Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Would I do it again? (Laundry chute)

So every so often I like to update you on projects that I’ve done/purchases I’ve made to let you know how they’ve held up and if I like them as much as I thought I would. I’m always curious to hear that so I like to share in case you are wondering too.

I will say…I think and research and plan things to DEATH, so it’s rare that I regret doing anything. This one I’m still not sure about. :)

I shared our completed powder room a couple months ago and I’m so happy with how it turned out:

planked walls bathroom

We have a huge powder room, right? It’s big as far as powder rooms go. We could have made it a full bathroom (it’s near my office which could have been another bedroom), but we went with the half. Anyway, I’m so glad we have a linen closet in this room.

What you didn’t see at that reveal, and many of you have already seen, was the big honkin’ tube inside the closet:

pipe laundry tube pipe laundry tube

That is something I dreamed about for years and was SO thrilled to get installed. By now you’ve probably read the title of this post and deduced that this is our laundry chute. Smarty. ;) (You can see more about it here.)

What you didn’t see was the horrible, no good, did I mention horrible paint job I started last year. Originally I was going for red walls in this room and thought it may be fun to add a touch of red to the shelves (they needed to be painted anyway):

Ugh. I know. I mean, the photo is horrible but seriously…I KNOW. It was horrible. This one goes in the what was I thinking column.

I was going for white walls and bright red shelves, but somewhere along the way I got lazy and didn’t tape off (WHY?) so the paint got on the walls. And the PVC was always ugly -- initially I tried to get the lettering off the pipe using a method a reader mentioned, but it didn’t work for me. Then I thought, I’ll just paint it! Red! Like the rest of the closet! Brilliant!

Well red doesn’t cover well. Your tip of the day. So I stopped.

Anyway, I fixed it – more on that in a minute.

First up, the main purpose of this post. Would I do the laundry chute again? I’ve thought a lot about this lately and actually, I probably wouldn’t.

There’s a few reasons for this. The biggest – I never do laundry. I just…don’t. My husband does his own and I wait until I am out of clothes to wash my own. I will dig to the bottom of a drawer to find an odd sock before I will do laundry. It’s just my thing. I don’t hate laundry like I used to now that we have an actual laundry room, but I just don’t do it.

It’s my thing.

BUT. Because I don’t do it often, I wait till I can’t wait anymore and then I spend a day washing clothes, so in those instances it is nice to be able to just drop the clothes down the chute. Thing is, you still have to take the basket down to carry them back up when they’re done. So if I’m doing one load here or there I just take the clothes down in the basket because I’m going to have to bring them up in it anyway.

All that being said…our closet is a major disaster right now so I’m on a laundry binge. It’s laundry all the time – and I’ve been using the chute a ton.

Perhaps if we had more kids and more clothes I would use it more? Maybe someday when I’m totally and completely organized (snort) and I keep up with washing the clothes I will find it more helpful.

But for now…I walk the clothes down the stairs as much as I throw them down. I gotta say though – it’s fun. There is pure joy that happens when you throw the clothes down and hear them thump into the laundry basket. It kind of rocks. ;)

So…the chute is staying. Which brings me back to the hideous red linen closet. I finally painted it. The powder room was next on my decluttering rampage and like usual I couldn’t pass up this little DIY that needed to happen.

I used some paint I already had – it was a color called Billowing Clouds that I originally used to paint the powder room years ago. I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on this so I painted the walls and the shelves both the blue color: linen closet laundry chute

Oh, I did prime first that red first, just one coat. Since I was painting the walls it took no time at all. I was able to prime, paint and organize the stuff in here in a couple hours. I’ve put this off for a year, and it took less than two hours. Story of my life!

You may notice the polka dots. ;) Yes, I covered the tube. YES…I obviously have no life. It was just so ugly. I went through a few options in my head for covering it and then remembered I had some contact paper. AND it matched the new paint. It’s like it was meant to be!:

PVC laundry chute

See, I kind of have a life – I didn’t do the bottom part. Honestly it took about 15 minutes to cover it – and the dots make me smile when I open this door. :) I want to get some sticky tiles to put on the floor in there (I didn’t have the hardwoods put in the closet since the cuts would have been so tricky and added to the cost.)

By the way, a few readers wondered if that little bend in the pipe would keep things from going down and it doesn’t at all. Nothing has gotten stuck – even bulky towels and sheets because it’s so slick inside. So as far as laundry chutes go, this is a good one!

After decluttering the stuff in the bins in here I was able to get rid of one (that is a great feeling!). So even though we have half the space in here that we used to, everything still fits great:

DIY laundry chute

And it’s pretty cute, seriously. I say even though other people won’t see a space, if you have to look at it every day it’s your prerogative to make it cute. :)

SO. Overall I do like having the laundry chute, but if I could do it again I would have waited longer before installing it. I think I would have decided that we really didn’t need it after all.

Have you ever done something in your house you are iffy about? Regret any renovations or decisions you made? I don’t know if I regret this one really, I just would have waited to see how things functioned without it.

52 comments:

  1. I love what you did with the polka dots on the laundry chute. I would love to have one because my laundry room is directly below my bedroom, and I feel like it would make life a little easier. But, I do see where you are coming from.

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  2. I'm totally digging on the polka dots Sarah - so cute and so fun. Really made me smile.

    As for me - I regret that we went "all in" on our fireplace makeover vs. taking more time to think about how it would come together. We thought we had a plan, but the plan kept changing, and now we're back to square one. Starting all over again. Chalk it up to lessons learned. :-)

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  3. If I lived in a home with multiple floors I would make sure that the laundry room was on the same floor as the bedrooms. I've never understood the concept of going up and down stairs with baskets of laundry. The machines could be tucked into the corner of the washroom, in a closet in the hallway or use floor space and create a 'laundry room'.

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    1. We almost had our laundry moved to our master closet -- I thought that would be DREAMY. But we heard horror stories about water issues when the w/d is upstairs (unless it's tiled/waterproofed). It doesn't happen often but when it does it's a total mess -- scared me off of the idea. :)

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    2. I think it would be great to have the laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms. I've seen remodel tv shows that show a fast lever shut off so that when you aren't doing laundry you can shut the water supply off. Could be an option.

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  4. Interesting. We thought about putting in a laundry chute when we redid our master bathroom but I am like you I don’t do laundry unless I have to and have been known to go and buy undies just so I can wait a little while longer.

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  5. I remember growing up, I thought that a laundry chute would have been so fun to have. Of course, back then I never thought of having to put the laundry away afterwards. :)
    I love the closet now, though with the blue and polka dots.

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  6. I (like you) have always wanted a laundry chute, so I found this post very helpful. But I agree that it would most likely be more useful with kids.
    It's a feature I've always told myself that if I build I would put one in...
    Thanks for the update, I now have something to think about in the future (like if and when I go to build ;) )

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  7. I love our laundry chute, but it's unobtrusive since it's just between the studs. It goes from the second floor bathroom down to the basement.

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  8. We had a laundry chute when I was a kid. If anything ever got stuck, Mom's solution was to throw a (big) phone book down as well. The weight of the phone book forced through any blockage, and it was flexible enough to get through itself. I loved getting to throw the phone book!

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    1. I wonder how many people now own a "phone book"??

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    2. Right?? But they still leave them on our doorstep like clockwork. My laundry chute now is only a foot long, so I just put the phonebooks straight into the recycling.

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  9. We have a laundry chute and I think it is the best thing since sliced bread. BUT we are a family of seven with our laundry room in the basement and the bedrooms are up two flights of stairs. The kids are great at putting everything down the chute, I wash the clothes and then the kids carry their baskets back up. It works like a charm! ;-)

    ~Sarah

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  10. I had a laundry chute in my home growing up. I also had a mom who was NOT a laundry doer. So, when I was about 10 and started to care about what I wore I started doing my own laundry. At first I went to the basement laundry pile and had to sift through a ton of laundry to find mine. Shortly after I started this, I got my own laundry basket and kept it in my closet so all my clothes stayed separate. Even today I'm big on separating each persons laundry. I do the wash on cold, so I throw everything for 1 person in at the same time. Fold the pile, and it all goes in 1 kids room. And I never let the laundry pile up. :)

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  11. I'm a little confused - if I had a laundry chute, I'd chuck them downstairs right after taking them off. The joy of having one would be not having a dirty clothes pile upstairs!

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  12. I'm curious what the top of your chute looks like. I love the idea of having one and how clever to use the piping. Even more clever to cover w/ cute little polka dots ;)

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  13. We bought a home about twenty years ago that had a laundry chute in it. At first I thought it was a great idea. NOT! My children thought it was great fun to throw toys down! That wasn't a big deal but, the way they set it up it didn't line up with the washer underneath the chute and the clothes fell between the washer and dryer and behind the washer NEVER in the basket. If you make a chute make sure you line it up so the clothes actually fall into a basket instead of falling behind and between the washer and dryer. I spent a lot of time trying to retrieve clothes from behind and between the washer and dryer.

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  14. Okay, your polka dot solution is just too cute (I agree--when I actually get motivated enough to do something about it--that even hidden spaces should be cute if at all possible).

    We have a laundry chute, and with five kids under 8-years-old, we use it quite a bit. It's great for the kids to be able to pick up their own clothes and toss them down the chute. Plus, like you said, it's fun, so they don't think of it as a chore! It's not a perfect system by any stretch, but if we had to do it all over again, I would definitely do it again.

    (Probably because I do lots and lots of laundry :)).

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  15. I absolutely understand that giddy feeling of throwing clothes down the chute!! If I had a two story house I would absolutely want one to. Laundry is boring and it sucks, so why not find a little joy in such a mundane chore!

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  16. I actually designed my entire house, and regrets? Things I would change?
    I seriously thought my designing the place would mean it was perfect... and yet, no.
    And I have a spot all slotted for a laundry chute, but the builder quit over our learning he was pocketing our mortgage funds, and that was one of the things he had not yet done.
    S'all good, I get exercise bringing the clothes down myself, and about when I am too frail to do so is when we'll have the money to finish the laundry chute!

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  17. I love the polka dots, and your blue closet. I'm with you on laundry. Just this morning I pulled a pair of socks out the hamper and decided they weren't that dirty after all. ;). Too bad you can't hook a vacuum to the top of the chute and pull your clean clothes back through it.

    You left out something - what kind of light is that on the 2nd shelf?

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    1. Exactly what we need, to invent a reversible chute, then it would be so perfect!

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  18. Oh boy! I had a chute in my old house and I miss it SO! Mine dropped the clothes onto the top of my dryer. I just kept a basket down there so all the clothes dropped into that and then I also had a basket to transport the clothes back upstairs in. We pretty much used the laundry chute as the hamper though. I did laundry every time I noticed the basket getting full. I actually bought LESS clothing because our stuff was pretty much always clean! See! Money saver! Mine was tucked behind the wall so the chute ran from our MB toilet room to the ceiling of the laundry room right underneath. God I miss it so! Start using that thing woman! Hugs, Lisa

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  19. We just bought a house with a laundry chute that opens up from the vanity in one of our bathrooms and my first instinct was to get rid of it! But I'm reconsidering.

    We've lived in the house for 2.5 months now and we haven't used it once, but that's partly because we had to add a lock to the chute door since it was easily accessible to our curious, intrepid-explorer 2-year-old. He'd EASILY fit into the chute (but not so well out the bottom, even if he did ok with the fall...the thought terrifies me). If it weren't such a hazard, I think I'd like it because it's in the kids' bathroom, so it would be great for them to just toss their clothes and dirty towels down the chute.

    We have to remodel that bathroom eventually (it was last updated in the 70's), so we're debating a couple of options: 1) we could cover the chute and get a vanity that will have more storage or 2) have my furniture-making father-in-law build a vanity that will have safer access to the chute, but with much less storage. I keep vacillating between my options, but we still have a while before making a final decision.

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  20. I think in the long run you will be happy that you installed a laundry shoot. I absolutely love ours. We can drop our clothes down and they are out of sight. No mess! No piles of clothing lying around in baskets or on the floor! I like it that way. You are right though, carrying the laundry baskets from floor to floor is somewhat of a pain, but I have found that throwing the empty baskets down the stairs is easier then carrying them down. Haha. It's the bringing full baskets back up two flights that I hate. I think the smart thing to do for those of us who have laundry shoots is to install a bell hop right beside it. Hey, there's a thought. Just kidding, those things are for rich people. LOL. Anyway, regardless if you love your laundry chute or not, you did a fabulous job of cuteifying it.

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  21. That is the most cutest laundry chute ever! I live in an apartment building so no chute, so disappointed, I love the polka dots!

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  22. I heard only the cool kids have laundry chutes. Just sayin.

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  23. I feet this way and still do about our wood floors. We had carpeting, ugly builders carpet that just wasn't coming clean any longer. I wanted wood floors, I love the look of them but we have a husky who really sheds bad and another poodle mix. I've also got a husband and kids who track mud, sand and all kinds of things into the house. Getting people to take off their shoes is hard work! So I still wanted wood. I chose engineered as I thought it would hold up better to our household. The problem is that is shows every bit of dirt, every single dog hair (and there's a lot), it just shows everything! On one hand - YUCK that was all in my carpet and I bet half didn't come out with vacumming but on the other hand I'm constantly cleaning it cause it always looks dirty to me. I think I'd still go with the wood cause I just love the look but I'd wait till there are no dogs or the kids were older at least. I always enjoy reading your blog. Victoria

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  24. I love your chute- of course I have one too, it's called my kiddos- LOL. They are great for the moment taking all the dirty laundry to the laundry room. One day I might get a real one! Have a good week Sarah, Mandy

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  25. We had a laundry shoot in our farm house when I was little. I think it may have originally been used to haul coal in dolly system or wood whatever they need, anyways it was huge! Fun time of us, little kids jumping in and shooting down into a pile of clothes or pillows. Made for some great memories for the kids and heart attacks for the parents lol

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  26. Love how you transformed it. And yes, I agree...having them upstairs can be a nightmare. Water damage, but more importantly, our repairman once told us that most companies making the HE ones suggest NOT installing them upstairs due to the vibration. I actually knew someone whose dining room chandelier ended up "almost" crashing onto their dining room table (fortunately the maid caught it, LOL).

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  27. We moved into a house with an existing laundry chute in January. After lugging laundry up and down two flights of stairs for seven years I was SO excited. But I always forgot the basket/hamper. I started keeping a stash of those huge Ikea shopping bags in the laundry room. They are super handy for large loads of bed linens & towels. I'm more motivated to put everything away because I don't like having the huge blue bags laying around upstairs. When I'm done putting everything away, I toss the bags down the chute for next time.

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  28. I didn't know so many people had laundry chutes. Very cool! I've never seen one in person. I've never seen a basement in person either so that tells you something. Anyway, there are things I thought would be awesome and I'm meh about now so I can relate. FYI, I used to hate laundry, but when I started folding almost everything it got a lot easier. I have three kids so I have to do two loads a day. Well, I need to do two loads a day, but shopping happens. ;)

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  29. I love, love, love our laundry chute! I have 3 kiddos & everyone puts their dirty clothes down the chute daily= no piles of dirty clothes upstairs! As for carrying the clean laundry back up, that's part of the kids' chores. They carry their own clothes back up & put them away; my 3-year old is still working on learning this, but the 7 & 9 year olds do great. I had to laugh about the phone book comment- I guess I'm old-school enough to still have a phone book, but have never needed it to un-clog the chute!

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  30. Oh its always the little things that bug us perfectionists. I def like the dots over the red! I feel pretty confident most of the time when it comes to decorating but I have def had my misses! Everyone does! Sometimes the idea doesn't quite translate the way it should, right?!

    Laura
    House Envy

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  31. I think your closet and laundry chute is very cute. I always wanted a laundry chute too ever since I was a little girl and my grandma had one. But then when we built our house, the laundry room was on the main floor. I still could have had one because the bedrooms were upstairs but, oh well. I did do something during the build that I was always doubtful about and that was (it was a 4 bedroom house) in two of the bedrooms that had closets that were on the same wall side by side, I decided to do a Jack and Jill closet to save room in the bedrooms. It was behind the linen closet after all and it seemed like a good idea. We had all boys so it wasn't like I would maybe someday face a situation of a boy and girl sharing the closet. That being said, with 2 boys sharing, it was always a MESS and at one point I couldn't even wade through from one side to the other. I also worried about the resale of the house. But we just sold it after only 18 days on the market so I don't have to worry about it anymore! I probably wouldn't do it again though. It cut down on privacy and there were issues about "sharing clothes" that ended up missing. That may have happened anyway though. Teenagers!

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  32. I love our laundry chute! We have three kids and, as others have said, the kids love sending their clothes down the chute and it keeps dirty clothes out of their rooms! I love the idea of using the ikea bags (or something similar-I have a huge 31 bag)and sending that down to the laundry room. Genius!

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  33. Hi Sarah. I love the closet makeover and sure wish I had the chance to debate if I like my laundry chute or not ;) I always have huge baskets full of laundry.
    About the floor - why not grab a piece of plywood with similar wood grain, cut to fit, slap on some stain to match your floor and put it on the floor. You probably have a scrap piece in your garage right now and could scratch another item of your to do list. I always love your posts where you use what you have and didn't spend any money :)
    JoAnne

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  34. So Funny! My laundry chute is dreamy! I open it, wash and everyone else does all the work! Kids fill the chute, husband tosses clothes a foot from the chute (caugh) I toss in the chute...and all the little slavey slaves take the clothes upstairs when they are clean...they even take my clothes ;) Love it Love it. Your laundry experience is hilarious.

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  35. Our house is a work in progress but I'll be sure to let blogland know if I regret anything I did. =] I love the idea of having a linen closet in the bathroom. Pretty brilliant.

    Runt
    runtspickins@yahoo.com
    www.runtspickins.wordpress.com

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  36. Oh, I just LOVE the polka-dots! They make the tube look so uber-modern and cool! Polk-dot contact paper is on my shopping list!

    As for regrets, I once painted a bedroom canary yellow and the beautiful double molding around the ceiling two shades of lime!

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  37. I love how you made it a cute chute! Seems to me that the chore is carrying laundry back UP the stairs, so I'll wait until someone comes up with one that does that part for me. :)

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  38. I can't believe you installed a laundry chute in your house... HOW AWESOME IS THAT!? It looks adorable now with that cool, textured wall paper (and without red paint).

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  39. It was a MUST that we had a laundry chute in our new house and I am so glad we do. We also have 5 kids, between 4-10 years old, and they are great about putting their clothes down the chute. They don't have to carry their laundry down the stairs and neither do I. The chute starts in our master bath and ends in a cupboard in our laundry room. When I need to empty the chute, I just open the cupboard doors. Works perfectly! When the laundry is clean and folded, the kids come get their stacks and put them away. If they take a basket, they also bring it back. It is a great system when we do the laundry regularly. When we let it build up . . . well, that is a different story. :)

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    1. And, another bonus? We don't have a laundry hamper in our room/closet at all - once the clothes come off, they go straight into the chute!

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  40. How about a dumb waiter instead of a chute, or with the chute...an elevator for your clothes.

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  41. Sarah, I love ya! I want to make this short and to the point! Can you make your website more efficient? Every time I click a new window pops up. It's really annoying to close 12 windows after I've visited your site. Thanks!

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  42. I love the dots! We have a laundry chute at our house (aka: a hole in the floor from our bath to the basement) and I LOVE it. Our house is really small, but it saves me a MILLION trips up and down the basement stairs. I do still have to bring clothes up, but I usually bring 2-3 loads up at a time and sit and fold them in front of the TV anyway...I'm a "do 100 loads in a day" type of person, too. Hate doing laundry every day. Better things to do with my time! Love your website!

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!