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Clutter-free laundry room: these 6 fast and easy projects create a pleasant, efficient work area.

Why do you think the idle rich have always had their maids do their laundry while they go for a drive in the country? My launch is if they had a laundry room outfitted like this one, they'd send the maids out for a drive and they'd be whistling at home sorting their own socks.

Closet rod and shelf

You can get these great-looking Lido Rail chrome brackets and rod at home centers or buy them on-line. One source is www.

This project will save you hours of ironing and organizing. Now you can hang up your shirts and jackets as soon as they're out of the dryer--no more wrinkled shirts at the bottom of the basket. You'll also gain an out-of-the-way upper shelf to store all sorts of odds and ends.

Just go to your home center and get standard closet rod brackets, a closet rod and a precut 12-in. deep Melamine shelf (all for about $25). Also pick up some drywall anchors, or if you have concrete, some plastic anchors and a corresponding masonry bit. Follow the instructions in Photos 1 and 2.

1 DRAW a level line about 78 in. above the floor and locate the studs behind the drywall. Fasten at least two of your closet rod brackets into wall studs (4 ft. apart) and then center the middle bracket with two 2-in. long screws into wall anchors (inset).


2 FASTEN your 12-in. deep Melamine shelf onto the tops of the brackets with 1/2-in. screws. Next, insert your closet rod, drill 1/8-in. holes into the rod, and secure it to the brackets with No. 6 x 1/2-in. sheet metal screws.


Soap dispenser

You can buy a soap dispenser in the kitchen section at home centers. Expect to pay about $12 to $25.

Get rid of that gross bar of soap that sits on the backsplash of your sink. Buy a soap dispenser at a home center and mount it to your acrylic tub. You'll need a drill, a 1-1/4 in. hole saw and liquid hand soap. Keep in mind you can put any liquid soap in the dispenser. A spot remover would be handy for prewash scrubbing.

1 DRILL through the backsplash of your acrylic laundry tub with a hole saw. Measure precisely so you'll have clearance for the soap bottle below. Choose a hole saw just a bit larger than the threaded base of the pump.


2 INSERT the threaded pump base into the hole and tighten the retaining nut to the underside of the backsplash. Fill the soap bottle with the liquid soap of your choice and thread it onto the base of the pump.


Towel bar

If you're looking for a basic towel bar like ours, your best bet is to go to a hardware store. Expect to pay about $8.

Get those messy rags out of the sink and onto a towel bar so they can actually dry. Shop for an easy mounting towel bar that you can shorten if you like. We picked one up at the hardware store that had easy mounting holes right on the face of the mounting plate and a removable bar. We cut the bar with a hacksaw so it would fit nicely on the side of the sink. While you're at the hardware store, buy stainless steel mounting bolts, washers and acorn nuts to mount the bar. We used 7/8-in. No. 8-24 bolts.

1 MARK the location of your towel bar on the thick rim near the top of the sink. You may need to shorten the bar first by pulling the bar from the ends and trimming it to about 16 in.


2 DRILL clearance holes at your marks and fasten the towel bar ends to the sink with bolts, washers and acorn nuts.


Under-sink shelf

Tired of moving all that stuff under the sink every time you mop the floor? Just buy a Melamine closet shelf ($5) from a home center and a length of suspended-ceiling wall angle (sorry, it only comes in 10-ft. lengths, but it's cheap and you can have it cut for transport). Also pick up four 1/2-in. No. 8-24 bolts, washers and nuts. Follow Photos 1-3.

1 USING an aviation snips, cut two lengths of suspended ceiling channel to support the undersink shelf.


2 CLAMP pieces of ceiling angle or aluminum angle to your sink legs (about 11 in. from the floor) and drill through with a 3/16-in. bit. Insert 1/2-in. long No. 8-24 bolts from the inside and thread on acorn

nuts to cover sharp bolt edges.


3 CUT a shelf from 3/4-in. Melamine board and drop it onto the angle braces. You may need to notch your shelf if the sink trap is in your way. Paint the raw edges of the board to protect them from moisture.


Fold-away folding table

You'll need to order the clever fold-away brackets for this project. Get them at Rockier Hardware (800-279-4441), part No. 29819 ($19.99).

This 2 x 5-ft. table is a handy option for any laundry room. Located right across from the washer and dryer, it's the perfect place for sorting colors before washing and folding the clothes as soon as they're dry. We chose heavy-duty brackets that'll hold more than 100 lbs. and neatly fold the top down (preventing future clutter).

You can get the countertop (and end cap) at a home center or maybe you can salvage one from a friend who's getting new countertops. Also buy three 8-ft. pine boards--a 1x2, a 1x3 and a 1x4--as well as some wood screws. You'll need 1-1/4 in. and 2-1/2 in. wood screws for mounting the wall cleats and the countertop stiffeners. Follow Photos 1-6 for clear step-by-step instructions.

1 BUY a 6-ft. plastic laminate countertop blank from a home center. Measure in 1-1/2 in. from the backside, and draw a straight line. Cut this section away with a circular saw equipped with a sharp blade. Trim the countertop to length, cutting from the backside. We cut ours 5 ft. long so we could support it with only two laundry table brackets. Longer tables will sag without an additional bracket. Space the brackets no farther than 32 in. apart.


2 GLUE AND SCREW 3/4-in. thick pine supports to the underside of the countertop. Use a 1x4 along the back and 1x2s at your bracket locations. The supports will stiffen the countertop and provide better backing for the bracket screws.


3 DRAW a level line 1-1/2 in. below the finished height of your laundry table. We made ours 33 in. high including the thickness of the top. Screw 1x3 pine strips to the wall into the studs behind. If you have a concrete wall, predrill holes for anchors and then screw the steel laundry table brackets to the strips and wail with 2-1/2 in. screws.


4 SET the top onto the brackets and screw them into the pine cleats (use 1-1/4 in. screws) under the table. Remember to keep about 1/8-in. clearance between the wall and the end for wiggle room as you lift and close the table. This will keep your wall from scarring each time you lift and close the tabletop.


5 GLUE and screw the 3/4-in. thick filler strips to the exposed bottom edge of the counter. Align the filler strip so it's flush with the edge of the top.


6 TRIM the laminate end cap with an aviator snips to fit the size of the end panel. Set your iron on medium heat and slide it across the whole end panel until the glue bonds. Ease any sharp edges with a smooth-cutting metal file.


All-purpose wall cabinet

We chose an easy-to-clean Melamine wall cabinet from a local home center--no painting required. Expect to pay about $100.

You can make that wall space above the washer and dryer into a valuable dust-free storage space by adding a utility wall cabinet. We chose a 54-in. wide, 24-in. high and 12-in. deep cabinet available at home centers. It's prefinished inside and out, so it'll be easy to clean.

Chances are, you'll have a dryer vent or some other obstruction right where you want your cabinet. To solve this problem, we simply cut away the back and inserted a 4-in. galvanized duct as a liner to give the cabinet a 1-in. clearance from the dryer vent, preventing heat from building up inside the cabinet. With the liner in place, the vent is isolated behind the cabinet, keeping everything inside cool and clean. Follow the step-by-step how-to in Photos 1-5.

1 DRAW a 6-in. diameter circle 2 in. in from the back edge of your cabinet to correspond with the location of your dryer vent. Flip the cabinet upside down and draw the same circle to correspond with the top.


2 CUT slots 6 in. apart on the backside of the cabinet that align with the edges of the semicircles. Set your circular saw for a 2-in. depth of cut. Once the back is cut, use a jigsaw to cut along the circles at the top and bottom of the cabinet.


3 NAIL a 4-in. steel vent pipe to the cabinet to act as a liner for the dryer vent. Use No. 17 wire nails 3/4 in. long. This liner will prevent heat buildup inside the cabinet and allow the contents of the cabinet to stay cool.


4 LEVEL AND SCREW a temporary 1x4 cleat to the wall studs with 2-1/2 in. drywall screws. The cabinet will rest on the cleat and your partner will be able to slide the cabinet left or right to align it. Once you have it where you like it, screw it to the studs with the cabinet screws provided.


5 REATTACH the cabinet doors and drill holes for your door pulls. You'll need to cut your shelves for the cabinet with a jigsaw to fit around your new vent shield.

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Author:Radtke, David
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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