Friday, November 06, 2009

The Ups and Downs (ha ha) of a Laundry Chute

(Thanks for the questions! I'll definitely enjoy answering those when I have more time than I do today!)

When we were looking for a house, I had a two page handwritten list of things that we were looking for. When we found this one, it literally ticked every single box except for one: I had written "convenient laundry." In my mind I was thinking of first-floor laundry, which would be a dream come true compared to the 3 flights of stairs I was climbing at the old house. But at least this house had a laundry chute, I figured. That fixes one direction of the flow.

So I've enjoyed the laundry chute overall. It has an opening in the guest bathroom on the first floor (which fixes the problem of "what do I do with this dirty dish towel?" when you have basement laundry), and an opening in the kids'/guest bath on the 2nd floor. So I don't throw everything down there, but it helps.

For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling like we're running out of clothes quickly and I've been doing laundry quite frequently. Then one day I went to put something in the 2nd floor laundry chute and couldn't open the door. Turns out there's something stuck there. Oh, weird, I thought. Well, I'll just pull it out.

So I pulled out everything I could reach and there was still more. I called Brian, who could reach more than I could, but there was still more. I got a swiffer handle and tried to push down on the items, hoping to loosen them enough to fall, but they wouldn't budge. Something, or some things, were seriously jammed.

At this point we had already retrieved a full load of laundry worth from the chute, and there was still more. Brian went to the basement and built a long handled tool with a hook on the end and began digging up into the chute. At one point we thought that surely we had gotten it all. But I put something in the 2nd floor of the chute and it didn't fall to the basement. So no, still more.

Several hours later, we had retrieved about 2 full loads of laundry worth of clothes that I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. No WONDER I've been doing laundry so much - half of our wardrobe was hanging out in the laundry chute! The worst part is that 2 of Katy's brand new shirts that she had worn once were completely ruined from being moist for 2 weeks. It was disappointing to pitch those, but at least that's the advantage of clearance shopping: I know I didn't pay more than a dollar or two for them.

I'll be more cautious in the future, but what are you supposed to do? Run down to the basement every time you put something in to make sure it made it all the way? That kinda defeats the purpose...


Charity said...

I'm very sorry, but I can't help but find this all very comical. ;-)
Too bad about the ruined clothes, and wasted time. BUT it's kind of funny, don't you think?

Weed said...

My parents' house has a laundry chute. The biggest advantage that we always used it for was as an "intercom" from upstairs to down. If we were upstairs and needed someone downstairs, we'd knock on the chute to get their attention. Worked great! They use it for laundry too, but I had to do my own laundry, so I didn't get to throw mine down, so for me it was just an intercom!

Jen said...

My parents had a laundry chute and we now have one. I don't know how I'd survive without it. It does make a great intercom system too! Emmaline has recently discovered the chute and we have found all sorts of things in the basement, from wet diapers to the bathroom tub plug to trash. I'm hoping the newness will wear off soon. =)

Kelsey said...

When I was growing up my parents had a laundry chute in the floor of their closet - it opened like a trap door. It went down to the first floor laundry, where it emptied into a cabinet! We used to get in trouble for shoving clothes down too hard and causing the cabinet doors to open and laundry to come spilling out. We also used to enjoy dangling our arms and legs down it to see who could see them below.

Good times.

Mommy Daisy said...

Aww man, that stinks. I'd be upset about throwing away clothes too (no matter how cheap).

Also, since I was a kid, I've always thought a laundry chute would be AWESOME in a house. We live in a one story ranch, sans basement. Bummer!

Kristin J said...

Most of of the houses I've lived in have had laundry chutes and my grandparents all have them too. The trick with the laundry chute is to put one thing in at a time (unless it's just underwear and socks) and listen for it to woosh and hit bottom. For large items you kind of have to feed them down gently so they don't get jammed. If you have any natural light in the basement you can also just look down and see that the chute is clear. Of course, the kids won't do this, so you need to spot check it every so often. Good luck with it.