I am really excited to share this post with you since I think this idea can really be useful for a lot of people.
I never used to lay my shirts out flat to dry, but after becoming completely frustrated with my shirts shrinking (that I had specifically bought for their long length), I started laying all of my shirts flat to dry. This has been great for solving the shrinking problem, but then I had a new problem of trying to dry a lot of shirts all of the time.
So, I did what most people do – I would try to arrange them in a single layer on top of my washer and dryer. That is great for one or two shirts, but more than that and they overlap and take forever to dry!
Here is my laundry room before. I am really fortunate to have a pretty large laundry room. (My laundry room has been half-painted like this for 10 years. Yep, I started painting it when I was pregnant with my oldest, but since I was hugely pregnant at the time, it was getting hard to reach the corners, so I just stopped, and obviously never started again!)
The laundry room already had this one wire shelf running the length of the wall above the washing machine.
I had been using this over-the-toilet shelving unit (from my college days) to hang shirts and as extra shelving. It worked great.
This metal shelving unit that used to be in my pantry was being used for sheets/blankets. It fit pretty great into this little corner section of the laundry room. (Yes, that is one of my cabbage patch dolls from when I was a kid – my sons stashed it there for who-knows-why)
As I was rotating my shirts on top of my washer and dryer the other day (so that they could dry out), I started thinking that I needed a better solution to my problem. After some searching on Pinterest, I found some ideas.
I LOVED the idea of pull-out drying shelves, but by the time you purchase all of the slide-out hardware and shelving, it starts becoming a very expensive project.
I knew I wanted a few things:
- A minimum of 5 drying racks
- The ability to easily lay out the shirts to dry (either pull-out shelves or shelves I could remove)
- Each rack had to be big enough to accommodate adult-sized clothes
- To be as affordable as possible
I had used the ALGOT shelving system from IKEA for my dining room shelving project, and I completely fell in love with it. With some rearranging, I was able to get everything I was looking for in my new shelving.
I installed two “wall uprights” (that is what the part that attaches to the wall is called) and bought six sets of brackets. The measurements I have are for racks that are 32 inches wide by 24 inches deep.
To build the racks, I cut up my children’s old crib. Of course, you can just go to the store and buy lumber as well. (You can use some very inexpensive wood for this project since it is for drying racks and nothing too fancy.)
I use my garage as my workspace – I don’t see any point in trying to keep the garage floor perfect. It is going to get dirty and oil spots/stains on it anyway, so just go with it! I spray paint directly on it all of the time, saving me from the bother of using newspaper.
For this project, I penciled my measurements directly onto the garage floor, giving me a convenient guide for making my drying racks. This way, I don’t have to measure each individual one.
I laid the wood over my template and then nailed it together. A couple of things here: I was using my crib slats, so I was limited on the length. They were just slightly shorter than I needed, so I had to do the corners like this. Also, this wood was SO HARD, so I nailed them together instead of using screws since I didn’t want to bother predrilling holes. You will want a support across the middle as well to help avoid sagging when a heavy sweater is placed on the fabric.
I used a combination of glue and nails. It is important to remember that you will need to nail in two places at each connection point to keep it from moving. (if you only use one nail, it can become like a pivot point and rotate).
After the corners were nailed together, I trimmed the extra pieces that were sticking out.
When it came to fabric to attach to the racks, I used some old sheer curtains that used to be in my dining room. They worked perfectly. I just used good old hot glue to attach them!
As you can see, it is not super pretty, but it works!
I was able to cover all six of my racks with curtains to spare!
And now, for the completed project!!!
I take a rack out and set it on my washing machine so that I can arrange the shirt that needs to dry. Then, easy-peasy, I place it on the rack to dry!
While I was doing this project, I also went ahead and installed additional shelving.
I cannot tell you how much I love these cardboard bin boxes. They are one of my organizing secret weapons.
I have always just written directly on the box with Sharpie, but then I couldn’t change it! I covered up all of the old writing with white sticker labels, and then I used chalkboard tape to put labels that are very easy to change when needed.
These shelves fit perfectly in the space, and unlike the old shelving I had in this spot, I am able to use the entire height of the wall.
I also installed a very narrow shelf above my washing machine and dryer. It is only 7″ deep, so it still allows me to open my washing machine lid without hitting anything. (for this post, I went ahead and spray-painted the ice cream bucket that has my homemade detergent)
You know it is a good project when even your son says “Wow Mom, this looks great!”
It has been about a year since I put in these shelves. They have worked great. I did begin to have a problem with the brackets being a little wobbly and bending outwards. This made them wider and then the shelves would fall off. I solved this problem very cheaply – I used clear packing tape to hold the brackets together. I ran the tape from one bracket to the other at about the center point. This has solved the problem and is hidden by the shelves.