DIY Laundry Cart

Jennifer —  September 7, 2011

As I previewed here, I was working on a wide range of projects this weekend.  My main area of focus is my laundry room.  I know that I am slowly revealing the renovation that happened over a year ago but there has been lots of reorganization in the last week.  The major renovation got all the “key players” where the need to be (i.e…desks, laundry, floor, entrance into kitchen, and exit into backyard)  The reorganization process is to make it all usable, cohesive, comfortable and pretty to the eye.  I needed some laundry supply storage.  I thought about various different ways to make this happen.  For a year we have had a shelf above our washer and dryer.  You can see it in this picture.


Its nothing special and I could have made it look better with baskets and other storage.  Here is three reasons why I decided not to do that:

  1. It”s not easily reached.  You have to stretch over the washer and dryer.  We are tall so its possible but not the most convenient.
  2. I didn”t want to buy a ton of baskets.  Believe me, I have plenty  but the cost of baskets can add up especially if you would need three, maybe four.   I was now looking at  $50.00 for basket storage.  I was shooting for $20.00 or under
  3. We have lots laundry supplies…detergetent, Shout, dryer sheets, softener, bleach, iron…  I figured it all would look cluttered.  If you come into my house from the garage this area is the first you will see.  I would rather it look uncluttered.

About 8 months ago we were helping the Hubs mom move out of her house that she sold.  She had a butcher block island downstairs in her basement (leftover from her old kitchen when she renovated)  She gave us the butcher block top.  I was just going to put it in storage for a future home”s kitchen rehab until I got home and realized that it might fit as a good table top over our washer and dryer.  I was right…almost.  It was about 7 inches longer than the washer and dryer together, but the perfect depth.  Nevertheless, we kept it there until we figured out what to do.

Then I started thinking about a pull out laundry cart.   So, I jumped in the car and drove to the Wal-mart, K-mart and Target in my home town.  Surely, I could find something there.  Sadly, I came home empty-handed.  The ones I found where either wider than 7 inches, wire shelving (I wanted hidden storage not exposed), or over my $20.00 budget.  Then I remembered my search for the perfect cheap medicine cabinet and could not find it….  Why not do the same thing?  It could be a way to get it under budget and get exactly what I want.

Here are the Materials you need:

  • One (1X6X10) Cut into two 37 inch pieces and one 27 inch pieces: $5.97
  • One (1X6X6) cut into two more 27 inch pieces: fortunately, I had this piece.  Have you seen my wood pile?
  • 6 – 1/4 inch think square dowel rod pieces .97 a pop = 6.00
  • 4 Small Casters : $4.50 for all four
  • White Paint and Primer:  I had it already I have this stuff coming out of my ears from the flip house.
  • Wood Screws (had them already)
  • Wood Glue (Had it already)
  • Wood Filler (Had it already)
  • Cabinet Handle (had an old handle from the kitchen renovation we did in East Nashville)

Total Cost to get a custom fit Laundry Cart:  $16.47

Note:  If you did not have anything it would be a little more expensive (like $15.00 more) but here are a few ways to cut costs…

  • get your wood from a Habitat for Humanity or Charity Re-Store like ours here.  Those places have a modge podge variety of wood but if you don”t need much, like this project, you can usually find wood there deeply discounted.
  • Instead of spending $4 on dowel rods staple and ribbon or elastic you have at home to the sides of the cart.  That will keep the supplies on the cart.  It might even make it look prettier.
  • Instead of a cabinet handle you could drill two holes (like you would a 3 inch cabinet handle) and feed rope/ribbon through to make the handle.  Just knot the rope/ribbon bigger than the holes in the back.  Or look for a handle in thrift store of Re-Store.  You can always find one there.
  • Look for paint at your community Re-Store.  Basic colors are usually more likely to be found there.  OR maybe a friend has some leftover paint they don”t need anymore.

Here is how I did it:

  1. I took measurements and made up a plan. I wanted it to look built-in.  To do so the front and back piece almost touches the bottom of the butcherblock top and almost touches the floor.
  2. I cut the wood.  I did this at home but you could do it at Blue or Orange.
  3. I measured on the front and back piece where the shelves would go.  
  4. I assembled the cart using wood glue and wood screws.  This step is easier if you have the help of a friend or spouse to help you hold the wood together while you screw in the wood screws.  This is why I don”t have a picture.  It took all hands in our house to help…and the only thing left were paws….they can”t take pictures.  To help you see what I did I drew little marks where I screwed in screws.  I made sure that I screwed the screws hard enough so that they would countersink below the surface of the wood.  (Note: The casters where two inches tall so I made sure the front the lower shelf was screwed in 2¼ inches from the bottom of the front and back piece.  That way the front and back piece would cover most of the castor but still give 1/4 inch floor clearance.)
  5. I filled the screw holes with wood filler
  6. I cut the dowel rods down to 28 inches and attached them with wood glue.  I used clamps to keep them snug.  This was an extra step that I took to make sure my laundry supplies stay on the shelf.  You would not have to do this. 
  7. I sanded the laundry cart
  8. I primed and painted the laundry cart.
  9. I screwed in the casters to the bottom shelf (note:  I used a four pack of the non-swivel kind because all I wanted the laundry cart to do was pull out and push wobbly wheels)
  10. I screwed in the cabinet pull.

This is what I got! (p.s….the handle is still drying.  I had to spray paint it because it was black.  I will update with the handle tonight)

It fits all my detergent, bleach, iron, dryer sheets, little bin for my dryer lint name it it”s in there.  On top of that it makes my laundry system look built- in.  The butcher block now fits over the entire system perfectly.  The top shelf is not that tall but I chose to use it for my dryer sheets.  Someone game me a relish dish for my wedding and I have never got the chance to use it.  I found it in the closet and thought, hmmm…what if I put this in the laundry cart.  It could hold change and lost buttons or whatever goodness I pull out of pockets.  It”s perfect for the top shelf!

I have learned that it really isn”t hard to build things.  I am serious.  Stop telling yourself that you can”t.  That was me three years ago.  The only tools that you really need for this project is a drill and a piece of sand paper.   If you don”t have a drill there is a good chance your neighbor does so go borrow one.  You could take my blue print and make it fit your space…or come up with your own. Stay tuned for more laundry projects.  You can see a little tidbit in the pictures.  Can you tell what is new?  Check out this post and then look at the pics…what is different.?

Thanks for reading,



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5 responses to DIY Laundry Cart

  1. Hi there,

    I used clamps to keep them snug. This was an extra step that I took to make sure my laundry supplies stay on the shelf.


  2. LOVE IT!! you did an amazing job. okay, seriously….will you come out to KC for a weekend and just work on a room with me? i will pay for your gas and you can actually help put drive behind my vision. i have lots of vision. no drive. soooo….commmme!! love you!

  3. well, what is going on after your awesome wedding decorating shin dig? when do you travel? do you even WANT to travel MORE than you already have to (let’s answer that one honestly, mmkay?!). even if it doesn’t work out, i really would love to see you soon…i miss you!!