Organizing With Baskets


I don’t think I could do a series on thrift store items without doing something with baskets, could I? I mean, there’s usually a whole section dedicated to baskets.

Unfortunately, most of the baskets have handles, which is great at Easter when you’re hunting for eggs, but not for much else that I’ve found.

Which is probably why there are so many handled baskets at the thrift store.

They’re even hard to use for gift baskets because of the whole how-do-I-wrap-the-handle issue. Not to mention I’d like to at least try to give the recipient a basket they could use for something else.

There is one thing I have found to do with handled baskets, though, which I will show you later in this series (ha! That’s my ploy to keep you reading…), but mostly when I’m thrifting, I look for square or rectangle baskets without handles, because these are the most versatile.

They are surprisingly hard to come by on a regular basis, especially because some stores where I live have realized the demand for this style and will price them at $5.99 or some ridiculous price.

Um, hello? If it’s a price I could get at a store like JoAnn’s during a 50% off sale, that is NOT a thrifty purchase.

The baskets above, though, all cost between .25 and $1.99, which met my criteria: square(ish) or rectangle and cheap.

My favorite thing to use these for?  To organize drawers and cupboards.


This is what I started with – the main drawer in our dresser-turned-vanity. I had found the dollar-store plastic baskets in the harried we’ve-just-moved-and-our-stuff-doesn’t-fit-anything stage eight years ago. And you know what I’ve found?

I don’t like looking at ugly plastic things everyday. And since my theme for this year is to eliminate anything that I do not “know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” (from the famous William Morris quote) – out they go.

Plus, as you can see, they didn’t really use the space well anyway.


Not only does everything fit better and look nicer – it was actually less expensive than the original dollar store baskets.

The rattan baskets clocked in at $2.50 while the plastic baskets cost $3.00 (the smaller type were 2 for $1, but I had to by two to be able to use the single basket on the left, so it’s $3 out-of-pocket).

So that’s a win, win, win.


Here’s another drawer organizing example using thrifted baskets (I showed the entire before and after of this drawer for a 10-Minute Desk Declutter post I wrote at the About One blog).

Not only did I use baskets for this drawer, I also used a ceramic dish I found that fit the height of the drawer, which was another thrifted find.

And though these baskets aren’t exactly square or rectangle, you can see that they’re at least squarish – and this space had the room to spare. In a drawer where I’m trying to pack a lot of stuff in (like our utensil drawer in the kitchen) I wouldn’t want to waste even the corner spaces these baskets would leave so I’m still looking for enough square and long rectangle baskets for these drawers.

What ways have you found to use thrift-store baskets?

31-days of Thrift Store TransformationsThis is day 8 in our series (you can click on the button to see all the posts in the category). If you’re wondering what’s up, you can read the introduction to 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations here. I’m taking a little liberty and using the term “thrift store” to stand for anything you buy used (and cheap!), be it from a store, garage/estate sale, flea market…whatever.


  1. says

    Your drawers look so tidy!
    My latest basket find is being used for cookbook storage on the kitchen counter. Love, love, love it and it makes it so much easier to clean!

  2. HA says

    Baskets have always been a real thing in my life…been collecting forever…and the many
    uses for them is astounding….why even real live babies can use them for a nappy…
    Using them in my huge pantry on the wire shelves are fantastic for kitchen odds and ends.
    How about the bathrooms? The guest cottages? even the cellars. Gee, did i leave anything
    out? :) oh well, i am sure someone out there can think of more???

  3. says

    This is such a great post. Thrifting is such a smart way to shop, save and be creative. I head to the thrift shop first when I am looking for something specific. There are so many bargains just waiting to be had…You are a girl after my own heart!
    Thanks for your kind comments on my blog!
    Blessings from Bend,

  4. says

    I recently put some glacier pansies and in mine and they are just beautiful. I used the same basket recently and gathered pears with them, it made a great photo. Right now I have a picture of the pansies in the basket over at my blog, Behind the Gate. If you have time, pop over and see another lovely use for them.

  5. Lisa M says

    “I don’t like looking at ugly plastic things everyday.”

    You know what? Neither do I, now that you mention it.

    I need to start looking for cute baskets. Thanks!

  6. Jody says

    Hi Jamie, Love all your tips and ideas. Thanks. I have a suggestion for the basket handles, I just saw them off and pull them out or if they are too big, hard to pull out I just saw them even with top of the basket and you can hardly tell they had handles. An old ginsu knife works well for smaller thin handles!

    • says

      Genius, Jody! I’ve seen that done on Pinterest and you’re right, it’s a fabulous way to use up all those baskets with handles that you can find at the thrift stores. :)

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