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I Admit It, I'm A Basket Case!
by Colleen Moulding

Okay, I confess, I love baskets. I think they are just the prettiest things and so useful around the home. I keep vegetables in baskets, shells and bathroom toiletries in baskets, socks, remote controls, washing, toys, pens, plants - you name it there's a basket somewhere that's just right to store it in.
They aren't expensive either. If you keep your eyes open you can find quite a variety at dollar stores or pound shops and charity or second hand shops usually have a selection too.

I have found that Summer Fayre's or table sales raising money for hospitals or residential homes for the elderly yield lots of baskets, as they often contain gifts of plants or flowers and are discarded afterwards.

Don't be afraid to wash your basketware. I regularly completely immerse baskets in warm soapy water, and even scrub them, before rinsing well and pegging them on to the washing line or placing them in the sun to dry. If you can't dry them outside, shake them well and leave them on a towel in a warm place. This only applies to inexpensive everyday basketware of course, for antique baskets, rare or cherished family pieces, dust off with a soft brush, or vacuum with a piece of a pair of old tights stretched over the nozzle.

Once clean, they have a thousand uses. Trim a piece of plastic or polythene to fit inside a basket and it is the perfect home for any type of indoor plant. Just pop the plastic pot into the basket. In fact a table filled with foliage and flowering plants in an array of different baskets interspersed with some coloured glass or pretty china can be a simple and inexpensive way to create a beautiful focal point in a conservatory or garden room.

Baskets in the kitchen can display fruit and vegetables, store cutlery, bread, eggs, tea towels and a million and one other items. You can also paint them to go with your room scheme, decorate them with silk or dried flowers attached with a glue gun, or hang them as decorations mixed with drying herbs and pretty jugs for a homely country look.

Magazines can be a storage problem but flat baskets contain them in a stylish way. I do admit to a failure here though. I once decided to store some of my home decorating magazines in a tall wicker basket thinking it was a great looking storage solution, until guests kept throwing their litter in with them! I know when to admit defeat!

Collecting baskets whenever you see them throughout the year can also solve lots of gift problems when Christmas rolls around. Fill them will bits and pieces that you know the recipient will love, such as, gardening gloves, seeds, plant labels and a trowel or a video, popcorn and cans of cola or cups and saucers and chocolate dipped spoons. Wrap the whole thing up in cellophane, decorate with ribbon and voila - personalized Christmas gifts to go.

In a wardrobe or closet, baskets can help you to get organized. Really large baskets can hold shoes, smaller ones are ideal for scarves, belts, gloves, folded tee shirts, jumpers or underwear. Even bathrooms can benefit from baskets. They can hold spare loo rolls or soaps, rolled up towels, face cloths or displays of shells, pebbles, driftwood and shore treasures.

In children's rooms they can hold small toys, hair decorations, socks and underwear, craft supplies, jewellery, books and collections of anything that will clutter up the place if not gathered together.

Whatever your storage problem somewhere there is a basket that will solve it for you. Happy basket hunting!

© Colleen Moulding 2000