4) My Beloved Baskets and Bins! Okay, I admit it…I have an addiction. I am addicted to having a bin or basket for everything…but only because I’ve experienced the alternative (and still do)…having random toys, books, and games scattered about desperately crying out for a place to call home! Oh, but now I have discovered the joy my dear baskets and bins provide. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a place to quickly throw things at the end of the day and tuck them away! And the best part is the kiddos can do it too. (And you can get some really cute baskets and bins for rather cheap at most craft stores.) Oh the glorious wonders!
I also use this idea for my pantry. Too often I couldn’t see what grocery items we actually had because they were always ending up in the wrong place…little elves, I’m sure! Plus, some items just kept falling over, making it look cluttered and totally uninspiring for any sort of meal preparation =). So I did a major overhaul on the pantry (and by major overhaul, I really mean a little organizing)! I bought a bunch of clear 16 qt. plastic bins, stored most of the lids away for later use, and labeled my bins with different categories (I just used Scotch tape and a Sharpie). I will say that making my categories took a little thinking and I imagine they would vary, depending on what things a family keeps stocked. The categories may also need to be revised from time to time. For instance, when I first began this little project, I had a couple bins for baby foods. That’s no longer a need for our family so I switched those out. Also, since Layla (my three-year-old) is becoming more independent, I moved my bin of healthy snacks (okay, semi-healthy…okay, they’re just snacks) within her reach so when she receives permission, she can help herself. I also made a bin of kiddie cups accessible to her so she can get water from the frig when she pleases. (See? That’s healthy!)
It may all sound a little crazy, but I DO…I LOVE my bins and baskets! At the end of the day, when the kiddos have gone off to bed and its time for my husband and I to wind down together, I prefer not to look out onto a sea of toys. And when I need to throw together a grocery list, I like to be able to look in my pantry and easily make sense of what I need and already have. Maybe I’m just a little too in love with this whole idea, but for me its a major stress reliever. My beloved baskets and bins really have made a difference in taming the chaos in my home. Oh, don’t get me wrong…there’s still chaos! In fact, I’m pretty sure there will ALWAYS be chaos…and to be completely honest I’m not sure I would know how to function without it, BUT…little by little…that chaos is learning to behave =)!