Everything in a Basket

Does the busyness of spring hit you by surprise?  It sure sneaks up on me every year!  I used to think it was because I have 3 kids with all of their birthdays 4 weeks apart, between April 4th and May 2nd.  But, after talking to other moms, it’s not just me.  Spring sports are in full swing, end of the year school activities have begun, summer planning is underway…


Well, this year is no different and I found myself going 3 weeks without a blog post!  Holy cow, how did that happen!  Well, it was mostly due to a lot of family fun.  I won’t digress long, but here’s a little peek.


We’ve been at the ballpark!  Our family had it’s first baseball tournament weekend experience, with five games in two days.  I have to admit I thought it was a ton of fun, but it also has that mysterious effect of leaving your house in complete chaos, although you could swear you were never home.  How does that happen?!?  But seriously, so worth it!


Love Him!!


We also decided to skip kid birthday parties this year, and take a little family vacation to Kansas City.  It was a wonderful weekend of enjoying our kids, having them all to ourselves.  I was reminded how blessed I am to have this family and live this life.  Our kids loved staying in a hotel, eating snacks and swimming.  They also enjoyed many of the activities and shops of KC – what a fun city!



Thanks for that diversion – it was fun for me!  Now back to my laundry room / mudroom and how I attempt to control everything going on in there.  In my last post I told you about the great baskets I found, and now love!  But I really didn’t get into how I use those baskets.  Here they are again…



I already told you about all of the reasons why I love these baskets, but they have also been super functional.  Because there are so many random things in this space, I wanted a way to keep them separate from each other, while making them fit together visually.  This can be a challenge when dealing with a lot of stuff that isn’t the same in size, shape, or function.


The top row of baskets is for the items I don’t access on a regular basis.  I could rotate beach towels and winter gear into other areas of my home seasonally, but I’m not a fan of that concept – unless space absolutely requires it.  I move baskets from the top to bottom shelves for the seasons, but it saves me a lot time to not have to sort and relocate items to a different room in the house.  Since it is the end of April, I am REALLY hoping I get to move the beach towels down and the winter gear up really soon!!!



As you can see, this is a rather random assortment of stuff, but it doesn’t appear that way in the matching baskets.



With three kids I like having a good supply of beach towels on hand.  This basket will fit 6 of them, but they aren’t super thick.  I have a couple big, fluffy beach towels for my husband and I in our linen closet if we need them.  But, I’m a fan of the cheap/thinner ones for my kids.  They take up less space to store, dry faster, and I don’t mind as much if they get torn / lost / trampled on with muddy feet!




As you can see, this is a really random and not organized collection of light bulbs!  Light bulbs really aren’t something I want to take time organizing, so I just toss them in a big basket and call it good!  They are safely out of kids reach, and easy for anyone to find that feels like changing a light bulb.  As you may recall I have another canvas bin of bulbs in my cabinet storage, because we buy our recessed lights in contractor bulk and it is easier to keep them separate.  Everything else, just gets tossed in here.




My basket of table linens is stuffed full of everything I own: runners, cloth napkins, place mats, napkin rings…  Since the laundry room is directly off the kitchen it is a convenient place to store them that doesn’t take up precious kitchen space.  I kinda have an obsession with pretty dishes, serving pieces and bakeware that tends to take over my kitchen space.  And honestly, I really don’t pull out the fabric table linens all that often these days.  I tend to use the plastic Pottery Barn Kids mats that have a nice wipe clean surface and a bit of padding – which protects our wood table from children and their utensils!


The lower set of baskets in our laundry room get more heavy use, and seem to be holding up really well!



Again, these baskets of hats and gloves stay in the mudroom all year.  Unfortunately, here in Iowa I really need them almost all year long!



This is obviously the sports basket, and yes it is a totally random basket of stuff that doesn’t necessarily all fit together!  When I first designated a cubby for sports equipment my vision was that it would be a handy place to store the sporting equipment we were using for that season.  I would rotate in the soccer stuff, basketball, baseball…  The reality has been quite different, however I think it works great!


Let me pause and say, I think it is really important not to force something in organization.  If it isn’t naturally working for you, don’t be afraid to go with plan B, or C or D!  Trying to make something work that just doesn’t fit how you live not only fails to keep you organized, but also makes you more frustrated than you’d be if you just left it a mess in the first place.


So, how do I use this basket?  It is my catch all, contain the clutter, set a boundary basket.  I use this basket for several purposes.  First, it holds the few random things I need to keep track of for the short term that lack another home.  Right now I am coaching my daughter’s soccer team.  I have a small ball pump, my whistle, stopwatch and the team medals for the end of the season in there.  The medals get placed here, because one season I went out and bought medals because I thought they would be fun for my team at the end of the season.  I had forgotten that the league gave us medals at the beginning of the season to hand out at the end.  Not so organized of me huh!!!  Fortunately I was able to return them!


The second use for this basket is way less intentional!  I find a million sporting items in our mudroom on a regular basis – it is a definite clutter issue!  I don’t always have the time or energy to relocate every single item.  So, I just plop it in the basket until someone is looking for it again.  It is like the other catch-all’s in my house (the hardware & toy part bins in my junk drawer, the toy basket under the t.v., the stair basket for things that belong upstairs…)  These locations allow me to clear our floors, counters and other surfaces of clutter quickly without losing or throwing things away.


Another important component to these catch-all locations is that I sort their contents and put things away / throw things away a couple of times a year.  But, having things sorted by category makes them easy to find if someone is looking for something specific, and it makes it a quick 5-10 minute project when I do sort them.  I’ll grab a basket to sort when my kids are taking 45 minutes to eat a sandwich, or I’m waiting on my husband to get home/leave…  Organization is so much easier when we can break it into small, quick tasks!



The next basket is hats, gloves, scarves… for Jason and I.  There isn’t really anything super fancy about this basket, I just like having our stuff separate from the kids – so someone doesn’t give my Ann Taylor hat & gloves to a 5 year old!




And the final basket is hats, gloves, etc. for the kids.  This basket is a bit of a hodge-podge, but it is very handy.  During the winter months my school-aged kids keep their hat and gloves in their backpacks.  It is only in the warmer months that I stash their stuff until the cold hits again.  I like having an easy place in the mudroom to store this stuff, because you never know in Iowa when you might want your winter gloves in May or September!


My youngest really doesn’t use his hat and gloves all that much, so I just toss them in this basket when we don’t need them.  The rest of the items in the basket are back-ups or things that my oldest has outgrown but my youngest can’t wear yet.  Since I only have one daughter, I remove her stuff as soon as she outgrows it.


I like having extra stuff in case someone loses something or left it at a friends and we realizing last minute they need stuff for school… a friend comes over to play and needs to borrow something… It would drive me nuts if the extras were in  their room – because I’d be late, running upstairs, tearing apart a closet looking for extra gloves and then yelling at my kids would follow to get everyone out the door.  For me, that is how I could easily lose order in our busy house.  Having things handy to grab, go and quickly put away when we are done with them goes a long way in helping me maintain order and sanity.


Wow, that ended up being a long post!  I was originally worried it might be too short.  No one ever accused me of being short on words!  In seriousness, there is a lot of stuff in those six baskets, and they bring a lot of order to one of the busiest rooms in our house.  And if I do say so, they look pretty good doing it!