The Organized Home with Kids: Why Baskets Rock

Published on Author Super Mom Hacks2 Comments
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As I mentioned in a recent post, I adore baskets. Baskets were a part of my life before I became a mom, but in retrospect, I think my pre-parenthood self was only scratching the surface of their full potential.

While I love an organized home, getting mine to that state is a constant, ongoing work-in-progress. Enter baskets. For those of you who haven’t fully unlocked their secrets yet, here are a few of mine:

Baskets can contain, sort, and separate.

The baskets near my downstairs changing table include an easily-washable plastic one for dirty clothes.
The baskets near my downstairs changing table include an easily-washable plastic one for dirty clothes.
  • Our downstairs changing table is surrounded by an assortment of baskets: clean diapers, wipes/creams/spare diaper covers, spare play-clothes, clothes half-worn and not yet ready for the laundry, dirty clothes that need washing, socks, and tights.
  • My sewing area has baskets for mending supplies and projects, crafting supplies and projects, and sewing projects-in-progress.
  • My guest bathroom (a.k.a. our laundry room) has baskets to hold facecloths and an assortment of travel-sized toiletries.
  • The kids’ bath has a toilet-top basket to corral reading materials and spare undies, and a metal basket on the floor next to the tub to keep their various shampoos, conditioners, and body washes handy yet contained.
  • In the master bath, which doesn’t have a medicine cabinet or linen closet, countertop baskets keep toiletry supplies nearby and neat, and a basket next to the toilet holds spare toilet paper.

Baskets can hide and store.

  • Our kitchen hutch, which is only steps from the kitchen table and the first-floor bath, used to keep baskets of clean baby bibs and post-meal washcloths at our fingertips. As our girls have grown, the basket of bibs has morphed into a basket of crayons and colored pencils.
  • Since I often find myself doing paperwork at the kitchen table, I like to keep a stash of office supplies (pens, stapler, letter-opener) at my fingertips – but don’t like them to disappear into the hands, and subsequently the secret hiding places, of my curious offspring. I’ve found a deep-sided basket that keeps my stash accessible to me, but out of the sight (and minds) of my kiddos.
  • I love to crochet, but don’t particularly enjoy untangling yarn after my dear daughters have gotten into it. As a result, I’ve hidden various caches of yarn, squirrel-like, in baskets scattered around our living room and my craft area (which doubles as the girls’ basement play space).
Baskets don't have to be all matchy-matchy, all the time, as my amazing sister-in-law Alicia has demonstrated in this superb bathroom collection.  This assortment of baskets in her tiny apartment's bathroom works so well as a linen-closet-out-in-the-open precisely because each basket is unique.
Baskets don’t have to be all matchy-matchy, all the time, as my amazing sister-in-law Alicia has demonstrated in this superb bathroom collection. This assortment of baskets in her tiny apartment’s bathroom works so well as a linen-closet-out-in-the-open precisely because each basket is unique.

Baskets can keep things close at hand.

  • My car has baskets in the backseat to keep the girls’ toys contained but within reach, and others keep spare hats/sunglasses/shoes and blankets/coats handy. On road trips, the front seat holds a basket with snack items and extra water bottles; on a day-to-day around-town basis, a basket serves as a catchall for stuff I need to return and small items I’ve purchased.
  • A small handled basket, hung from a magnetized hook on the back of our kitchen door, holds outgoing mail in the winter, and keeps sunblock and bug repellent at the ready in summer.
  • On the wall of our kitchen near the door, I’ve hung small mesh baskets to store things we’re often hunting for in a hurry on our way out in the morning, such as the girls’ hair ties, socks, sunglasses, hats, and gloves.

Baskets can give you an extra hand or two.

  • When I’m cleaning house or picking up, I often use a large basket to collect items that belong in another room, or on a different floor. This saves me trips up and down the stairs, and helps me bring more stuff in one trip than if I had to carry it in my hands.
  • As I mentioned above, I also use baskets for getting little things in and out of the car around a day of errands: those empty printer cartridges I need to recycle, the store flyer with coupons I plan to use, my refilled water bottle, etc.
  • And of course, my favorite mom basket of all time is the Outdoor Basket we use for a morning out playing in the front yard, an afternoon on the back deck by our inflatable pool, or a walk to our neighborhood park.
Just a few of my recent secondhand basket finds, ranging in price from $0.97 to $2.50.
Just a few of my recent secondhand basket finds, ranging in price from $0.97 to $2.50.

While you can always splurge on matching baskets if you really need a certain size or color for a particular space (and even then, I recommend off-price locations like TJMaxx or HomeGoods over Pottery Barn, if you’re doing this on a budget), I’ve acquired most of my baskets at yard sales and thrift stores, where you can easily find baskets for as much as $5 or as little as 50 cents. (Just be sure to look them over carefully before you buy, to make sure they’re structurally sound.) You can also find great sales on handled baskets in the weeks after Easter, and on baskets for shelves (and storage containers more generally) in January.

Happy Basketing!

 

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