I am the (proud?) owner of four laundry baskets.
One of these laundry baskets is at least 10 years old. It’s made of a plastic that…well…let’s just say it’s the Titanium of Plastics. It has under its belt 10 years of regular use (minimum: 3 loads of laundry a week). It has not bent. It has not cracked. It has not failed.
One of the baskets I purchased upon a relatively recent move – about a year and a half ago. One of the handles cracked and eventually came completely off. I use it no longer.
The other two are of identical make and model to the latter, purchased shortly after the failure of the original…perhaps in the hopes that it was some one-off manufacturing defect, or more likely because “it was at Target, it was cheap, and I needed a basket”. Their handles are cracked, they bend, and they are falling apart.
I could paint you a picture about the needs of apartment living, a scene in which in-home/in-unit washer-dryer is a thing of the past. A Saturday morning landscape with a hallway and a flight of stairs so narrow I trade knuckle-skin for clean clothes. I could talk about how sometimes my 2-year-old wants to come with me and happy to oblige I haul both her and a perilously-balanced and cheaply-made disintegrating piece of shit down that path.
But I needn’t.
My needs are modest, my requirements few. I just want a coupla laundry baskets that do not suck the peen.
So I turned to the Interwebitubes. Typically my savior in similar cases, Amazon has failed me in this. I started off with searching for “laundry basket” and eventually went so far as to look for the specific make and model of The One True Basket which I still possess. (Yes, the label is still legible after all this time – I guess In My Day they made things to last.) The brand still exists, the specific model does not.
Here’s the funny thing: pretty much everything I looked at had a rating of 3-or-4 stars – the expected meh distribution for something like a laundry basket. The hidden treasure is in the one-star ratings; almost to a man: “OMG the handles are cracking and falling off and/or it’s a bendy piece of shit.”
I enlisted my wife into The Hunt. She came up with some Ikea stuff that wasn’t bad…but too small. If you’re not bringing at least close to 2 bushels (~18 gallons, ~2.4 cubic feet) then you’re not even on my radar. She also found some new-fangled folding cloth jobby that seemed kinda sweet. By all appearances it was being marketed online by some Kickstarter-y Bay Area startup. “Item Currently Unavailable”. Imagine that.
At any rate, the motto would seem to be “Build a cheaper mousetrap and you’ll probably make a fuckload of money.” Well…I’m not looking for cheaper. I’ll beat a path to your door if you make me a better laundry basket.