Monday, January 3, 2011

Tackle It Tuesday: Laundry Chute

The kids have a new toy. It's not something that was given to them wrapped in pretty paper Christmas morning.

It's a hole.

In the floor.

Yup, they're favorite entertainment.

We have been in our house for eight and a half years, and struggled with very little space since. We struggle for closet space, floor space, storage name it.

When the boys were babies or toddlers, their clothes were small and took up very little space. Which meant that small laundry hampers in each room worked just fine. But as the bodies grew, so did their clothes. And the heaps of clothes. And the mixture of clean vs. dirty clothes. And in the last six months, the battles have become "What is clean and what is sort of clean and what is almost dirty and what is disgusting."

I put a hamper in Noah's room but the clothes would tower over the hamper and Noah would never take the hamper downstairs to the washer. And when I took the hamper away, he just continued to throw the clothes on the floor where the hamper USED TO be. He claimed that it was MY FAULT for taking the hamper out of his room.

So the solution became, "throw your clothes down the stairs when they're dirty." At least then they would be downstairs and I could wash them as I got a chance.

New problem...Anyone who walks into the house would see gobs and gobs of dirty clothes when they walked into the house. Nice greeting huh? And also, the boys would often miss and their clothes would be scattered across the entire stairwell and hanging on hooks along the wall. Lovely to see underwear hanging next to the coats and snow pants. It's killing me that I didn't take a BEFORE picture of the underwear hanging from the hooks. It was an every day occurrence, I guarantee you.

So I started wishing out loud for a laundry chute in our house. And Steve started plotting.

This discussion had lasted over a year. Steve would keep coming up with strange ideas and want to discuss them. But honestly, I never believed he would actually act on it so I kept just blowing off the discussion.

Then a few weeks ago, he got out his trusty drill (his ONLY power tool until last weekend) and started drilling holes in the floor. After discussions with people he knew, he decided that he was going to drill a hole in the bathroom for the chute. Our very very very very very tiny bathroom. I continued to try to veto the idea but he was convinced. When I tried to negate it again, he started investigating the hallway closet. I pretty much shot that one down too, since we already have virtually NO storage in this house and he finally gave that one up.

Anyone who walks into our house knows that the kitchen in our house is HUGE in proportion to the rest of the house. So I was thrilled when Steve woke up New Year's morning and declared the exact spot in the kitchen where he decided THAT VERY DAY that he was going make a hole. tools. Now, my hubby is an almost 40 something man who desires to do lots of "manly" projects but lacks the tools. He has complained many many times over the years that he should have power tools and doesn't. So I wasn't too surprised when he said he was going to go to the store to "investigate laundry chute costs" and came home with a reciprocating saw that he found on sale. He actually has said that the reason he hasn't done more around the house is lack of tools. I guess I know what every present for the next few years will have to be. Then maybe the room that was sort of re-done upstairs four years ago may get finished at some point.

He had decided that he was going to drill a hole in the floor and then BUILD something up around it. I tried to come up with an alternative. My suggestion was to buy some kind of cheap-ish pre-made cabinet and just cut out the bottom. I was very happy when he came home from his "investigation" trip with a perfect sized cabinet.

Now, New Years Day was supposed to be a fun family day watching Michigan play at the Gator Bowl and eating lots of yummy snacks. As Steve was drilling his first hole, Michigan proceeded to get its first TD very quickly. As I reported this first TD, Steve was fighting with his saw and Noah was parked in the hallway in observance of Daddy drilling into the floor.

As the game progressed, things were looking more and more bleak and by halftime, I gave up and set the boys up with their snack trays in the living room and let them watch a movie. (I guess the only reassurance was that MSU was getting their bottoms kicked on another station at the same time...yeah, just a little bit of rivalry here in Michigan)

By that point, the hole had been achieved and the next step came. How in the world are we going to attach this cabinet to the floor/wall to ensure safety for children and animals? Luckily, by this time, Steve was actually listening to my ideas as well as sharing his own. I felt like we were finally working together to figure this project out.

We came up with the idea of plywood to guide it down. And Steve really did a very good job following through with the ideas we came up with together. I am really glad that he got fed up enough with clothes on the stairs to declare that it was time to do something about it. I'm even glad he got himself another tool to build his collection. Every man needs tools!

I think the actual construction only took around three hours. No question, the investigation and planning was much more lengthy than the actual construction. I still need to stain the inside to ensure waterproof protection from wet laundry and stain the the outside to match the kitchen. But the chute is absolutely functional.

And the boys (all three of them) were thrilled to present the new hole in the floor.

And guess what? There are NO dirty clothes on anyone's floor.

Not even mine.

A tackle well worth it!

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