Blog by Beebe Cline

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Kid-friendly basket storage teaches organization and keeps school clutter at bay

If you have kids, getting organized for the school year is a labor of love. You not only have to get ready for chaotic activity schedules and homework, but for all the stuff that comes along with it. I like to use wicker baskets throughout my house to keep up with my kids' school notes and papers, artwork, toys, books and more. Wicker baskets are not only stylish, but because they are woven from stiff fiber such as plastic, twisted paper fiber, willow branches, canes or reeds, they are lightweight and sturdy (read very kid friendly).

Here are some ways to incorporate a wicker basket into your life, corral some of that school stuff, and teach your kids how to do get organized, too.
Kid pit stop. Add labeled baskets where your kids can pick up important school items before they grab their backpacks. Labeling tells each child what is in the basket or whose basket it is. Pottery Barn Kids sells cute labels that work with their baskets. (Currently on backorder through Oct. 3, 2011). Or make your own chalkboard labels.
Bed trunk. Use a wicker bed trunk in a kid's bedroom as extra storage for toys, bed linens, extra seasonal clothing or whatever your child needs. Its lightweight construction means a young one can't get hurt opening or closing it, and could even play hide and seek in it. It will grow with your child over the years.
Laundry clutter. Do your kids stuff their clothing full of coins, hair clips and little toys, then leave them in the laundry room? Put out tagged wicker baskets to hold each kid's loose clutter so they can find their things and not have to ask you where they are over and over again.
Get kids to separate whites from brights. Get two large wicker baskets (low and wide if you have room; tall and narrow, if you don't) and start teaching your kids how to sort the dirty laundry. Label each basket, use two different colored baskets, or paint the handles of each basket different colors, such as white for the whites basket and a bright color of your choice for the other.
Hidden storage in grown-up rooms. If you find you need to keep toys, books, and games in your living or family rooms, conceal them in a wicker basket. The woven material is much more stylish than a plastic or fabric bin.
Hang and use for the holidays. Wide tray-like baskets are great for placing kids' craft materials for when they want to do a project at the table. They also are great for holding washed fruit or turning a quick snack item into a colorful centerpiece. You can hang the baskets on the wall for some beautiful texture and to get them out of the way. Your kids can easily grab one themselves without worrying about breaking it.
Diaper clutter. In a nursery, use wicker baskets to store all those diapers, baby wipes and ointments. Place it on or near the changing table.

Stuffed-animal mayhem. Use a wicker basket to hold all those small stuffed animals in a nursery. The soft, lightweight material is perfect for the space.
Hide it out in the open. Because wicker baskets look so warm and natural they look great tucked under an open accent table or high-legged bench. These baskets come in many sizes to fit any of your needs.
Bathroom duty. For bathrooms without a linen closet, a tall wicker basket can hold extra toilet paper and hand towels and still look great. Your child can easily grab from the basket, too. I like the Beachcomber Collection of baskets from Pottery Barn.
They come in sets of threes. I like the look of these Ballard Market Nesting Baskets, and I think this is a good buy for three. You could keep art supplies in the small version and sketch pads and loose toys in the larger one.
Fun hamper. Give kids their own hamper. This African prayer hamper with a stunning pattern of color could be adorable in a kids bedroom or bathroom.
Hold loose kids' artwork to organize later. My child brings home a lot of crafty artwork. I have given up on figuring out what to do with it all right away, so I place it in a large tall wicker basket, and sort it throughout the year. These white dipped barrel baskets by Wisteria are good looking for this purpose.
Remote-control holder. No more asking the question, "Where is the remote?" A small wicker basket holds all our remotes. I'm digging this round, two-toned one.
A "don't-forget" basket. Place a basket near the front door for library books and DVDs that have to be returned.
A "don't forget" stairway basket. Keep important items in a basket meant for your stairs. As you run down the stairwell in a hurry, you are sure to see the items you shouldn't forget to bring out of the house with you: the dance shoes, a swimsuit or the new cleats.
Set the table, kids. Put napkins in a wicker basket and place on your countertop where your family can easily find them. If you ask your kids to help set the table regularly, they can quickly grab the basket of napkins and set them out on the table.

Write to me. Place memo paper and a pen in a small basket on your kitchen countertop so your kids have no excuse when asked why they didn’t leave a note!
Pet clutter. Like kids, pets also collect toys. Find a wicker basket low to the ground so he or she (and you) can get to them. These baskets, featured here with farmer's market vegetables, would make great storage for your pets' favorite things, too.