After having kids I needed to find ways to maintain a clean house without having a lot of time to clean it.
The continuous mess that would ensue every day was too much. It didn’t matter how much I picked up or cleaned because it took too much time compared to the amount of time I had to spend cleaning.
A big turning point for me was learning how to use baskets more effectively in our house. I still can’t believe something so simple and cheap could make such a profound difference.
Until you start really using baskets in your house and using them to their fullest advantage, you don’t really understand how much organization they can provide.
Since adding baskets, our house clutter has dramatically decreased, clean up is easier and faster, not to mention they are excellent house décor. So, here is where and how I started using baskets in our home.
At the bottom of the stairs
So much day to day clutter is from items that need to be put away. A good percentage of these items require a flight up the stairs. Since I am not going to make trips up the stairs just to put an item away, they usually collect somewhere on the first floor or in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.
Instead of having to stare at this clutter all day, a simple decorative basket near the bottom of the stairs is a perfect stylish fix. I toss stuff into it all day and then take it up when I need to go upstairs for something else or I do one trip up at the end of the day to distribute.
Another solution is smaller baskets on the stairs, one for each person. Not my style but it could definitely work and a plus is that you can have your kids take their stuff (from their basket) up when they go.
On top of the washer
I have no idea why this took me so long to do. I have finally added just a simple plastic bin on top of our washer. Whenever we have anything that is dirty on our first floor, then I throw it into the bin. When I do laundry later that day or later in the week, all the laundry outside of the bedroom laundry hampers is already collected and ready to be added to the wash.
Since our laundry is on our first floor, this is super helpful since we always have a dirty dish towel or outdoor towel that needs to be washed. If something needs to be sprayed with a stain remover, I spray it and place it in the bin, so it is ready to be washed. However, I still think this would be helpful if our laundry was located on the second floor.
Place cleaning items in baskets in every room
Keep supplies in every room to clean it. For instance, keep wipes in all of your bathrooms. After you wash your hands, if the bathroom counters need it, give them a simple 2 second wipe down. You will cut back on the time you need to dedicate to cleaning with this simple change.
You will start using a few minutes in your day to keep things clean as you go about your day naturally. It removes the barrier to cleaning and is such a faster way to clean. I can’t tell you how many times I would think the bathroom needs to be cleaned and it would take forever to get around to it simply because I needed to go and get supplies.
We also placed little baskets in everyone’s room on the nightstands since those also seemed to accumulate little items. In fact, a great rule of thumb is that if a counter is accumulating small items all the time, then add a basket. Unless those items shouldn’t be there in the first place and you need to find them a better home.
Not to mention how cute baskets can look as nightstand décor. You can even throw your charging electronics in the basket to keep the space clear.
While on the topic, my favorite newest addition to our nightstands was adding plants to them. We got a plant subscription box and have been slowly furnishing our house with plants.
Near couches or chairs
Pillows and blankets are wonderful, and I love nothing more than curling up on a couch with a blanket and a book. However, I get so tired of storing blankets and pillows and I hate the disheveled look on couches. It makes me feel like the living room isn’t “clean”. So, I finally got some baskets to place in the living room for blankets, books, pillows and even slippers in the winter. It is so easy to toss the blanket off and into the basket.
Also, the pillows are either on the couches or in the baskets. Somehow without the baskets, the pillows always end up on the ground everywhere instead of on the couches. It is even a rule my kids can follow so that I am not constantly wasting time and energy tidying up the living room.
Another good option is to place a basket near the couch for living room toys to make cleanup easy, which brings me to my next point.
Toy storage where the toys are played with
Once kids rolled around, this rule was paramount. We initially stored our downstairs toys in a room next to our living room. However, my kids only liked to play in our living room. Therefore, every day they would track their toys from where I kept them to the living room and every night, I would bring them back and put them away. Talk about a waste of effort, energy and time.
I finally realized that I needed to store them where they played with them. Finally, I moved their toy shelves and not only was clean up so much easier but also the mess didn’t travel. Before toys would scatter the whole living room. Now, they play with them right next to the shelves. We bought simple toy shelves because they can be used to store any type of toy for any age and paired it with cute fabric baskets.
Even in the playroom, we place items strategically to minimize mess. For example, the legos are at the opposite side than the play kitchen and food. Since both of these have lots of little pieces, they are less likely to mix because they start so far apart. When it comes to clean up time, we do a lot less sorting.
In the entryway and inside bedrooms
The most important doors to place small baskets near are the ones you enter through. The best habit we got into is emptying your pockets when you walked in the door.
Now we don’t lose track of keys and wallets and we don’t have all that stuff scattered around the kitchen. We even keep extra change, lip balm and other pocket items in those baskets.
We also added this idea to bedrooms. In every single room, there is a “drop off” basket spot. I have added a basket that goes with the style of the room and I can just add to it all day. Not only does it make it easier for me to ask the kids to put their stuff away because it isn’t scattered all over the house but also helps when they are trying to find items since they are usually in their basket.
Outside of our silverware drawer, I had never really invested or done much research into drawer organizers. It never even really occurred to me how much a single basket could change a drawer. There are so many simple baskets for drawer organization.
Besides going down a rabbit hole of endless options, I finally found some that I liked. I bought one for our junk drawer, bathroom drawer, makeup, products, under sinks (we also used these in our pantry to maximize space) and some for our underwear drawers.
After a week of using them, I could find things so much faster that I knew they were worth it. Months later, there is still some mess in these drawers, but the dividers give it a baseline of organization. Even messy, the drawer functions so much better and I can still find things.
Pursue your organized house Today
The simplest solutions are sometimes the best. Baskets are such an effective way to store items because there are so many options to choose from, they add decor, and they are so inexpensive compared to many organizing tools.
For me, spending time adding organization tricks such as baskets to our house was well worth it. It freed up so much of my every day time that I can now spend more time on the things that matter. Spending less time on keeping up with everyday mess also gave me more time to deep clean our house or take on bigger house projects.
How do you use baskets or other items to keep your house mess free? Let me know in the comments.