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A Tale of Two Plastic Laundry Baskets

Posted By Beth Terry On September 24, 2009 @ 10:34 am In Fixing things,Interviews and Guest Posts | 18 Comments

I received the coolest email this morning from Fake Plastic Fish reader Ellen Simpson, who was inspired by this blog to figure out a way to repair her old plastic laundry basket instead of trashing it and buying a new one. She, in turn, inspired me to fix my own broken plastic laundry basket this morning. Here then, are the tales of two baskets, complete with pictures. First, Ellen’s:

from: Simpson, Ellen
to Beth Terry
date Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:23 AM
subject Laundry basket repair

Hi Beth,

I’m a big fan of your blog, and I wanted to let you know you inspired me to do a little green repair this past week. I have a plastic laundry basket that my husband and I have used for years. It’s cracking in a few places, and a few weeks ago one of the handles broke off completely.

My first inclination was to throw it away and get a new one. But then I thought, what would Beth (and her dad) do? I decided to try to repair the handle. Gluing the old handle back on wouldn’t work, because it would be too weak to hold a load of laundry. I thought that I might be able to drill holes on each side of where the handle had been, and insert a new handle made of a wooden dowel or something similar. I didn’t want to buy new materials to make this fix, though.

Well, Tuesday is trash day in our neighborhood. While I was walking home from the train station, I saw an old umbrella sticking out of a trash can. I snagged the umbrella and brought it home. I used a hacksaw to cut off a portion of the metal rod, then I drilled holes in the laundry basket where the handle used to be. By bending the basket I was able to insert the rod segment, and then when the basket went back to its usual shape, the rod was securely held in by plastic brackets (part of the original basket design) that prevent it from sliding out.

I’ve attached a picture of the repaired basket. I’m so happy with it and I wanted to thank you for providing inspiration for little and big changes your readers are making. Thanks Beth!

Ellen Simpson

How many others of us have broken plastic laundry baskets in our homes? And I wonder how many broken plastic laundry baskets are sitting in landfills. Plastic isn’t easy to fix. Or is it? Inspired by Ellen’s story, I looked at my own laundry basket and figured out a way to fix it too.

The break in my basket is in the corner:

Instead of an old umbrella, I used a piece of wire hanger to fix mine. I drilled holes through the ribs under the rim to slide the hanger through and then twisted it with pliers to keep it in place:

It works!

Now, what can I do about the hole in the bottom where the plastic melted onto a floor heating grate in our old house?

Do you have any simple fix-it stories to share? You never know whom you might inspire!

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