with fire, much like you would with rope, to keep it from fraying. That should be quick and painless. Take the opposite, un-knotted end of the bungee and seal it, then thread it through the first hole. Start at the bottom and work up, it will create less tension on the boards at the top.
  1. Zig-zag method: thread through the bottom two holes and pull all the cord through (the bungee wont go through much more than 3 or 4 holes before it just wont go) then, much like a typical shoelace, go over to the opposite hole above the first, go through it, cross over to next hole up on the opposite side, and repeat all the way to the top.
  2. Up 'n' over: Thread the cord through the bottom two holes, pull the cord all the way through (you'll have to do that all the way up :/ just like the zig-zag), go up one hole, repeat all the way to the top.
  3. To get things taught, start at the bottom. Pull the bungee to the tightness/tension you want, pull the excess cord through the hole, and repeat.
Once you're done with that, knot the top end tightly, cut off the excess bungee and fire-seal that end. Now you're pretty much done with it.

Step 8: Don't You Just Love It When a Plan Comes Together?

Now take your contraption to your room and load it up with your mess of clothes and actually USE a clothing 'organizer'/containment system for once!

Step 9: Things I Would Do Differently Next Time

  • I would space the bungee more than 2" apart since its awfully close, maybe 3" or 4".
  • I would make it more than 16" wide, at least 2 feet should do it.
  • More than one open side for more visibility of clothes.
  • Add reinforcement at the top to prevent collapse due to the tension created by the bungee cord.
  • I wouldn't make it as deep.10"-12" deep might work beautifully.
  • I might separate clothing types, pants, shirts, socks, underwear.
  • I might have the compartments shorter, but raised up off the floor so I wouldn't have to get on the ground to get to stuff.