Huge PVC Laundry Sorter




About: I own a online business that sells industrial pipe fittings (Kee Klamp), PVC (pipe and fittings), as well as unique projects made with these products.

Our cat was peeing on our laundry (no, I'm not kidding) so my wife requested a laundry sorter. Since I have three small children (and hope to have more) I was compelled to grant the request. (Plus I don't really enjoy the smell of cat pee.. especially on my clothing). Anyhow, this is 5 bin PVC Laundry Sorter that is built with PVC pipe, fittings, snap clamps, a piece of fabric, some laundry bags, and of course a few safety pins.

Note: I am a partner in a business that distributes these PVC fittings (just so no one is surprised by that).

Here's a video where my family talks about that cat.. it's funny:

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Step 1: Come Up With a Plan

This isn't complicated, but here's my basic plan. I decided to put a lid on it (to keep the cat away). The lid certainly isn't required. But it is kind of cool to use the these slip on PVC tees to create things that you might not otherwise be able to do with PVC.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

I'm assembling this laundry sorter out of PVC parts.

Here's a run down of what I used and where I got them.

Note: all sizes are 1/2"

Structural PVC Fittings - these fittings are made particularly for building things (they do not carry fluid), though you could use standard PVC fittings as well.

8 - PVC20 - Three Way L - These will be for the corners
5 - PVC25 - Tee - These will be for the middle supports and for the top of the lid.
11 - PVC10 - Slip Tee - These hold the "bag supports" and also are used to hinge the lid.
2 - PVC15 - Elbow - These are the corners of the lid.

Snap Clamps

Snap clamps are PVC clips that are used to hold on both the lid fabric and the laundry bags.
12 - For the bag supports
12 - For holding on lid fabric

Snap Clamps on Our Site
Snap Clamp Manufacturer

PVC Pipe Lengths

I kept the lengths simple. I made it three feet tall and 6 feet wide, so I only had two lengths to cut (with the section of the lid "edit" (more about that later). This is all 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC

16 - 3 foot cuts (4 for bottom, 4 for top, 6 for uprights, 2 for lid)
11 - 18" cuts (2 for bottom, 6 for top, 3 for lid)

You will probably want to determine the size based upon the size bags that you are planning to use.

Other Stuff

5 Laundry Bags
1 pc of fabric to cover the top
a bunch of safety pins to help attach the fabric.

Step 3: Assemble PVC Frame

I started by assembling the base. I added the uprights and then built the the top frame.

Notice how I slipped on the PVC Tee fittings onto the pipe. I used 3 on one and 4 on the other, the extra on one side was a support for the middle of the lid.

The only real tricky part was the length of the lid pipes. Because the hinges are offset I had to trim one of the top pipes so that it fit with the offset. Once I got to that part in the project I simply measured it in place and trimmed off a the excess with a hack saw.

I did not glue my PVC together. The fittings I was using had a thigh enough fit to stay together.

Step 4: Attach Bags & Fabric Top

I attached my bags with some plastic clips called Snap Clamps. These clips are great because they allow you to easily clip fabric onto PVC pipe. The bags can be removed and washed when they get smelly or need to be changed.

My wife found some discount fabric that we laid over the top, pulled tight, snapped on with snap clamps and then fasted with a few safety pins (so that the excess fabric didn't flap around).

Step 5: Viola! My Very Own Massive PVC Laundry Hamper

That's it.. pretty basic and straight forward. Drop me a line or comment if you have any questions.

And yes, so far it's cat proof!



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    28 Discussions

    Two things...what is it rsorted by? |Socks/Underwear| |Pants| |Shirts| etc... or by family member? Also, I think it might look a bit better if you use some of that extra fabric around the whole thing, so that you don't see each bag.

    5 replies

    I agree some cool fabric or a flat sheet cut to fit so you always take it off and wash it as needed, with some Velcro to attach around to the back for a cleaner look ... Wonderful ideas such a nice husband mine would look at me like I was crazy , cause I'm always trying to build something . Lol he says I think his name is bob the builder!

    Happy crafting people!

    Good Question. It's sorted by Kid Whites, Kid Colors, Adult Whites, Adult Colors, and Sheets/Towels. We might change the system later. One of the other things about the design is the it is fairly modular, so we could add or, or break it apart into smaller units. I agree about the fabric making it nicer. You could probably do it with some cool patterns and designs too.

    If you reall felt like going all out, and youre decent on a sewing machine, you could quilt together white fabrics and colored fabrics...and then sew on to each panel either "Kids" or "Adults"


    good idea with color coding... even use colored fabrics to sew the liners up, black for blacks, colored for colored and white for whites (maybe put a red applique on the black because reds best washed with black). 


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, I never considered washing reds with blacks. I always do a separate reds load, but i usually have enough (red yellow orange and sometimes purple.) but it makes sense!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Definitely keeping this in mind when I get a house of my own! The laundry situation at home has always been horrid and the men of the house all have pink underwear because they don't seem to get the concept of whites and colors. Silly boys~


    8 years ago on Step 5

    About how much did all of the pvc supplies (bars, corners, snaps) cost? And is there any way to make the front slant down (i.e. front bars lower than back bars)... so that it's easier to throw stuff in (without lid)? I dont know if you can do slanted bars with pvc connections.

    I have a family of 8 and we have LOADS of laundry (no pun intended) I actually want big square spaces in the basement to just throw diff colors, rather than the nice neat (and kinda small) bags. IDEAS?


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Thinking of using pvc to make a small gate. What did you use for the hinges? Some sort of T?

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

    Yeah I used a Slip T, pictured here:


    9 years ago on Introduction

    If your cats are peeing in the laundry, that is a sign of a bladder infection! I've had 2 cats in the past that did that and it was the case both times. Maybe you should have them checked, they can die if it gets too bad.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    think they do it because there is no splashback, soaks straight in, from a cats point of view the ideal place to pee. if cats made an instructable for ideal litter it would probably be a pile of clothing that gets removed every day and replaced with a fresh dry pile! 


    9 years ago on Introduction

     A great Instructable! You obviously have access to "structural PVC" parts with your business... but any suggestions as to where we outsiders could find such things? Can't say I've ever seen them in my local big-brand hardware store.

    As for the family size... I have five kids, and we'd have more if we could. The world needs more future Instructablers. My son loves this site and wants to try virtually everything. To Gladys45 and FullOfBS, get your facts right. Go do a little research on the population "growth" problem before you moralize and make inane comparisons with other countries. DoomGoat is right... What we need is less moralizing and more Instructing. Go write an Instructable.  I look forward to reading it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    " Of", not "off"....sorry grammar and spelling nazi's, and sorry Godwin's Law


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Just about peeing MY pants with laughter here! 4 cats, 3 boys, 2 fathers and one lots of 'weaponry' to retaliate here! LOL!

    Very Keri

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I BOUGHT two of these a few years ago. The ones I have are kind of rickety and they don't have a lid, but they do have wheels, which are a bonus. We don't have a laundry room and we only have one small bathroom, so we keep them in the bedroom closet. They're great for keeping piles of clothes out of sight and I always know when one bag is 3/5 full, it's time to do some laundry. I wish I had thought of making my own!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This idea has saved my life. Being a working mom with a husband and 3 yearold, you almost HAVE to do this to survive! I used to have a cat and had the same problem. What is it with cats and wanting/needing to pee in clothes. And you CANNOT get that smell out of a towel!!