laundry drying rack with pulleys

I’m a big fan of cold winters. The colder it gets outside, the warmer and cosier it feels to be inside.

During this winter I’ve noticed another great benefit of having a small home; the house heats up instantly! Hardly any waiting required. Whilst our last flat had all sorts of modern amenities including floor heating, which is supposed to be an energy efficient and high tech way to heat a house, I honestly can’t say I ever really found it convenient. Whenever I adjusted the temperature on the main switch panel, it took ages to feel results. And although I think it’s a frowned-upon-practice, I enjoy drying the occasional hand washed item on the radiator. And there’s no feeling like reaching for that radiator-heated towel straight out the shower. Long story short: I actually like a good old radiator. I don’t find radiators ugly, I think they’re charming. And with so many designs to choose from nowadays, a radiator does no longer have to be a distracting factor in your interior.

Back to the subject of winter: as much as I love the cold, there’s one inconvenience it causes… the laundry drying conundrum so to speak. We don’t own a dryer and so I usually dry all our washing outside. This winter (and autumn at that) just happened to be one of Holland’s wettest ever. Which meant that we frequently had an annoying housemate in the form of a bulky laundry drying rack. It was everywhere, in the office, in the middle of the living room, strutting its wonky limbs, being an annoying trip hazard. Most annoyingly, it took up valuable sparse floor space. Nonetheless, I’m still in love with our small house and so I keep trying to find new ways to make the most of the space we have. A few days ago, I threw the drying rack out and decided to start a new project that would allow us to keep doing laundry regularly without the drying process being a pain in the ass.

I proudly present to you my latest project: the hoistable drying rack!


I had been looking into diy projects of pulley laundry drying systems and found that most of them had a flaw for the space I wanted to make it in as they only used one pulley hoist point per side and thus wouldn’t be able to hoist as close to the ceiling as I wanted it to. Plus, I would have to even out the weight of the laundry or it would wobble a lot from side to side. It seemed too risky to me.



laundry rack

The drying rack, as seen from downstairs

So I decided I wanted to make a drying rack with four pulleys or rings on each corner. To make it lighter to hoist up, I decided to go with a double pulley system, which means the string is attached to the ceiling, then goes down to the first pulley which is attached to the rack and fro that pulley it goes up again, to the second pulley, attached to the ceiling as well. Doing it this way, the total weight is halved, as each pulley counts for a 25% force reduction. I found a lovely Dutch online shop called  where I managed to find all the hardware I needed. Besides pulleys, ring bolts, nuts and perhaps some washers I needed keychain rings, 4 lengths of wood, a number of thin wooden rods, and string.

To make the frame I decided to use simple 4cm by 4cms and although I initially planned to use string to make the drying surface, James convinced me to use wooden rods. He said it would look nicer and you wouldn’t get the sagginess. I have to say, it does look nice, but I’m still sure some string would’ve done just fine. By the way, using string would make this project easier, since you wouldn’t have to be so accurate in your hole drilling.

I decided to make it to fit the space above our stairs, as is the perfect place to dry laundry, for three reasons:

-it’s a pretty high ceiling so, when hoisted up, laundry won’t bother us at all

-it’s an unused space

-all the hot air in the house rises up the stairs

pulley laundry rack

The string and pulley, both attached to the ceiling

drying rack pulley

I used metal angle brackets in all four corners to give the construction a bit of extra strength.

laundry hanging drying rack pulley

I painted the rack white so when tucked away, it would blend nicely into the colour of the ceiling.

IMG_3389 wasrek_3

pulley laundry hoist rack

I drilled a hole through the angle bracket and wood, put a ringed bolt and nut through and used a keychain ring to attach the pulley


An unexpected extra: when I lower the rack, I can use it to fold the laundry! Another space saving solution as I don’t have to use my desk to do it.

construction diy laundry rack

a close-up of the relatively simple construction, four lengths of wood and a number of long rods. The angle brackets were just me being a bit sloppy with my lengths, haha. I had to add them to make sure my lengths would actually join. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *