I am starting to wonder whether baskets might be the answer to everything.

For a long time there,I thought it might be hooks. I swept through our last house like a demon, putting hooks on anything that stood still for long enough. Don’t get me wrong; I maintain a soft spot for the well-placed hook. I still firmly believe that there is practically no internal door that couldn’t benefit from a good set of hooks drilled onto the back of it. In fact, I believe that hooks on the back of the spare room door (preferably with a dressing gown hanging from them) are a vital sign of thoughtfulness towards guests. But I digress….

We have now, however, entered the age of the basket. I had the kind of open-mouthed epiphany that can only come from happening upon the crashingly obvious when I realised that if only I had containers, and used them, then many of the small bits of ‘stuff’ that swill about the house like so much flotsam and jetsam would instead have somewhere to live. And I could tidy them up quickly, and find them again with ease. Turns out it really was that simple.

Under sink basketsI started with cheap plastic baskets in our under sink cupboard. I hope it’s not too hyperbolic to say that this has changed my life. Previously, our undersink cupboard contained about a million bottles and cans, many of them duplicates, at varying levels of fullness. To find anything you had to sit down and empty the entire cupboard. Nice.

So some plastic baskets from the pound shop came home, I labelled them with a Tipp-Ex pen (just call me Michaelangelo), and here we are. They’re pretty tatty now, but still amazingly useful.

I was standing in the kitchen staring around in a vaguely dis-satisfied way when I realised that the humble basket might be the answer to some other problems, too. Like the very useful but undeniably tatty old cardboard box on top of the fridge that held my food processor and all its assorted bits…

Supposing that was a nice wicker basket instead? (Note the touching collection of things on our fridge. I particularly like the ‘Have we no WINE here?’ Shakespeare quotation magnet. And of course the empty frames, which I think have been sitting emptily on the fridge for over a year now, waiting for me to fill them.)

And – AND – supposing I got one for the steamer, too? Wouldn’t that look about a million times better on our wire shelves than the old, faded box it came in?

Sorting out the spice containers was a particular high point. These plastic beauties (whilst, ok, technically not baskets) were food containers from Lakeland, and are just the perfect height and depth both for our cupboards, and for the herbs and spices, which had previously been roaming, free-range, all along the shelves. As I suspected, the chaos of the storage had led not only to multiple emptyings-out in search of the right thing, but also to several duplicates.

It was at this point that I sank to a new level of craziness, as I looked at our chaotic fridge and pondered whether some kind of basket-based storage solutions might work here, too…? (I know. Check out the Lindor chocolates. I’m sure there was a good reason for them being there…)

Cheese basketTurns out I was right! Meet the cheese basket.

And here he is in situ. Already making life easier. Obviously this genre of basket works particularly well for us,with a fridge that has to serve one vegetarian, the Baby-Bel habits of two small children, and one of the greatest cheese-lovers that has ever existed.

The only problem that I have is finding the right basket. Baskets are plentiful, but they’re not always right. They are sometimes flimsy, or the wrong colour, (or often almost hilariously expensive) or more commonly the wrong size, and often some combination of the above. Sets of three matching baskets in gradually reducing sizes are very common but don’t strike me as very useful. A set of three matching baskets the same size would be very useful indeed but is oddly much rarer. For a while I was carrying around the measurements of the baskets I needed for the food processor and the steamer around in the memo section of my phone,hoping to happen upon them one day.

I did find the right ones, of course. I think Homebase came up trumps. DIY places, pound shops, Wilkinsons, and IKEA are all places where I’ve had some success. But I’ve still spent a lot of time measuring baskets and then putting them down sadly.

As an inveterate online shopper,in theory it should be possible to find a basket of any size, but in reality you could waste a lot of time going through measurements of height, depth and width, and still not find what you want. What I’d really like is a website that would act as a link to other sites. An online basket-search facility, where I could select from drop-down menus for size, material, and colour, and pull up a list of matches. Amazing!

But then, it is also entirely possible that I have thought about this too much….

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6 Responses to Basketcase

  1. Megan Hoskin says:

    I so want to go and get some baskets for my fridge now! thanks for the great ideas on my blog too :)

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  3. Elli says:

    Cheese basket! Excellent idea.
    God I love nosing around other people’s fridges.

  4. Rachel! Thanks for sharing your process. It really helps to see that I’m not going at this alone…We are in this together!

  5. Sasha says:

    Oh I too love baskets. My Oli hates them and always mutters darkly when I beeline for the basket section in Ikea. But you’re right: nesting baskets are easy to come by but who needs a basket for their basket?! Most odd. And they are pricey. I have added basket weaving to my endless crafty wish list… then I could have all the baskets my heart desires!

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