When a friend of mine bought her first place I went back and
forth trying to decide what to buy her as a house warming gift. Since I had only seen her place in pictures
and I had no idea what her new furniture would look like or what colors she was
going to use I hesitated buying anything. Should I just send a practical yet
sometimes impersonal gift card? That seemed like I was mailing it in, literally.
After almost 30 years of friendship I wanted to send her something that she
could open and something that when
she looked at it she would think, “Oh yeah, Laurel sent me that.”
So I started thinking. Without seeing her new place (we live
3 hours apart) I had to come up with something useful, practical, and something
that everyone has in their house. Then it hit me, baskets. Of course, baskets!
Baskets can be used in any room, they go with almost any style imaginable, and
they are as functional as they are stylish and they can be out on display or
tucked away. I knew if I sent her a basket, she would use it. She had to
right? Everyone uses baskets!
If you dare open your computer and search for baskets you will
absolutely be overwhelmed with all the different sizes, styles and uses for
baskets. In today’s busy world we constantly try to find ways to keep ourselves
organized. There are even those that come into businesses or into our homes to
help us be “professionally” organized. So when I searched for a basket for my
friend I finally settled on a long thin basket that held magazines or books
that can sit on your coffee table or bed. I thought this would be practical in
keeping her living room from becoming overcrowded with books or magazines. I am
guilty of this myself and frankly I wish I bought one.
This is the exact basket that I purchased from Pottery Barn
Baskets are great for mudrooms. I use a basket to put our
shoes in. It keeps the mudroom organized and prevents us from tripping over
each other’s shoes as we kick them off coming into the house. It is also a
great way to keep dirt and sand off your floor. Every week or so I take all the
shoes out and dump the dirt and contents into the garbage. It doesn’t keep my
floor spotless but it does catch a lot of stuff that would have otherwise been
on my floor.
Baskets are also great in an entryway as seen below. Toss
hats, gloves, keys, mail, and other items you need daily access to but don’t
want to necessarily “put away” every day.
A friend of mine has a wall size media center. It is really
a series of cubbies about the width of two bookcases but only half way up. Her
TV sits on top of it. The cubbies are open, there are no drawers so she did the
next best thing for hiding all those items you don’t want or need anyone to
see. She bought baskets that fill the cubbies completely with open handles so
she can pull them out and easily get at the items inside. She keeps her movies,
media chords, games, books, etc in these baskets. She took it one step further
by alternating the color and textures of the baskets. In order to fill the
cubbies she had to buy several baskets so by alternating the color and design
of the baskets it became more of a focal point in her room verses a place where
everyone knew she was hiding stuff. Below is a similar example of this.
Although they use fewer baskets, you get the idea; it all depends on what you
want to hide.
Baskets are really great in bathrooms, mainly due to their breath-ability. They are not only useful for putting magazines or books, but on
the counter for hand towels or cosmetic items. I use numerous baskets in all my
bathrooms. It is an easy way for an otherwise cluttered room to look organized.
I’ll put just about anything in my basket on my counter, jewelry, face wash,
brushes, toothpaste, soaps, you name it, I’ll throw it into a basket. It makes
for a very quick and easy pick up. For some reason things thrown in baskets
just look neater. It is the ultimate illusion.
If you have the wall space for baskets like the ones below,
go for it. This is an excellent way of
making items accessible for your family and guests and it is particularly
useful for homes without linen closets. It also doubles as wall décor.
Practical and decorative is a win-win.
Finally we’ll head into the kitchen. Every time I open my pantry
I want to scream. In fact organizing my pantry is high on my long to-do list.
Each time I try and get ahead of organizing my pantry I feel like within 2 days
it looks exactly as it was before, and some times worse. So it all comes back
to baskets. As seen in the picture below this pantry is forever organized. How
can it not be? If each basket is labeled and you can just toss can goods and
bags of whatever into the designated bin then you will always know what you
have to eat and where it is. If you’re anything like me I find it annoying when
I go grocery shopping, buy items, and then come home to find a jar of the same
thing stuck in the back. No more! My
personal mission in the next few months is to have my pantry look like this. I
think my family will thank me too!
So if you’re anything like me and have a busy household,
keep yourself organized and looking good with baskets. I use baskets for our
firewood, dog toys, shoes, magazines, cosmetics, athletic equipment, socks
(quick tip: buy a small basket and keep it on top of your washer and dryer,
every time you get an un-matched sock, toss it in there, sooner or later the
match will show up!), and more. They make a great gift, can hide just about
anything and still look good.
Until next time, Happy Designing!