December 22, 2013

my ode to to the humble hamper

Long ago, when I was in college, the only hamper I could afford was a basic plastic hamper, you know the basket kind that your mom might have had and coat under $10? Well, these hampers are 1) pretty ugly and 2) just not very long lasting. So one day, I splurged on another plastic hamper- I think it cost $15!- but it was taller, slimmer, and much sturdier. It was still a basic white plastic hamper and wouldn't be winning any beauty contests, but it easily became one of the best things I'd ever bought. It held up well for years. It helped me move out of my dorm (I put tons of stuff in it), it helped me move home after college when I couldn't find a job, and it helped me move to NYC. It was slim and flexible enough to be squeezed into whatever space was left in my loaded-up car and still hold things. In a pinch, it could serve as a cat carrier if needed...then I did the unthinkable, I betrayed it.

You see, when I moved to NYC, I also got rid of my car. I quickly learned that carrying my favorite hamper to my local laundromat was not nearly as easy without a car. Sometimes, the top came off and led to embarrassing clothes spilling all over- imagine running down a sidewalk, chasing after your delicates! It was also cumbersome to carry several blocks, especially in the cold. Around this time, I began to have hamper envy- especially those with wheels. I did find a hamper very similar to mine with wheels, but the $20 cost seemed outrageous at the time! It was also considerably larger than mine and would take up too much room in my tiny NYC apartment. Besides, I was wondering if I deserved a more attractive hamper. So began a long search for rolling and beautiful hampers.

To that end, I've tried these:
- hampers that convert to backpacks (usually didn't stand up on their own and the backpack strap was usually 1) uncomfortable and 2) broke shortly after)); the one pictured here is from and is not the one I had! 

- rolling totes (worked well, but are really unattractive to leave out as a hamper; also didn't hold nearly as much as I hoped)

- gigantic crunch can (too gigantic, held so much that laundry day became a nightmare; also not portable (note too gigantic), so laundry day required tons of sorting and we ended up doing 3-4 loads!!!!)

- slim garbage can (functional, but just not that attractive or useful for taking to the laundry room)
- pretty ones like these are great for homes, but not for apartment dwellers who need to move their laundry
Finally, I've gone back to my roots. I looked again at plastic laundry baskets and came up with these Rubbermaid:

It also comes in white:
I mooned over them for ages because they cost $26+. But finally, I bit the bullet and bought two of the blue ones- cohesive look and the white one was $31. Now whites and colors get thrown into different hampers and when one is full, we know it's time to do laundry. Just grab the hamper, carry it to the laundry room using the easy flexible handles, and we're good.

I'm still thinking we may need more for delicates, sheets, and towels...but, I'll start with just these two and see how it goes.

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