Housekeeping realization: put your toiletries in baskets to keep your bathroom organized

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Adorable pastel rainbow basket by LoveIndiLou

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have things figured out? Or maybe you ARE one of those people and sometimes the rest of us make you go, “What is WRONG with you? This is so EASY.”

I ask because my housemate Darby and I — we’re very similar — seem to be constantly figuring out really simple things, like what people use baskets for. Sometimes we feel like our brains just don’t work, especially when it comes to putting things away.

Because of this, we admire our friend Dani’s organization. Darby once told me she sometimes stands in Dani’s bathroom, marveling at how tidy it all is. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

She was searching for the difference between her own bathroom’s disaster state and Dani’s crazy neatness when Dani told her, “Darby. You can do that, too. Just buy some baskets.”

Darby’s mind exploded.

BASKETS!! Why didn’t I think of that!

And my confession is: I’d had the same conversation with Dani.

So now this is household shorthand. When Darby and I have a stupid-simple lifehack (“Use CONTAINERS to CONTAIN things!” “If you PICK UP SHIT then things WON’T BE MESSY!”) we say it’s a Baskets Moment.

As in, “….Oh, baskets!” It’s made my life lots easier to be able to share Baskets Moment with her — but think how much more I could learn with the whole Internet telling me what I should already know!

I know there are people out there who understood what I meant when I said I was long confused by how my shove-everything-in-the-cupboards style didn’t compare to Dani’s Container Store showroom — so this is the place to write up the dirt-simple realizations you’ve had about keeping house. We’ll be so much smarter after this!

What are YOUR Basket Moment realizations?

Comments on Housekeeping realization: put your toiletries in baskets to keep your bathroom organized

  1. Another derp household helper: those suction cup things which hold a sponge to the side of your sink and let it dry, rather than let the sponge rot in the bottom of the sink or make a mess on the counter space. I knew the existed but for some reason didn’t believe how much nicer one would make my daily dish-washing experience.

  2. This makes me really rethink my floor-robe system … I am just not an organised person at all. However, one of my favourite things I figured out at school was instead of jamming pins into all my finished drawings/paintings, I used a pin to hold up a bulldog clip and clip anything to those. That was mostly due to my love of wholly unnecessary stationery, however (I am *that* person with 264 pens in my bag, but can never find my keys…). Such a derp over here.

  3. Over the door shoe holders- I have two in my room hanging on the wall for shoes. My boys share one hanging on their door for shoes. I have one in the front closet hanging on the door for hats, gloves, umbrellas, scarves, etc. I have one hanging on the door in the bathroom that holds hair stuffs, jewelry cleaner, etc.

    Also, coat racks, I have one that holds all my purses and am getting another to hold all my scarves.

  4. Trays! Oh my gosh, trays. They’re magical.

    I have one on my dresser, one on each coffee table and one on the small table by the door. It collects all those little knickknacks like leashes, spare keys, lighters, postage stamps, highlighters, sunglasses, hair ties, sunscreen, magazines, hand sanitizer, etc. Our house used to be overrun with all these little things that, though frequently used, didn’t really have a “place”.

    The new rule is, if it doesn’t fit in the tray, put it away. Or, ya know, clean the tray out.

  5. I was basically raised to be a packrat and a a slob, but to be horribly ashamed about it. As an adult, I’m working on both sides of this issue. Trying to keep less stuff, organize, etc, and also trying to feel less shame about my not-perfect home. When my now-husband moved in with me years ago, my mantra was “we find a place for it, or we get rid of it”. Unfortunately, we have a basement that we don’t use for anything but laundry – so it became the place for all the things without a home. Old schoolwork, random old furniture and lamps, assorted car parts, broken stuff that Hubby says he’ll fix one day, holiday ornaments which haven’t been looked at in years… You name it. This winter, our project is to reclaim the basement. I am both excited and terrified.

  6. Sort of seconding the over the door shoe holders (which are utter crap at holding shoes, but really good for storing misc. wires, craft supplies, jewelry, hair things, notes etc).
    I lived in an apartment with very a small floor space but THREE closets with rods. I have the hanging shoe BOX (box is important here, the regular shoes one is not quite big enough) and I keep lidless shoe boxes that I decorated with paper to keep socks, underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, shorts etc. I just stopped using a dresser because it got to where the drawers were all to big and contained too much stuff.

    *edit* p.s. My dorm roommate and I went crazy with containers and we would say to each other, in very dramatic voices “Containers CONTAIN things!”. We had this magic moment in the aisle at target after a month of searching through piles on the ground. I’m a little addicted. I have containers underneath AND on top of the coffee table.

  7. We have two filing cabinets in our office/sewing room. Before my husband got them, I argued that they were expensive and we wouldn’t really use them. He proved me wrong on both accounts. He got them used at a college surplus store for around $20 a piece. We each have a drawer for paperwork like bills, pay stubs, receipts, bank statements, etc. Which in itself is much better than my old filing method – everything in a box. But then we started using other drawers for excess crap we had around the office. Cables and electrical cords – which take up about 3 drawers alone, fabric, candles – I used to work at a candle company so I have a LOT of candles, and more fabric because I buy fabric at the same rate my husband buys cables.

    • No, containers for containers is awesome. It’s like a computer filing system, where you have 10 layers of files for organizing… (Am I just a computer organizing nerd? No file is ever out of place on my computer, but I can’t find the couch right now.) I like containers on shelves (Especially on cubed shelves. I mean one of those square shelving units divided into further squares.)

  8. I had a “baskets” moment just this past Sunday: I make muffins every Sunday for breakfast, and consequently find myself huffing and puffing over my stand mixer Monday mornings trying to get all the dried batter off. Well, last Sunday, once I put the muffins in the oven I grabbed the rag in my hand and cleaned it right away, realizing that the 20 minutes I had to wait for baking could be used for something more productive than rolling a joint or setting up my Netflix queue, or facebooking, or whatever time waste I usually do while I wait for muffins to bake. I was so frigging proud of myself that I called out to my husband “Look Tom! I’m CLEANING as I GO!” Seriously took like, 3 minutes to make my kitchen look sparkly, unlike the flour massacre that Sunday usually is.

  9. I’ve recently decided to start safety pinning lingerie sets together,especially the ones I don’t wear out. I’ve collected a lot and this way I’m not stumbling through my drawers when the mood strikes and there’s a big pile of lace and ribbons and all I can think about is ‘I know I bought undies that match this bra!’. Kinda kills the mood a bit…

  10. I’m addicted to those cubes from Target, the fabric ones that come in all colours. I litterly use them everywhere.
    In my kitchen, they all hold things based on use. IE- the purple one has my baking stuff, the blue has condiments, the green holds pasta, ect. It makes it easy when my man goes “Hon, where’s the….” and I Can tell him which colour to look in.
    In the bathroom, I use three of them- one for face cloths, one for “special” bath stuff (bubble baths, fancy soaps, bath salts, things i dont want on the bathtub), and one sits on top of my toilet, sideways, holding mags and bath books, like a mini library.
    We use them in the bedroom on the top shelve of our closet to hold scarves, and ties, under our bed to hold our toys, and on top of our dresser to hold things that end up there that need to be taken out. We empty that one once a week.
    Also used to hold remotes, video games, tv guides (my mans old fashioned haha), mags, books and cat toys in the living room. And in the laundry room, we use two as our “Sock” cubes. Our cat will take any and every sock he finds and drag them around the house and play with them and bite holes and the like, so we never end up washing socks with their mates. When socks come out of the dryer, they go right into the red cube. After the load is done, someone takes a few minutes, and sorts through the left over socks, and matches them up. They get put in the other cube once matched.

    Sorry for my long comment, I just really love my cubes

    • i love those cubes too! i use them everywhere for everything! did you know they make mini ones now too??

  11. My partner and I just moved into a small house which is way larger than anything we have ever lived in, so it has been really weird to have almost TOO much space for our things. Our bathroom is four times the size of our old one (thanks, Brooklyn!) but has no linen closet. I used to keep our towels under the bed in an ikea zip top storage thing, but instead i moved an old, wide bedside table in there next to our toilet that has one drawer and a big open space under it. the drawer holds the little hand towels, wash cloths etc., and underneath is big towels. for my hair stuff, i bought three jars from ikea (in the kitchen section) with tops. two little, one big. in each of the little ones, bobby pins and hair ties. in the big one, fancy hair clips, feather clips, etc. next to the sink is drawer and shelf table from home goods. on top is a bamboo-esque square container meant for files/photos with my day to day stuff- baby oil, baby powder, hair products, contacts and solution, deodorant. in the drawer is brushes/combs, under the shelf is heat tools, then under that is nail polishes/ nail stuff in a clear travel bag, and various beauty sundries. i also love the ikea drawer organizers, so that i have a space for my rolled belts separate from my headbands.
    I LOVE ORGANIZATION. i have so much HABA and clothing i’d be lost without it.

    • i also organize my closet my type of clothing, sleeve length, and color. It makes getting dressed SO MUCH EASIER. I wish I had room to hang all of my clothes.

  12. My mom actually helped me come up with a brilliant idea for storing those little round cotton pads that you use for toner and make up remover. We found these little glass jars with those easy to take off lids (just wire springs and held on with a hinge – similar to this http://images.bizrate.com/resize?sq=140&uid=2497629762) that were the exact size of the cotton pads so I just store them in there and it looks neat and tidy and I bought two more jars the same size to keep q-tips and bobby pins in. It has a nice vintage look to it and then a few months later I saw the same idea in a Restoration Hardware Catalogue! I also don’t have a dresser yet but tons of closet space and we even have some shelves in the closet so for my socks and undies I just keep them neatly folded up in my Doc Martens boots box. It’s big enough to hold quite a few pairs of socks and lots of underwear and it fits perfectly on the shelf. This way I don’t have socks and underwear hanging out all over the place and when I need some I can just reach into the box – it’s got a hinged lid too so it’s very handy. Some day I’ll get a proper dresser I’m sure but I’m more than happy with this for now, it works!

  13. So I am constantly taking my jewelry off, at my desk, in the kitchen, before I go to bed, and in teh bathroom. I’ve always been like this, I don’t know why.

    This means I’m always losing one earring, or hunting for my wedding ring in one of the 5-6 places I “always” leave it.

    So now, I have a dish for jewelry in the kitchen, and one on my bedside table, and antique brass paper tack ( the kind you impale papers on) for my rings on my desk.

    This has improved my life immensely. I’ve almost completely stopped losing jewelry, and my husband is no longer mad at me for constantly misplacing my wedding ring.

  14. i have little antique breadpans that i use in my kitchen cabinets. they’re perfect for the oddball spices that won’t fit in a spicerack and i have one for packets. They were my Mom’s and I’m so happy to have a purpose for them, they’re too old to use for cooking.

  15. My Simplest “Basket Moments” for problem areas in our home:

    * Keys and sunglasses on a hook by the door
    * Dog leashes and dog clothes in a designated spot at all times
    * Dog toy bins on the floor in several rooms (low enough for both dogs to access)
    * Storage ottomans in all public spaces in the home – great for Instantly Organizing clutter, and they double as Lost and Founds for when I or my husband leaves our stuff out. This is a great solution for people who are just Cluttery By Nature.
    * Paper shredder under a tiny table by the mail slot in the wall; junk mail can go directly from the mailbox straight to the shredder.
    *Buying 3 laundry baskets in addition to our hamper in the bedroom:1 for carrying (laundry, or clutter throughout the house that needs to be put away), 1 for clean clothes that need to be put away, 1 for buildup when it really gets away from us!

  16. Ok so heres one my mom figured out. You know those over the door plastic shoe racks? She put all of her makeup and toiletries that would usually be on her bathroom counter into this shoe rack! It blew my mind. If only my shoe rack didn’t have shoes in it!

  17. Baskets totally transformed our bathroom closet recently!

    http://newlittleoldhouse.tumblr.com/post/13094200495/10-73-well-spent

    Also, one of our other cheap-but-loved organizational systems is this key box:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/48-hook-key-box-3271.html

    We have a ridiculous quantity of keys and they were alllways getting lost and disorganized. This cabinet (mounted out of sight) makes all the difference. It’s amazing how quickly we establish good habits when we have the tools that actually work for us.

  18. I love those little shoebox size plastic boxes from Target (and other places, I’m sure). I use them to store underwear, socks, bras, (We don’t have a dresser, just boxes under the bed, due to lack of space for a dresser. It works well). I also use them for thread, quilt scraps, tissue paper (the wrapping kind), office supplies, art supplies, etc. Corralling things by type of thing (ie. thread) is so helpful. I can stack them on the shelves, they are see-through so I know which one is which, and they have lids, which helps control the clutter.

  19. Two tricks:

    I hate how rolls of quarters just fall apart once they’re opened, but when you need metered parking you just need lots of quarters on hand. I keep them in an old pill bottle now–they are the perfect size to hold quarters and they have a lid. So easy.

    Also, those storage ottomans are the bomb for holding blankets, yoga gear, etc! Some come with reversible tops so you can either rest your feet on the comfy side or rest your plate of food on the sturdy side. SO convenient.

    • Also airborne containers. Exact size-just cut the stupid plastic spring thing off the inside of the cap.

    • I only have nicely stackable tupperware (everything has a lid, no warped ones etc), and I keep the lids in a separate basket/bin (on the same shelf). I also just moved all my tupperware from a tiny long/narrow hard-to-reach cupboard onto a bigger, square, open-on-two-sides shelf. Easier to reach, and more on-display (though still below a counter – it’s not like it’s a focal point), so we are more likely to nicely stack, rather than the ol’ toss-and-slam.

    • In my house, we organize by shape. So Square tupperware is all stacked, and round tupperware is all stacked and rectangle tupperware is all stacked. Then we have labeled boxes for the lids. They’re actually boxes we used to get microwave popcorn in. We’ve also got a couple boxes for small tupperware – doesn’t matter what shape, just small as the small stuff is pretty annoying to stack.

      But the biggest thing is to get rid of tupperware that doesn’t have a lid/bottom or that is warped beyond use.

  20. I am in awe of everyone’s organizational skills. Our house is a constant disaster because I feel like there’s no room for anything we have. My fiance collects video games of all kinds and our entire living room is just covered in shelves with games from Nintendo, Neo-Geo, Playstation, and more. One of our walk-in closets is literally filled with just the boxes for video games (yes, he collects those too), and our garage is filled with totes of systems. He also repairs and builds them, so there are wires and conductors and other random electrical equipment everywhere. Because of that, there’s no room for all the things that cause clutter in normal people’s houses, leaving piles of stuff everywhere. (Seriously there was a tube tv sitting next to our front door for almost a year because “it’s so good for playing older games on!”) I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to bookmark this for when we have a bigger place and I can contain his video game kingdom to one centralized place, haha.

  21. My husband and I and the kiddo have seperate hampers plus one in the laundry room (first floor) for kitchen towels and napkins and assorted clothes we don’t want to carry upstairs to put in the hamper. This makes laundry take us less time over all because I don’t have to sort out whose who.

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