I love baskets and I love organization. So, it comes as no surprise that I combine the two whenever possible. I don’t know why I love baskets, but I certainly do. There is just something so natural and beautiful about them. I like to prowl the aisles of Jo-Ann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby, looking for fifty percent off sales. Antique stores are also great places to buy baskets at a good price. Last summer I made a trip to a local antique store and came home with six baskets and only spent twenty dollars. Score!
I am going to share ten ways I use baskets for home organization. I would love to hear how you use baskets. Feel free to leave your creative ideas in the comments section!
#1 MAIL BASKET I don’t know how anyone lives without a mail basket. I retrieve the mail, recycle pieces that I can, discard others in the trash, and then put the “keeper” (mostly bills!) in my mail basket. Once a week, I retrieve the bills from the basket and take a few minutes to write checks and mail them out.
Okay – now here is the truth…I do put the mail in the mail basket. But I also use it as a catch all in the kitchen and the mail gets buried. Then, eventually my husband asks about some bill and I rummage through the basket to find it so he can pay it. This is how my mail basket looks right now. I received several Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for Christmas and I dropped the covers in the basket because I was too lazy to go downstairs and put them where I keep book covers (I don’t like to get them dirty – I know – weird).
#2 TOY STORAGE We have a two-story house (three if you include the basement) and two grandchildren. Just like the days when all of our kids were home, toys seem to get scattered about the house. When our grand daughters leave, it looks a little like Toys R’ Us exploded in our house. While I have a centralized toy box, it is easier to just collect the toys and keep them in a basket on each floor. This basket is in our living room under one of the coffee tables. It holds toys that my four-year-old grand daughter plays with.
#3 BABY TOYS By necessity, we keep baby toys for our eight-month-old grand daughter in a different basket. Her toys are “baby safe” and don’t get mixed up with the other toys. The basket also makes a great way to carry the toys around the house when carrying them to a play pen or wherever we might have a safe area set up for her to play. This basket is also in our living room, under the other coffee table. These toy baskets don’t add much to the decor, but it makes me happy to see these little reminders of the grand babies.
#4 SHOW OFF YOUR CANNING SKILLS I like to keep a couple jars of canned good on my counter. It is convenient, but more importantly, it looks cute. Ha! These jars are orange marmalade.
#5 SOAP STORAGE I love to use a basket to store soap. When I buy bath soap from the store I remove the wrapper and drop the soap into a basket. When the soap is on sale, I might buy six or eight bars at a time and unwrap them all and drop them into the basket that I keep on the ledge of my bathtub. It makes my bathroom smell delicious! Recently, I started buying homemade soaps from a friend of mine. Once I bought the first soap (exotically named Dragon Blood), I couldn’t go back to soap from a store. I was also inspired to display them a little more creatively!
#6 PLASTIC BAG STORAGE When we get plastic bags from stores, we store them in a basket in our laundry room until we have enough to take into town to recycle.
Once the basket is full, I take one of the bags out of the basket, stuff it with all of the other bags, and then tie the handles in a knot to make it easy to carry.
#7 MAGAZINE STORAGE This is probably one of the most common uses for baskets. Look for baskets that are large enough to hold your largest magazines. This basket is so large that it holds two magazines side by side.
#8 CUT FLOWERS During the summer, I use the basket depicted above to collect flowers. With scissors in hand, I make a daily trip to my flower beds and spend a few minutes cutting flowers to bring in the house. I often have enough to fill two or three vases (especially if the peonies are blooming). It is a wonderful way to start the morning. I don’t have a photo of the basket with cut flowers in it, so I thought I would share a photo of my flowers.
#9 CATCH ALL I bought these baskets as a way to “catch” all of the things my kids leave behind on their visits. Invariably, after a visit, we find something that one of them left behind – cell phone charger, baby toy, book, hair tie, etc. My son lives relatively close, but my daughters both live states away, so this is a great way to collect their forgotten things so they can pick them up on their next visit (unless it is a cell phone charger and we usually get stuck mailing that!).
My baskets always have an odd assortment of items. Before, these items ended up on my kitchen counter or a drawer where I would forget about them. Now, I deposit them in one of these baskets in my laundry room as soon as I find them. During the summer, these baskets also serve as a handy place for my kids to drop their car keys or cell phones when they walk in the door. Since we live on a lake, we spend a lot of time on the water where cell phones and car keys are not needed.
#10 CLOTHS FOR THE KITCHEN I use these handy cloths as an alternative to paper towels. The basket keeps the cloths handy and, of course, looks cute.
Let me know about some of the creative ways you use baskets for organization in the “comments” below!
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.
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