“ Type: Bin Storage „
I needed a linen basket that would be big enough for a family of four and which would look attractive in my bathroom. I chose this seagrass and chrome bin as the most attractive, medium priced item in the Argos catalogue, and one which looked solid enough to withstand the rigours of family life. I paid just under £20 for it.
The basket came flat-packed, and once I had removed it from the cardboard box it was a very easy job to put it together. The basket consists of six woven panels on a steel frame. Four small round steel feet are integral to the frame. The feet have small holes to the side, and each panel must be slotted into these holes, and then attached to the adjacent panel at the top, with the small screw provided, tightening at each of the four corners. The lid is already attached to the back panel and comes with an integral hinge. The whole basket was put together in less than 10 minutes, and was very light to handle.
The linen bag has two ties which attach around the hinge to the lid. It was a simple matter to tie the bag on.
Before I bought this linen bin I had never experienced seagrass used in furniture making. Seagrasses grow in shallow coastal waters, forming large meadows which can easily be harvested. They are extremely beneficial for the environment, protecting against coastal erosion and helping with the ocean's storage of carbon emissions. Seagrasses have been used historically as fertilisers, or as mattress fillings which were known as pailasse fillings in France. Today it is more often used in furniture, woven like ratten to form a decorative structure.
The coarse seagrass does look very attractive as it is woven into a pattern around the basket, in and out of thin reed struts. The colour is uniformly straw-like and there are no variations. The overall impression is modern and light. The seagrass is twisted into string-like cords, which are then woven around the thin wooden struts in a brick style pattern, clustered in groups of seven to make each panel. The top and bottom of the panelling is held in place by woven reeds, which are then taken upwards to form the struts, making the whole panel more secure.
The basket is a cuboid shape, measuring 36cm wide by 36cm deep and 58cm in height. The hinged lid rests on the edges of the basket and is also 36cm by 36cm. the bottom of the basket is also made from a woven seagrass panel. There are two handle holes in the sides of the box, so that it can easily be lifted and moved. These hand holes are rectangular 8cm by 4cm, and are fairly sturdy as the are surrounded on each of their 4 sides by chrome supports. They are a very useful feature as it would otherwise be very difficult to know how to pick up such a featureless box; there is nowhere to get a grip.
Unfortunately it also has a really pungent smell that completely put me off at first. The smell is a common complaint for seagrass furniture, and reminds me a bit of old seaweed on the beach (not surprisingly). Other people have compared it to rotting cabbages and complained that it gives them a headache. Online remedies are plentiful, from a wash mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to a simple spray with Fabreeze. My recommendation is not to panic; I found the smell disappeared relatively quickly after about a month. A year later the smell has now completely disappeared. It was very unpleasant at the time but never bad enough to make me think about throwing the bin away.
The four round feet have a rubber base which stops the basket sliding around on tiled floors. The feet sit on chrome legs which are about 3cm high and make it easy to sweep or vacuum underneath the box.
Inside the bin, a cream coloured laundry bag hangs from the chrome hinges and is folded around the lip of the basket. It is not designed to be removed easily and taken down to the washing machine - removing it involves untying the knots which is a bit fiddly, so I tend to remove the washing from the basket with the bag in situe. The bag can easily be removed for cleaning, to remove any smells or stains, but I would only do this every couple of months.
The bag is one of the big disadvantages of this bin; I found that it slipped around - off the lip and pulled down into the bin itself by the weight of clothes. It really needed another two ties to attach it to the front of the bin.
The box has an 80 litre capacity which is fine for my sporty family of four, as I have to put on a wash almost every day, and looking at a full laundry basket encourages me to do this. In terms of size it is just about perfect.
~~Durability and stability~~
It is here that the linen basket really fails. Although the woven panels have remained intact, I have found that this bin is really too wobbly and fragile to work properly as a family linen basket.
It has lasted well for the year and a half of hard use that it has been put through, but it does have stability problems. The corner screws tend to work themselves loose and need to be tightened regularly. This makes the basket more stable, but it still wobbles around a bit and certainly cannot be called robust. Several times the screws have worked themselves loose and fallen onto the floor or down into the linen bag. Luckily I was able to find them and tighten them again, but the situation is less than ideal.
The seagrass lid is not strong, and the temptation to put heavy items on it should be avoided.
The bottom is equally weak. After a year of use, I decided to invest in a stronger and bigger linen basket, relegating this one to my bedroom to store shoes. Although I realise that this box was not designed to take any weight, I was still disappointed to find that the bottom of the box collapsed and fell through when I put a few shoes inside.
I have to conclude that this was not a wise buy. Fragile, unstable, smelly - not that cheap. I would recommend looking for another design.
Being a student, I'm not the tidiest person in the world when it comes to folding my clothes neatly after I've worn them. In fact, everything usually ends up on the floor - clean or not. However, this year I have decided to turn over a new leaf with regards to my rubbish tip of a room, and am starting with the purchase of a laundry basket.
I purchased this particular laundry basket from Argos for £19.99 in store, although I am sure I have seen exactly the same one at Homebase for a similar price. In retrospect, I should probably have got it from Homebase as then I could have earned Nectar points on my purchase in store... but I digress.
This laundry basket comes flat packed in a box that is just a bit too big to comfortably carry home (as I discovered). Once I had struggled home with it, I opened the box and took out the pieces of the laundry basket to fit it all together. It was extremely easy to assemble, as the woven seagrass exterior basket and lid is all one piece and simply opens into the correct shape. The feet are already attached to the laundry basket. The second and last item in the box was the cotton cloth interior, which simply ties onto the base of the lid in two places, and folds over the top edges of the basket slightly.
It has an 80 litre capacity, which is just about ok for me (but I do have a lot of clothes and only do the washing about once or twice a week) so I think this is a reasonable size. It's 36cm in both width and depth, and 58cm in height.
Overall I'm very happy with it. It did have a very odd smell when I first put it together - must have been the seagrass - but this has now faded. Basically it does its job and wasn't too expensive!