Laundry Tools – Sorters, Baskets, and Bags, oh my

If you read my newsletter or talked to me in late December or January, you will have heard that I bounced down a flight of stairs here at home.  Interestingly, a month prior to this fall, my ankle was twisted on these same stairs as I came around the corner on the stairs – only that time I was carrying a laundry basket.  The laundry basket was one of those heavy plastic ones with the indentation for your hip, though I was not carrying it that way since our stairs are too narrow for that.  This occurrence inspired me to get a different laundry “basket.”

Laundry can often involve different steps – depending on whether how you collect your laundry is also how you transport your laundry.  This can often be the same thing, though is often different items.  For the longest time, most of what I used to collect the dirty laundry was the same tool I used to carry the dirty laundry to the machines and then to carry the folded laundry back to where I would put them away.

All homes are different and where the washing machine and dryer’s live in relation to where the dirty laundry accumulates.  In our home as well as in several homes I’ve visited, the bedroom is on the second floor and the machines are in the basement – this means carrying laundry up and down multiple flights of stairs.  We have a collection for laundry on the top floor as well as on the main floor.  This means that carrying laundry from various places can be an issue and ideally needs to be as easy as we can make it.

Promptly after we moved here, we got a 3-compartment laundry sorter to live in the bottom of our linen closet.  I started with a plastic and mesh bag one which quickly revealed its instability – the mesh bags would fall off the frame and were not easy to reattach without dragging the whole unit out of the closet.  We moved then to a metal frame with canvas bags.  These 3 compartment sorters were for linens, whites, and delicates/dry cleaner.  In front of the sorter, there has always lived one of the heavy plastic laundry baskets and during the week that’s where all the general colored clothes go.  Upstairs, I had another heavy plastic laundry basket for the colors and occasional whites.

3-Compartment Laundry Sorter

Hip-Hugging Laundry Basket


After I had the minor twist to my ankle, the new “basket” I got was one of these mesh hampers, where it was shaped like a laundry basket with a wide opening and not too deep.  It’s easy to toss the dirty clothes into and most importantly, it’s easy to carry up and down stairs.  It has handles which means I can carry it easily in one hand, and this also means I can keep an eye on the stairs as I navigate them.  Also, the shape is easy to load the folded clothes back into it before they make their way to the closet or dressers.  Also, they fold flat so simply and then reopen – it’s so easy it makes me smile to think of it.

I dealt with the canvas sorter for many years, periodically bumping my head while digging out the linens or whites and regularly tweaking my back to get it all out from the bottom.  Experiencing the ease of the mesh style, I was then inspired to replace the 3-compartment sorter with 3 upright mesh bags.  Our categories work well for us and only need those 3 categories.  Now, with the mesh bags, I can grab the category I am washing and dump it into the hip-hugging basket.  I am still attached to those baskets for carrying laundry to and from the basement – there’s a sense of it being cleaner to put on the basement floor than the mesh ones.

Mesh Laundry "Baskets" - both shapes

Durability can be issue when you choose your laundry tools, as that mesh/plastic sorter demonstrates.  Although I’ve not used them, some plastic laundry baskets, often the circular ones, are also more prone to getting damaged easily.  I bought the plastic and mesh sorter in an attempt to save money, yet it’s a good example of how “saving” money on a less expensive product didn’t save me money in the long run.

In our country and culture, we have a plethora of options to choose from and this in itself can be daunting just trying to find the choices.  I’ve been impressed with the durability of the mesh bags, which seems a little odd considering the material, and their cost is fairly minimal.  As with so much else, think about what your needs are around laundry and what would help make it that much easier.  This is what matters most – finding the simplest way for you.

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