Friday, January 7, 2011

69 You Asked: Basket Case

I recently received an email from a reader, and I thought it was perfect since the question about where I get specific storage has come up quite a few times in the past:

I just have to say I found your blog through and you are amazing! I absolutely love your house! It is just adorable! I so desire to be organized! I just don't know where to start! I see you have so many cute containers to hold things and i'm sure that helps you stay organized... where to do you find your things? Are they spendy? How do I remove so much clutter? I feel like every room is just overflowing with stuff and I have such a small house. I tend to get overwhelmed and give up and just do the daily pick up and it seems that is all I have the energy for because it is so bad!
please help!
Thanks in advance

The first thing I shared when I replied to Ashley, were two links to some good start up posts.  One is focused on, "Where Do I Begin?" and the other is, "Budget Organization".

But I realized I didn't have a post on my favorite storage containers.  Gasp!

So here it is!  Are you ready for a record breaking world's longest post?!  I hope I don't get banned from blogger after this one...

You can expect to see some uber cheap {or free} ideas, and some off the wall expensive ones.  Bottom line, my philosophy has evolved on purchasing storage containers to this:

I invest in storage that I believe will last me a lifetime.  I try to choose colors such as whites, creams, espresso, clear and nickel, because I know they will remain relevant for years, and the colors are versatile enough to go from space to space if a change is ever in order.  Simple baskets, buckets and bins can easily be updated/transformed by velcro labels, chalkboard labels or decals, which all can be removed without damaging the storage itself.

So without further ado....

Baskets, baskets and more baskets: 
Baskets come in every possible shape and size.  Here are the favs I have floating around my home.

Wicker.  I pop espresso wicker baskets everywhere, to hold things such as living room pillows and blankets, to storing "stuff" and shoes in our shoe closet.

This basket itself was found in the storage isle at Target around Thanksgiving.  It actually sported two wicker handles and a liner.  I found it on clearance, so I snagged it up, and then I didn't hesitate to snip the handles off and remove the orange liner to make it work for us.  Yep, even baskets can be modified to fit your needs!

Here, I found that these Ikea baskets were the perfect size for some stackable storage shelving we installed in our bedroom closet.

We used these baskets for scarves, belts and other undergarments.  

The best thing about wicker baskets is that you can find them just about ANYWHERE!  Home improvement stores, craft stores and department stores!  Prices vary, however, I typically don't spend much more than $10-$15 on any given wicker basket.

Plastic.  What can I say, these lace baskets had me at, "HELLO!"

I found these beauties at the Container Store for $25 each, and picked up two.  It is probably the most I have ever spent on a single basket, however, I haven't regretted it or looked back since.  In fact, many of you have probably seen them all over my house in previous posts, because they absolutely make every space I put them in and are the most versatile storage I have found.

Soap Storage

Scrapbook Paper Storage

Toy Storage

Book Storage

Still in the plastic family are stackable baskets, which have handles that flip out and allow you to stack them upon one another.  Yes please!

I also used these babies in our pantry, they are perfect in there for holding breads, snacks and produce!

As you can see, just because they are boring plastic, they can still be dressed up with some hand made labels and ribbon!  And the best part is that they only cost a couple of bucks, and I can snag them from my local Target.

Plastic bins from Ikea are the perfect solution for toy storage when combined with one of their Expedit bookshelves!

In this case, size really does matter!  These bins are so much bigger than they appear, and I am always impressed with how many toys I can fit inside!  They are perfect for Duplo blocks, wooden train tracks and Little People accessories!

My last plastic basket must have, is actually more of a bin.  A shoe bin.  These babies only cost about a buck at any home improvement or department store and are SO great for sorting the smaller things.  I used a bunch in our garage for miscellaneous hardware and tools.

Yep, all that storage {again, making pretty laminated labels}, only cost me $9!

Steel.  Oh how I love me some steel baskets.  Another extremely versatile storage option, I have been known to use these all over the house!

Like for stashing my cookbooks...

Or keeping some extra paper on hand in the bath:

I found both of my wire baskets back at the common theme store, Target, in the bathroom section.  I like to check the hidden end caps for their clearance baskets, I didn't fork over more than $6 for either of these baskets!  I also love using them for extra rags/towels in a kitchen or bathroom!

I adore the look for steel buckets which are typically used for gardening, however, I think they also work great doubled as either a waste basket, cleaning caddy or bath tub toy storage!

This wire stationery station is the perfect way to keep my address book, cards, stamps and note pads all together on my desk top!

And if I ever want to move it or change my color scheme, it would be a breeze to update with some spray paint!

I am SO excited to use some locker bins I just picked up on sale.  They are going to be perfect for an upcoming project I have up my sleeves...

They are so strong that they will provide the most durable storage I have found, which is perfect for life with three boys on the roam!

Acrylic.  I just adore it because it's so pretty!  And versatile.  And light and airy.

Here, I used an acrylic caddy to corral all of my nail polish.  It can also double as makeup storage or a utensil caddy! {If you google around, I think they have cheaper identical options, like this one}

And I also used acrylic in my kitchen drawers.  This was a bold move, but I couldn't resist the impact they made!

Canvas I don't have a lot of canvas storage, but it is fantastic to be used when it comes to clothing and linen closets.  It's very durable for little ones and also great in nurseries for changing stations.  And it's typically inexpensive which is always great!

The way I took advantage of canvas is here, in which I placed a bin for each boy on a shelf in their bedroom, and use it to lay out their clothes each day!

Multi-functional storage:
I think this totally sums up my reason for hearting organizing oh so much!  You can totally take anything meant for one thing, and put it to better use as something else!  It's all about thinking outside the box as I always say.

Here are a couple of examples....

This wire basket was originally intended for toiletries and jewelry storage... I like it for holding my fruits in my kitchen:

These egg crates {which can be found here and here}, were originally intended for eggs.  I like them better for jewelry and desk accessories!

Glass cups are so wonderful for things from pens to toothbrushes {and again, can be snagged up anywhere!}

Sure, spice tins are great for spices, but why not put them to work holding small scrapbook accessories?

And you all know IHeart cheapo white vases for corralling everything from bathroom storage to art supplies to kitchen cooking utensils!

All of these were found for between $1 and $4 at Ikea!

I have also been known to repurpose a drink bin.  This one is great for adding a pretty decal and placing it on top of my washer to hold my delicate laundry:

I found that one at Target for $15.  The next one was found at Crate & Barrel outlet for $8 and is perfect for the kids to tote around their stuffed friends!

Bowls.  Bowls are wonderful for keeping together those smaller things!

I use them for keeping desk accessories at my fingertips:

And to keep my dryer balls from rolling away:

And to act as a catch all when emptying pockets before washing clothes:

Again, I love that you can find these bowls anywhere, my favorite places to look at Target, Pier 1 and Home Goods.

Free Storage:
Anything I can make at home to save some cash and organize my life at the same time, is my absolute favorite kind of storage!

Kleenex boxes are great when covered with decorative paper!  They can hold anything you want them too... I used mine for spice packets and seed packets!

Soup cans covered in pretty paper make great tool storage and pencil cups!

And extra scraps of wood, scrapbook supplies and paint can whip up an awesome window box for toiletry storage!

Many things come in pretty packaging.  If there is something that I am particularly drawn too, I reuse it to store something around the house.

This pretty cleaning wipe bin got some ribbon and now keeps extra rags corralled in the laundry room!

And now for the most asked about storage I have shown on the blog:

White filing bins.

These bins of awesomeness are meant for files, however, I have used them all over for kitchen counter storage and bathroom storage and now affixed to the wall in my desk space to hold birthday, thank you and holiday cards, along with magazines, books and notebooks.  I found them at Target back in the spring of 2010, and haven't seen anything as awesome there since, however, I have seen a similar option at CB2.

Memo Station!

This combination was found from Pottery Barn.   I know, gasp.  It was easier for me to afford back in the day when I had a great management job before I became a full time stay at home mommy!  I blogged about it here, and know that you can find equally functional and pretty versions around if you keep your eyes peeled {like at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond or other home stores}.  Or even better, you could make your own like these awesome readers did!  However, you get your hands on one, they are wonderful for stashing mail when you walk in the house and for sorting through kids school paperwork!

Pencil cup storage!

I get questions about these pencil cups almost daily!

They really do belong in any and every office space.  That's just my personal opinion though!  hee hee.

I originally blogged about these awesome containers here, but here is the lowdown.  They were found at Ikea, here is a link to the rail, a link to the hooks and a link to the white cups.

And they absolutely don't need to be limited to office spaces.  They can be found in the kitchen section in the Ikea showroom floor, which would mean to me, they are meant for kitchens!  I like them in laundry rooms also!

Here, I used the same rail, but I picked up these cheaper holders which are equally as functional!

So there you have it!  What do you think?  Helpful?  Are you on storage information overload?  If anything, hopefully your fingers got a good link clicking exercise!  It's amazing the response that could come out of such a simple question right?  What's your favorite storage solution?  Did I miss anything?


  1. Wow, every time I stop by it just makes me want to spend every waking moment organizing my life into containers :)

  2. I use baskets, buckets and whatever else I can get my hands on for organizing!!!

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  4. Thank you so much for this post! It is great to have one post to come to to find all your awesome containers! I agree with the previous inspire me to want to organize my whole house into containers. I am working on space at a time.

    The one problem I have is that there is no Ikea close to me! =(

  5. This was such a fun post! I love how organized your home is. You really are an inspiration!!!!

  6. I have the asker cups... but now I need gorgeous lace bins!!! Those are just so pretty.

    You have fabulous taste. I can't say it enough =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  7. This is the post I have been waiting for all my life! Love it Jen, thanks so much for the inspiration. I am off to cover an old soup can with scrapbooking paper right now!

  8. All such wonderful, useful and durable solutions. You definitely rock when it comes to organizing!

  9. I love those white baskets from the Container Store...I've spotted them a couple of times and have been very tempted to bring them home!

  10. This just inspired me to finish cleaning and organizing my house. Again.

    I had a revelation the other day after stumbling across your blog the first time: I didn't have to use items made for a task to get the task done. Case in point, I didn't need to use a silverware organizer for my silverware. I could cut down some boxes that were the right shape and actually fit everything in the drawer instead of only half the stuff in half the space.

    It was a real "D'oh!" moment for me. Since then, I've been wandering around the house placing things in interesting spots to catch the junk before it hits the floor.

  11. This was great! I loved seeing all the possibilities in one place. I definitely feel the urge to containerize more of my stuff!!!

  12. Ok, please come organize my house! You are so creative. What did you put on the plastic IKEA bins that you have toys in? It looks like it may be a flower decal or something. Is this something you made? Details please:)

  13. Love all the great ideas! It inspires me to get the house in order. I use those cups (the last ones pictured) and the bar in my kid's playroom to hold crayons, markers, etc. They love the fact that they can take them down and carry them around the house.

  14. As creepy as this may sound...I LOVE YOU! I am a little crazy you :D. This is fun to have new ideas. I LOVE organizing and cleaning. How fun is this blog.

  15. I want the lace baskets! I looked on and I can't find them. Is that the right site?? My poor husband told me I can't look at any more home organizing or remodeling websites. He's tired of my projects. Haha!!! You have inspired me!

  16. These are all such great idea. I can't wait to try some at my house!

  17. I love baskets, boxes and paper holders. I have one from my teaching job where I can organize things by color and name of the week. Red was math, blue & green was social studies or science and yellow was for language arts. Then it has 5 shelves for the days of the week. I put all the papers needed for that day's lesson. then I'd leave a note for the substitute teacher.

    Now I have the yellow one in my office area and I'm thinking of spray painting it cause my room is mostly pink and white. lol

    When I saw the boy's initials P,B & J it make me think of peanut butter and jelly lol. I'm sure it wasn't planned that way and I know the have very good names. It's just funny how our brains think. lol


  18. Love the post, but garden steaks? Unless you are having an outdoor barbeque- it's stakes ;)

  19. Love this post!! Thanks!! It must of took a lot of time to post all that.

  20. Jen I just love all your storage options!! All are sooo pretty! I especially like the PB teen baskets!!!!

  21. Wow! I want to be you when I grow up!

  22. Thanks for this post, Jen! Super helpful and very fun. It's nice to know that organizing/storage doesn't have to be blah and boring. You make it so fun and exciting!

  23. Loved this post! Will probably refer to it often. Two items I'd still like to know where you purchased. 1) the little chalkboards you use for labeling. 2) Under "before and afters" you show a bathroom shelf with towel bar, would love to know where you purchased that as well.

  24. LOVE this post!! I have really enjoyed reading your blog! I just awarded you the stylish blogger award. If you are interested in keeping it going just visit my blog for details!

  25. Anonymous, I am an awful speller, I am sure that is frequently evident here on the blog... my husband and I have had many laughs over the lawn "STEAKS" label, and decided it wasn't worth switching out! :)

  26. Hi Erin!

    The chalk board labels were from Pottery Barn Kids, here is a link:

    And the bathroom shelf was actually from Home Decorators, however, they have since discontinued it. You could still check them out for similar options however.


  27. Yep, you should keep it as steaks, very funny!

  28. Thanks Jen!

    I'm so bummed the bathroom shelf is discontinued. I have looked EVERYWHERE for a (wooden) shelf with a towel bar and cannot find one anywhere, but when I was browsing the other night and saw the picture of yours I thought there was hope! I'll keep hunting!

  29. Fabulous post! Where did you get those wire baskets that hold your cookbooks and bath toys?

  30. WOW!! I fould you through Blog Frog and all I can say is I need a few hours to go through your site! Just from this post, I envy you!!! I need to organize my life!!! YAY so excited!!

  31. Hi S.J.

    I found both of my wire baskets back at the common Target, in the bathroom section. I like to check the hidden end caps for their clearance baskets, I didn't fork over more than $6 for either of these baskets!


  32. Now I totally want to go shopping at The Container Store. I can't wait until our floors are done and I get to redo my office. That rail and cup idea? Brilliant. Super excited.

  33. This post was just perfect!!! Thank you for summing it all up here with links. I had forgot about using soup cans!

  34. I just found your blog and it is going to be my new organizing bible.
    We are getting close to moving into our new house and our family motto for the new year is "Get Organized".
    You have so many great ideas. We don't have PB in Australia unfortunatley but I'm sure I can find some great things to use.
    Thanks for sharing

  35. Guess what I found!

    A cheaper solution to your pottery barn wall organization system. It's not exactly the same but it has a lot of the same features.

    Woo Hoo! I'm going to order mine soon. Maybe put white vinyl art on it....ohhhhhh.

  36. You are my hero. I, too, love all things container. Where have you been all my life!

  37. Jen,

    I LOVE your white baskets from container store... but they are discontinued. :( I got the black ones that were in the clearance isle for $11 each, so trying to figure out how i can use them in my home. There are some websites that have the white but a little more pricy than cs. You use them so wisely in your decor. Very cute! BTW, LOVe the new background.

  38. I have seen the Ikea pencil holders several places and picked some up when I was there last. I have yet to figure out where I will use them.... but I'm working on a whole house over haul.. so I'm not worried.
    My other favorite is the Pottery Barn organizer. I have loved this for some time! Maybe some day for me. Peter Walsh as one very similar that is more in my price range at Office Max.
    I found your link on Thrifty Decor Chick. I'd love for you to stop by and link this up for my readers on my Organizing Mission link party.

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  40. Yep - I am an awful speller, I am sure that is frequently evident here on the blog... my husband and I have had many laughs over the lawn "STEAKS" label, and decided it wasn't worth switching out! :)

  41. I heart your site!!!!!!

  42. You sure make me feel a lot better about my basket addiction! These are great!!

  43. I love all of your organization ideas! Thanks!
    What font did you use for the Snacks basket? I "heart" the colorful font!

  44. @Ms. Morales: The font is Times New Roman and I just manually switched out the color of each letter. I use Microsoft Excel to make all of my labels.



  45. You have given me so many wonderful ideas. Thank you so much!

    Ashley DeMazza
    Falls Village, CT

  46. Great ideas! One thing I've learned is that any set of baskets/bins looks better when they all match. Even the $1 plastic "shoe boxes" from Dollar Tree look nice when they're all stacked.

    I have found some really affordable bins at Dollar General. Also their wicker baskets are cheap - they always come with ugly liners but I just take those out!

  47. absolutely LOVE all of your choices Jen! And I might just be head over heels for the white patterned baskets from the Container Store, and I just can't get enough of that two-teared basket that you put your fruit in!!!

  48. To say I love your blog is an understatement!! Thank you for inspiring me every time I visit!! I am wondering if you can recall where you purchased the 'Stuff' basket in the first pic? I have been searching for some that exact shape and size to put on the steps labeled with my boys names so they can be responsible for bringing their items up to their room.

  49. @Tara - That I believe was a PB Kids find. But check Michaels or HomeGoods?

  50. Thanks Jen, I will check PBK! Haven't had luck at the others.

  51. Wow - love this post so much! I need to get more baskets and storage places around the house so things don't pile up.

    I just found your site and I'm your newest follower!!

  52. Hi Jen. I just featured your post today over at Scribbles and Swirls and am your newest follower. Love all of your ideas. Please take a look
    I hope you will follow me as well.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. I am so HAPPY that I found your blog. I need to go to bed but can't stop reading about all your great organizational ideas. I am in the process of planning a closet office. Love the shoe rack idea for storing your printer and other electronic gadgets. Thanks for being so generous with your ideas and your free downloads.

  54. Hi Jen,
    I love what you used to organize scrapbook paper, etc. Are they file bins just mounted to the wall? Love the design too. Must find... thank you!

    Photo is below: "Sure, spice tins are great for spices, but why not put them to work holding small scrapbook accessories?"

  55. @Chelsea,
    The bins are meant for files, however, I have used them all over for kitchen counter storage and bathroom storage and now affixed to the wall in my desk space to hold birthday, thank you and holiday cards, along with magazines, books and notebooks. I found them at Target back in the spring of 2010, and haven't seen anything as awesome there since, however, I have seen a similar option at CB2.


  56. I use baskets, buckets and whatever else I can get my hands on for organizing!!!

  57. omg... I just lost an hour of my life reading and swooning over your blog. Now I didn't get anything done. LOL! New to this but love love all your ideas. I want to get the towel bar and last hanging cups at the end for my son's very small bathroom. I've got the ikea website up on another tab :) and the mail station BB&B only has 2 pieces left to choose. I'm hoping once the 'back to college/school' comes around this summer they'll come back. I'm heading to Target next (well tomorrow anyway) thanks for taking the time.

  58. Love all the baskets but where do you get all those beautiful labels??

    1. I am a DIY labeler and make all my own! :)


    2. I just saved your blog to my favorites :) I am a military wife with 5 kiddos and everytime we move I have to try and make the new house fit our needs. Believe it or not I have never had a Command Center in the home and that is what led me here. I just love your ideas! Thanks :)

  59. This is awesome! I am a basket junkie but I realize now that I just need to assign them to something specific so that they don't end up catching everything random. Thank you for posting this! I'm inspired. :) And you're awesome - keep up the good work super mommy! I totally admire a woman who walked away from a good career to be at home with her kids. I did the same. **Patting you on the back**

  60. Hi Jen,

    I stumbled upon your blog today while searching Pinterest for desk organizational ideas....and I'm so glad it did! I had a quick you happen to remember where you got the white lamp from one of the photos above (with the egg crates)? I have been searching for a lamp like that but haven't been able to find the perfect one! Also, love the acrylic caddy for nail polish...i need one of those! ;). Thanks!

    1. Hi Kimberly!

      That lamp is from Pottery Barn:|lamp|81|best|0|viewall|24||70&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Lamps-_-

      However, I have seen similar, less expensive options at HomeGoods.


    2. That's awesome...thanks Jen! Funny enough, I had already pinned those same lamps on my Pinterest but I wasn't completely sold on them. Seeing them in use has really changed my mind - love them!

      I'm in Canada so no HomeGoods sadly! :s

      Have a great day! :)

  61. What did you use to hang the file baskets in the office?

    1. Hi Christa!

      We used washers to reinforce the nails against the wall. :)


  62. Hi Jen,

    Love your blog! I have always loved baskets, bins and any lovely boxes that can contain and hide the clutter that comes along with life. In fact, it's a joke between my husband and I that, whenever I go shopping, I come back with more baskets!

    Where did you find your velcro/chalkboard labels? I have many wiker baskets that I am unsure how to fixate a label to...



  63. These are great ideas, the possibilities for baskets are truly endless! I actually found a website with great baskets in all sizes and I thought I would share it.



  64. I adore those white lace baskets and I didn't realise they were plastic! Stunning


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