Ikea Laundry Hamper Hack. From laundry to logs.


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Laundry who?

Laundry sucks, and it’s made even more annoying by the fact that I don’t have an actual laundry room, but a mere laundry closet.  That’s maybe less of a joke than you were expecting, but really all knock knock jokes are bad so this little let down can’t come as much of a surprise to you.

You may wonder why I continue to fix my 16 year old stackable washer and dryer.  Well for one thing, it’s fairly easy to do.  And for another, sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat at night, my hands clutching the nearest pillow as I wake from one of two recurring nightmares I have.  My washer/dryer is unfixable and I can’t find another one to fit in my laundry closet. I wake up screaming, I tell you.

I’m terrified I will never find another washer and dryer to fit in my laundry closet.   That’s my biggest fear in life if you don’t count going blind, losing a limb, having a stroke, losing my home, getting grey pubic hair, running out of toilet paper, vomitting in public,  or running out of pepperoni.

So a few weeks ago I decided one way to get a little extra space in my laundry room would be to see if I could find a laundry hamper that was long and narrow as opposed to the big squarish Ikea one I had.  Turns out, Ikea had one.  Because Ikea has everything because it’s the happiest place on earth next to that other famous “Happiest Place on Earth” … The Dollar Store.

In case you’re getting the wrong impression of me, trust me, if I had wads of cash, I’d kick Dollarama to the curb and Hermes would quickly become my happiest place on earth.  Just so we’re clear.

After a quick trip to Ikea I left with the 2 narrow laundry hampers I went for.   Along with an orchid, 3 wicker baskets, enough candles to fill a medium sized airplane hanger, 7 mugs and a fistful of hotdogs.  The Ikea hotdog is my spirit animal.

I got the hampers home and they were perfect.  They took up WAY less space, immediately feeling like my laundry closet had doubled inside.  I had a double closet.  It was great, but I had no idea what to do with my old hampers but I knew there was potential and I shouldn’t just throw them out.

Then it CAME to me.  I knew exactly what I was going to do with them, and had dragged them outside to do just that when Pink Tool Belt happened by and said what she’d do with them.  I loved her idea.  Her idea was great.  But so was mine.

I had a horrible moment of indecision when I realized I had 2 hampers and I could do both things.

HER idea was to take this hamper from the laundry pile to the wood pile.





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You can see the hamper is just a nylon bag that hangs over a metal frame.  It isn’t even sewn on.  It’s just attached with velcro.  You can also see how much room my hamper took up in my laundry closet.




All you have to do is remove the laundry bag to get down the the heart of the matter.  The metal frame with that weird, ugly powder coated fake aluminum colour.  This strange sort of fake silver metal colour seems to be a thing for Ikea.  They make everything out of it.  I hate it.  But when it was in my laundry closet it didn’t matter.  I hate everything once it was in my laundry closet.  It’s 6 square feet of negative energy.





The hamper came with castors which I had removed but saved, so I threw those back on it.




Then I dragged it outside and gave it a couple of coats of spray paint.






I had about 20 half used cans of black spray paint to choose from in my basement so I went for one from Krylon that claimed to need no sanding or priming.  We’ll see about that. I once bought some nail polish that claimed it would last without chipping for two weeks.

The Ikea hamper is perfect as a log holder.  It keeps exactly enough wood for a couple of nights of fires close to the back door.   If I had a bit more space in my living room, I’d keep it right beside my fireplace to hold my wood. I love the look of stacked wood inside a house.




With a beautiful, and free, log holder like this it will be sweet dreams every night.  No more nightmares. Oh!  And that second recurring nightmare?  It involves flying to a classroom naked  to take an exam I haven’t studied for.  That’s not the scary part.  The scary part is if I don’t get the exam finished in time, I’ll miss the grand opening of the new Dollar Hermes store.


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  1. Sierra Eisler says:

    I love your blogs! what is that fancy floor cleaning tool you have in that picture? I need one!

  2. Wig says:

    You Rock Karen…I found you on Roughlinen.com (which I’m a huge supporter of)…
    Question…What fabric is that on top of the wood bin? It looks like wax canvas.
    Is there any way you can explain how you made it, or have a link to where you can make it?

    I’ve been reading watching your blog for the past two hours…Damn you!…;)

    I’m a Lifestyle Curator (and I’m straight, not that it matters) in Los Angeles and I’m totally digging your DIY projects for my clients…I’ll start with this one and the grill scraper for Christmas Gifts!

    • Karen says:

      Hello Straight Wig! That’s a wood tote on top. It’s straight up heavy duty canvas, not waxed, with wood handles. My mother made it years ago for my father and it’s still holding up. I have no idea what a Lifestyle Curator is, lol, but it sounds like a fun job. ~ karen!

      • Wig says:

        Aaahhh…I won’t need that as I use my wood for BBQ’ing…And it’s LA, it rarely rains here.

        Lifestyle Curator…I coined the term myself since I didn’t really fit in any catagory…I basically help divorced, up and coming stars, busy professionals, or people looking to have love in their life. I help their environments become sexy and inviting…Part Interior Designer, part feng shui, part therapist, part life coach. I get to be creative and help empower people with their god given gifts….It’s very gratifying and I’m obsessed with it. A byproduct of is it constantly makes me look at myself and how I can improve it. I can’t do it, if I’m not living it!..:)
        Thank you again and I will be doing your DIY projects! Oh! I can’t wait to use the boiling water in my Hydrangea’s….I gave up on those beauties a couple of years ago…:)

        You rock Karen!

  3. CAPERNIUS says:

    This is a great idea!!
    easy, simple, plain yet stylish,….
    I love it!

    Did you know that many ideas can come to fruition with PVC Plumbing pipe?
    everything from tool handles to furniture to greenhouses for the garden….
    there is almost no limit to what you build/make with PVC Pipe.
    If you’re interested, here’s a couple of websites to get you started:
    This last one has pieces that you will never find in your local hardware store, but are needed for some projects.

  4. Edith says:

    Still waiting for part 2!!!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. part 2 won’t be coming until next spring Edith! ~ karen

      • Edith says:

        So. It has been almost a year now. I have been really patient and therefore I actually deserve to see part 2. Maybe you have forgotten about it, but I haven’t …..

        Please, don’t make me wait untill NEXT spring!

        • Karen says:

          LOL. My plan was to do part two this spring Edith, but I didn’t get around to it. I will try very hard to do it this fall. ;) ~ karen!

  5. And now for a particularly off topic question. Where did you get that broom from? I love it lots.

  6. Debbie Bashford says:

    okay I’m standing… hello my name is Debbie and I have never been to Ikea. I have seen so many Ikea hacks that if I ever step inside one I will probably explode

  7. You know Karen, I loved the post, then got to the grey pubic hair, and….somehow…..I just forgot what I was reading about…jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, crest white strips, crest white strips, crest white strips!

  8. Beth says:


    I’m heart broken for you. Is that a chipped tile in your brand new floor? Please say no. Please, please, please.


    • Karen says:

      Not to worry Beth. :) That’s really old tile that I laid down in the laundry closet about a decade ago! Just cheap stick down stuff. :) It’s not the new stuff. :) ~ karen

  9. Katbert says:

    Impressive log holder, BUTTTTT how about that floor polisher in the picture???? We had one like that when I was about 6 and that was a LONG time ago. When I was really young I got to ride it when my mom polished the floors and then a bit older, would enjoy running it myself to see where in the world, ok kitchen, it would take me. It brings back fond memories. They don’t actually make Johnson paste wax anymore, do they?

    • Liz Walter says:

      Trewax Clear Paste Floor Wax is what you can get these days. If you are in Canada Home Hardware sells it and Home Depot in the States and I’m sure many other places. I wanted to check if they still make the Johnson wax and you are right I couldn’t find it (I still have a can from the 70’s-never used it on floors but it’s good on a lot of other things-or at least it was in the 70’s) We bought a floor plolisher/rug shampooer about 1974 and it had a canister that held cleaning solution and different types of rotary scrubbers as well as a couple of buffing pads including a sheep skin one. I was never really happy with how it worked as a rug shampooer-it did not do a good job on puppy barf and poop on a shag rug-holy crow I really am dating myself. The wet-vac type ones that you rented at the grocery store did a better job but we used that polisher till it lived out it’s last days almost 30 years. About 7 years ago when my mother-in-law was moving into a retirement home and we had to clear/clean out her house to our delight we found one just like Karen has in the laundry closet. We have hardwood floors that I clean with a dilute mix of Avon Bubble Bath and water in a spray bottle followed immediately with a floor mop that has a barely damp microfibre pad on it. Most of the time that is all that’s needed it’s streak free but sometimes (mostly around the holidays) we’ll get out the polisher and buff them. It would probably also work on ceramic/porcelain tiles but I don’t have any of those in the house (didn’t know you could install floor heaters till I saw you blogging about it Karen) Sorry I’m being so long winded but there was one other thing that I wanted to mention-does anyone remember the embossed vinyl sheet flooring that was popular in the 70’s and 80’s? When we moved into our present home in 1985 that was what was popular. It was a stupid stupid idea at our house with 3 people one of whom was a little kid, two or three cats (once we were up to 5-I can’t turn away a hard luck case who shows up at the back door) and a dog and someone who liked to fool around in the kitchen (COOKING not actually Fooling Around-we had a 7 year old remember-that sort of limited our options)-ok-where was I? Yea those embossed floors were really hard to keep clean (although they had a busy pattern that hid a lot of sins) but they did look better when they were scrubbed and that’s where the tank and scrub brushes really came in handy once or twice a year. We mopped as needed but a lick and a promise only goes so far. We replaced the floor 1o years ago when we did a kitchen remodel-Ikea-and I still love it -the kitchen-I don’t miss the old floor at all.
      On another note Karen I’m just getting over this cold that everyone seems to have in Burlington/Hamilton area (try to stay clear of Toxic Toddlers-they are little petrie dishes of colds and Pink Eye) I’ve been off the computer for a few days mostly cause I couldn’t see but the Pink Eye is pretty much gone and I’ve had an absolutley delightful afternoon catching up on the blog and re-reading the post about the cleaning tips that you did back in April. Thank you-you are as good as medicine-love reading your stuff.

    • Pam'a says:

      Karen wrote an entry all about that floor waxer a while back. I bet if you use the nifty little search box on the right side of the page, you’ll find it.

  10. Kelli says:

    Freakin FABULOUS! More please! (love me a good IKEA hack)

    And you’re mind kinda gal about the TRUE happiest place on earth – Mickey Mouse ain’t got nothin on Hermes.

  11. Bols says:

    My problem (and I hope somebody may have a suggestion) is where to put said laundry hamper. I don’t have the Ikea one, I have one from sturdy reinforced fabric that I got at HomeSense). My problem is that the teeny weeny closets in my house have no space for a hamper and my washer/dryer are in the basement. So I am left with the option of either throwing the dirty laundry on the floor where it will sit and multiply until the laundry day, or to have the hamper (which is not the most decorative one) in plain view in the bedroom. (The bathroom lacks the space for it as well).

    QUESTION FOR KAREN – please do tell – what is the strange thing with the two round brushes next to the hamper? Is it a buffer for your tiled floor? Did you actually buy it or are you renting it?

  12. Debbie O'Rourke says:

    The reason you love those Hot Dogs is because they tasted EXACTLY like the ones in the Dominion at the University Plaza…….

  13. Tigersmom says:

    IKEA “silver” does leave a lot to be desired. What an excellent hack. Perfect for your modern backyard.

    I never let an objects intended purpose get in the way of me finding another use for it. Its very satisfying.

  14. Mindy says:

    I, too, was looking for the second idea. Nice cliffhanger.

  15. Deb says:

    Ok, I am confused. My laundry hampers collapse under the weight of a queen-size quilt. How on earth is yours holding WOOD? Please let us know if it starts bending. Need the info.

  16. Ella says:

    Can’t wait for part 2. Love spray paint. Love it!

  17. Cynthia says:

    What’s a ” hack” ?

  18. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    You Bertelsen girls are just so clever..you must get it from you mother..I shall be waiting for hack number two..Hope you and the family had a great Thanksgiving day..

  19. Stephbo says:

    At least you have a closet. My washer and dryer are right in my kitchen, which I hate hate HATE! I’m looking forward to the second Ikea hack idea! On another note, I have a friend whose elderly spinster virgin aunt apparently didn’t have any grey hair down below. When my friend asked her mother why not, her mother replied, “Because she doesn’t have any worries down there.” Lol!

  20. Erica says:

    Karen! I love your website. And I love the fact that you are paying more attention to the pictures you take/post. They are gorgeous. Can I made a suggestion? The pictures are too tall to fit on a full page of my laptop. So I either see the top half or the bottom half of the picture, with scrolling, or I can zoom out to just read your blog post so I can see the whole picture. If you sized them a bit smaller, I’d get to appreciate your fine new photography skills all at once. Cheers!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erica! Thanks. I actually used to size the vertical photos a bit smaller. But when they’re small enough to fit on a laptop screen they aren’t as impactful. For them to be short enough to fit top to bottom they also have to be less wide, which makes them kind of meh. I’ll experiment a bit with square photos which would utilize the width. ~ karen!

  21. Maria Gonzalez says:

    Great IKEA hack! I don’t like that “IKEA silver” either.


  22. Chrissy says:

    Did you retile your laundry room when you did the kitchen? I see some chipping there… I hope that is not new tile!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chrissy – No, no. That’s realllyyy old stick down tile. I put it down when I first moved into the house. :) ~ karen!

  23. Angela N says:

    FANTASTIC!! I have a hamper and the bag is toast! I was trying to think of ways to repurpose it. This is awesome! Although mine has solid sides made out of mdf. I thought about throwing a piece of wood on the top to make it a plant stand. I like this better though. Any other ideas for repurposing??

  24. Cheryl says:

    I just had my very first IKEA experience this past week!!! Living in the Maritimes means we have to travel far, far away to experience the joy hat is a DIYer/hacker’s dream! So while on a trip to Calgary, I strolled the aisles for hours. I brought back what I could in my suitcase, but that was (obviously) not enough!
    I just got a coupon code for free shipping today–guess which website I am heading to next? :) We use bronze ice buckets for our wood storage inside-I think your hack could be a new solution.

    • julie says:

      Hey Cheryl…I’m in the Maritimes too (Fredericton)…I feel sad for us with no access to Ikea! And I find that online there are sooo many items can’t be shipped!

  25. chris aka monkey says:

    okay cool hack…hope your thanksgiving was all that you wanted it to be…what about the tree on the wall did i miss it? we don’t have a fireplace wish we did … wilbur is so big now if he crawled on my hand i would scream like a girl i think he is one of the cats that take 7-9 months to morph..he thinks he lives in the ritz xx

  26. Pam says:

    Hotdog as spirit animal, so funny!! IKEA is four hours away for me, but I make a plan and drive the van!

  27. mia pratt says:

    It might be appropriate, Karen, to educate the younger women amongst us on the nightmarish hell we can expect for our vajayjays when we get older. Silver pubic hair appearing…lost lipstick tubes from Disco nights suddenly appearing down there along with that Christmas sock your husband lost in 1987. And sagging. There is supposed to be sagging. Yikes, never mind.

  28. Kathline says:

    I also refer to IKEA as the second happiest place on earth. Unfortunately, the first happiest place is actually closer to me than my nearest IKEA. Or fortunately, depending finances – I think I spend more at IKEA!

  29. Ruth says:

    “HER idea was to take this hamper from the laundry pile to the wood pile.”

    …. and your idea was….? I have a strange feeling that you will need another hamper for the laundry room, because these 2 have been commissioned to ‘higher’ service. :-)

  30. Feral Turtle says:

    P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

  31. Feral Turtle says:

    Another fantastic Ikea hack! Looking forward to part two!

  32. Ev Wilcox says:

    Great. Now I’ll have sleepless nights wondering about the other great idea. Pink Tool Belt’s idea was very good, but now here we all are, waiting and wondering. Sigh….

  33. Kat says:

    That broom is awesome and so perfect for a witches broom!

  34. Shannon says:

    Could we please see a pic of the new,narrow hamper? We have the same situation….thanks!

  35. Sue says:

    Pubic hairs go grey?!?!?

  36. Laura Bee says:

    “The Ikea hotdog is my spirit animal.” may be the funniest sentence I have ever read.

  37. Mary Kay says:

    Great idea – but what about when winter dumps a crap load of snow on you – you won’t be able to wheel that cute little thing from your BIG wood pile to your backdoor! Maybe laundry hamper #2 will join #1 so you have twice as much by your back door. Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope you have a wonderful meal with your family!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary Kay ! I’ll probably actually move it to the front porch where it’ll be covered. Dinner was great but in half an hour I have to go back downstairs and finish cleaning up the disaster of a kitchen. ~ karen!

      • Mary Kay says:

        Geez – no one volunteered to be your maid for a day??? That is the only drawback of having the holidays at your house – the clean up – UGH!

  38. Donna says:

    Love your posts, do you use that floor polisher??

    • Karen says:

      I do indeed! I bought it at the beginning of the year at an antique show and I use it about once a month. ~ karen!

      • Lynn Johannson says:

        You know….. if you chose to not clean house and polish your floors you would have time for 5 post a week. Of course you would have nothing to take pics of so you would have to come to MY house and do your projects. But then I would have to clean first so…. never mind

  39. Mary says:

    Clever girl. Nice hack.

  40. Su says:

    nice. Cool. good re-use and recyle

  41. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  42. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    Question about your stackable set: Do your sheets turn into a big tangled ball in the dryer? I have a stackable set, and blankets, sheets, towels, etc., all turn into this mass of fabric that’s still completely wet in the center but dry on the outside. Am I just lucky that way or do you experience this, too?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Adrienne – That can definitely happen. To help stop this when I put the sheets in I feed them in one at a time sort of folding them into the machine one at a time, as opposed to putting in a big ball of them. This seems to help stop the whole big ball of wet centre thing. ~ karen!

      • Adrienne in Atlanta says:

        Never had this problem with my regular dryer, so I’ll try that. Thanks! Surely must be more effective than swearing the machine up one side and down the other.

        • Catherine says:

          Yeah, I get that matzoh ball of linens too even with my regular dryer. Some clean tennis balls added to the mix or some clean tennis shoes/trainers/athletic shoes (whatever they call them in your part of the world) will also work. Ya know… you have already washed the shoes and they are still wet, now you’ve done the linens and need to dry them. What I really want is a LOFTi system. http://www.shop-thenewclotheslinecompany.com/ Maybe Karen will do a hack on one of those. then we could dry our linens on the patio or entry ceiling.

        • Adrienne in Atlanta says:

          Hi Catherine! Thanks for reminding me that I wanted to tell Karen about this little revelation. :) That LOFTi system would be great. I love that it’s so green. I have a really dinky house though, so I can’t even imagine where I’d put it so that people wouldn’t literally clothesline themselves. (Ha!) I do use the tennis balls, in fact. I started using vinegar (in a downy ball) in place of fabric softener, and tennis balls were recommended on the same website to reduce drying time. I didn’t really notice a difference, and the noise was too much after a while. I’m still looking for a good way to reduce static. I used to throw in a ball of foil, but the noise issue came up again, unfortunately. The search continues. ;)

        • Catherine says:

          I use vinegar but, in the bleach dispenser to remove boy-funk form my 12 yo DS & DH.

        • Karen says:

          There’s an old style clothing dryer that hangs from the ceiling I was going to hack. It’s a very simple design but never got around to it. Might look into this for a future post. :) ~ karen!

      • Adrienne in Atlanta says:

        Sooooo…last month the dryer on my stackable set quit heating. The repairs turned out to be cost prohibitive, so we opted to replace it. While the repair guy was looking at it, however, he noticed that the piece on the backside of the drum was almost completely worn away, so it wasn’t likely turning in an actual circle, but instead throwing the ball of clothes around willy nilly. Since you are so handy (who even knew carbon brushes existed before you told us?), I thought I’d mention this to you. I think you could replace the piece yourself. It was a bushing, but I can’t tell you much more than that. Basically the piece in the center of the back panel (of the upper dryer portion) that the drum spins on. The belt was also affected by this piece being worn out. I may not be telling you anything you don’t already know, but I had to share! I no longer have a big ball of clothes wet in the middle, I’m happy to report. :)

        • Karen says:

          Excellent, lol. Mine only does that with a big load of sheets and only if I mush them in there all at once so I don’t think I need to rip my dryer apart to replace the bushing just yet. :) And after this many repairs I might just have to break down and replace the dryer if something else goes on it. Or maybe not. ;) ~ karen!

  43. Cynthia says:

    I get lost in Ikea, which I believe is part of their master plan. But, maybe that’s a thought due to the need to increase my meds.

    By the way, those leaves were not random-scattered, I reckon they were carefully placed with your design aesthetic eyeballs in control. You can’t fool me, you and IKEA.

    If your washer/dryer ever does cark it, check out the BEKO brand. I love BEKO. I have a freezer which is the berry best freezer I have ever had. So dry and frost free and beautifully appointed. I am now saving for a washer/dryer combo.

    It’s the brand of fridge/freezers they use on Australian Masterchef, which I know you love. Such high quality in design and features.

    PS why doesn’t someone make a two-pack black nail polish? An epoxy one that would be really hard. It makes sense, but maybe it would stain the nail?

    • Karen says:

      I’ve always always loved the refrigerators on Masterchef Australia. They’re tall and narrow. I remember freezing the picture so I could look at the brand. We don’t carry it here. :( At least we didn’t at the time ~ karen!

  44. Cathy says:

    …”after a quick trip to IKEA….”

    I hate you.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah I’m pretty lucky. It’s only 15 minutes away. Hate you too! :) ~ karen

      • sera says:

        It’s so good that IKEA is a 30 min (give or take an hour) drive from my house. I’d be in big trouble if it was closer.
        Although that time when we bought a dresser and had to go back twice because we had missing parts and ended up going to IKEA three times in 24 hours – yeah, that isn’t something I want to do again.
        I hope your second IKEA post will include a shot of the laundry room with your new hampers as well…

  45. sakina says:

    I think the second idea is a tea cart? :-)

  46. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Clever, very clever!

  47. Amanda says:

    Wait. You don’t have any gray pubic hair yet? I, um, spotted a few when I was in my 30s and complained to my pal/stepmother about it. She asked, “Are you sure they aren’t cobwebs?”

  48. Becky says:

    is there a part 2 to this story? what was the other idea?

    I love IKEA, I just wish there was one closer to me. Its a 90 minute drive, on a good day… on a bad day, it can take hours

    • Karen says:

      Can’t tell ya! That information I’m saving for my second Ikea hack post. :) ~ karen!

      • Hope says:

        whoop! I can’t wait for the second idea…tell pink toolbelt this one was brilliant. Not to encourage sibling rivalry. What I love about this idea is how it encourages me to look at things differently. Recently had a HUGE change in income. Now when I have a problem area I shop the house and the garage…and the thrift shop. And it’s good for my brain as I consider the options possible. And it’s great for my wallet. I was going to say pocketbook but I don’t have one of those!

      • L says:

        Did I miss part 2 of the hamper hack? I can’t find a second tutorial on your site.

        • Karen says:

          Nooo, lol. I still haven’t done it! I absolutely COMMIT to doing it this spring so everyone can see. Promise. (mostly) :) ~ karen!

  49. Laura says:

    Yay! Thanks the post even though it’s a holiday — and happy thanksgiving. But what was the second idea???

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