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Thread: How to do laundry when machines are in the basement

  1. #1

    How to do laundry when machines are in the basement

    I am not sure if this is the proper place for this question, but I cannot find another category for it.

    I have TM and have recently it has gotten worse and now I am have a lot of trouble with walking. I live in a 1-story ranch house, about 975 sq. ft. so it is okay getting around in the house, although sometimes I need to hang onto walls and furniture to walk. I cannot lift my left foot high enough to clear a step and that leg will not bear my weight. My right leg is also weak, but today at least I am able to lift it high enough to put on the next step and then can pull myself up using my arms on the handrails. Not real safe!

    My big problem right now is laundry. The machines are in the basement. I am a single mother with a 12 year old who is blind/autistic/developmentally delayed. She is willing to learn how to operate the machines, but I predict it will take a year or more for her to become independent with this job (I will still need to do the sorting until she is older).

    To teach this skill I need to be able to go up and down the stairs. Also, we need clean laundry immediately. I need some ideas how to navigate the stairs.

    I need my arms to go up and down. I have figured out how to get the laundry into the basement (gravity, but getting the clean laundry back up is a huge problem, since I cannot carry very much at a time and very limited on the amount of trips I can make since it is so taxing to do a staircase.

    I do not have any help. I am on my own. So I need to find a way to remain independent with this job.

    I plan to write a grant to have a stacking washer-dryer installed on the main level of the house, but this could take up to a year and a half, if I get funded.

    Thank you for any suggestions! We need clean clothes to wear tomorrow!

  2. #2
    I installed a stair lift in my Dad's house a couple of years ago - he's now 99, and the woman who helps him is in her upper 80s and can't carry food, etc. upstairs to him any more. My brother and I installed it pretty easily; the total cost was under $1500. The lift has a basket to carry things in. If your basement stairs are not in a single, straight run then it's more difficult and expensive.
    For a really cheap - and extremely inelegant - way to get laundry upstairs, how about putting it in a basket or box, preferably with a top, and pulling it up with a cord?

  3. #3
    As I was reading your post my first thought was a stackable washer and dryer.
    Somehow you have got to get one sooner so you don't hurt yourself.
    Besides the grant is there anyone/anyplace else you could appeal to this for?

  4. #4
    Had not thought of using a cord to pull the laundry up the stairs. It's an interesting idea if I can figure out how to implement it.

    I don't know if there are any sources for money for either a lift or to get the stackable washer-dryer other than this grant. I am not aware of any, but that does not mean they don't exist.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Someplace between Nowhere and Goodbye
    Cheapest way would be to run the plumbing up to the ground floor, if you have the room for a w/d up there. I did this. I was able to go straight up from the basement washer hookup to a spare bedroom. A friend with handyman skills could do it for you pretty cheap. Good luck.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    As far as the cord, keep in mind that a pulley system, would lessen the amount of effort you would have to put in. If you could get someone to help you lay an narrow strip of plywood in the stairs (so that you would have a slide sort of thing on one side of the stairs, and then the regular stairs on the other)

    Put the bin /basket/whatever on the slide, walk upstairs, and then pull the basket up.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Fithian, IL
    Have you looked into a portable washing machine? If you do a search online they make portable washers and dryers. They are small but I think they would be helpful in your situation. I know you can find some on ebay as well.

  8. #8
    A strip of plywood would make it easier, but I'd be afraid the daughter might trip on it.

  9. #9
    Wow! You all are creative and giving me lots of ideas and options I never thought of. This is great! I am feeling some hope now.

    I got myself downstairs and managed to take 2 loads with me. One in a garbage back I tossed down, and the other in a tall hamper I bumped down the stairs behind me. I stayed down there and folded 2 clean loads that were sitting around in baskets while I waited for my load to wash and dry. I was then worn out and limping really badly. Could not wait for second load to dry. The first load was still kind of damp. I folded some pants for my daughter to wear this week, and outfit for tomorrow for myself, and brought this up in one arm. I hung up a sweatshirt that still had some damp spots. Limped up the stairs, and I am done for the rest of the day.

    So now I have 2 baskets folded downstairs I need to somehow get upstairs. I also have a lot of bed linens I have washed, but my arms are too tired to fold. And no telling when they will get up here. And then there is the load in the dryer. Whew!

    I have a feeling if I hang around this board, though, I will be able to overcome this situation! Thank you all!

  10. #10
    As far as the plywood strip, my daughter would learn quickly where it was and she would not trip. But, she would experiment with various ways to slide down it. Which might not be a bad thing if it were safe. We'd be the only house on the block with a sliding board to the basement. Handy if I needed to get down there fast, say maybe during tornado season! lol
    Last edited by SunnyDaisy; 01-23-2011 at 05:24 PM.

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