My house is small, but I didn't realize just how small it was until I got married and my wife (and her stuff!) moved in. Even with everything we've gotten ride of, it's still a bit cozy, and we have to be really smart about how we use the limited space we have. One thing that quickly become an issue was laundry baskets - it seemed every day we were either tripping over them or moving them out of the way. It wasn't long before my wife found a solution and asked if I could build it: a laundry basket dresser. The baskets are stored vertically in the dresser so they take up less space on the floor, while also being easy to pull out for throwing in clothes or hauling a basket off to the washing machine. Smart and simple!
To get started, I looked at similar projects from Ana White and Infarrantly Creative (among others) so I'd have some ideas on how to go about it. I didn't use their dimensions, but instead came up with my own based on the size of the laundry baskets we purchased. We made sure to buy laundry baskets that have a "lip" around the top, so they can rest on the rails of the dresser.
The top, bottom and sides of the dresser are made from 3/4" plywood and the back is 1/4" plywood. For the rails, I used 2x2" lumber which was left over from another project. All of the lumber is pine. Several measurements were taken and retaken throughout the process. I needed to consider the sides of the baskets, how much room should be in between each basket, how large the rails need to be, etc. I took my time and rechecked measurements throughout the process. It paid off as everything came together correctly the first time. The only thing I'd change now is leaving more empty space above each basket - having an extra inch or two above each one would make it easier to add clothes without having to pull the baskets out.
I wanted to do something to make my laundry basket dresser stand out from others I'd seen, so I rounded the top and bottom edges along the sides on the router. I think it looks much nicer than having a square edge. My only concern with doing so is that I used pocket screws to hold all the 3/4" plywood pieces together, and I was afraid there wouldn't be enough material to hold the screws. I used 1" pan head screws in the pocket holes which I drove on low speed with the clutch set very low. None of the screws broke through and everything held together tight. It worked out, but I'm sure it was close!
Another detail of my build is that I angled the front of the rails to
help guide the baskets in and out of the dresser, which has worked well.
The last touch is the finish, which is boring old white gloss paint. We
considered something more colorful, but decided to keep it neutral so it
fits in. We've been using the laundry basket dresser for several months
now and it's been solid! It's a big help in our small house, and I suspect
we'll continue using it even when we move to a larger home later on.
Back to Woodworking & Shop | Back to Main Menu
Posted 7/22/2018; Last updated 1/29/2019