Monday, May 14, 2012

47 Quick Tip: Basket By The Stairs

This one is a classic tip that many of you may have already heard or be doing, but it's such a clutter saver and helpful one, I just had to share it.

Our entry is itty bitty, the stairs are right inside the door and we have a ledge wall dividing the stairs and the living area.


Because our home is split into two living areas {a kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, and a family room, studio, laundry room, playroom, bathroom and bedroom downstairs}, we find ourselves piling things at the top and bottom of the stairs to be transferred from level to level.  For example, the kiddos may bring a toy up from the playroom when called for dinner.  Or we get home from grocery shopping and have some items that need to be put away downstairs.  Or, we just use something that typically lives downstairs, while we are upstairs.  It happens so frequently.  And so does this...


The ledge naturally becomes a clutter collector.  Just a heaping mess of items that need to go downstairs.  And it's the first thing one would see when walking into the home. 

The solution for us was simple, I just snagged a basket to keep around the corner from the stairs {not in front of the stairs or on the stairs for safety reasons}, and now the items can be tossed inside.


I placed one on each level, since we occasionally need to bring things upstairs as well.  Now, it's easier to carry things up and down in one trip, I can simply use the basket to tote from room to room to put away all the belongings {or have the kids help}, and there is less clutter right when you enter the abode.

The best part is the baskets are small enough that if we have unexpected visitors, oh well, it's better than piles on the ledge.  And if we are doing a quick clean up for a dinner with friends, then the baskets easily tuck away in a nearby closet.

I know we could just be really disciplined and put all of the items away right away and get a good workout by going up and down the stairs multiple times a day, but this is naturally what has been happening... In the spirit of keeping things real.
 
Anyone else been doing this or something similar and loving it?

47 comments:

  1. Hi Jen, great tip! I wasn't doing this at my house and our stairs are ALWAYS full of clutter. Half the time I walk by everything without picking it up so I've been trying to be better about remembering to bring at least one thing up or down. Consolidating things into a basket will def make life easier (and will look prettier)!

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  2. We had a similar trouble with stair piles visible from the front door. We now use a stair-shaped basket, which sits right on the step. I was finding it tricky to get one with the right dimensions from my usual online sources, when I spied a lined Longaberger stair basket at Goodwill for a steal. When I brought it home I was jazzed to find it fit perfectly! With the blue-and-white floral fabric lining, and a clear plastic insert to keep things from falling through the cracks, it even looks pretty too. Now if only I can find one for the basement steps...

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  3. Jen, I read your blog religiously! I was wondering if you could tell me where that basket is from? I've been looking for a sturdy wire basket like that. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Courtney!

      I found them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QGRY3Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000QGRY3Y

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  4. We do this too. My stairway turns, so a couple of steps up there is a landing, with room for a fairly big wicker basket. You can't see what's inside, so everything looks nice and neat.

    And that's the problem. :-) We NEVER empty it. I've finally learned that when I can't find something, the basket should be one of the first places to look--too many instances of searching high & low for a library book, or whatever, only to find it in there. I am trying to cultivate the habit of regularly purging it, but I always forget. Maybe an open wire basket like yours would motivate me to empty it more often.

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    Replies
    1. Any basket will do, I just snagged a couple we weren't using any longer. But I agree we most likely grab it and empty it because it's easy to see the contents.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  5. I have two of those baskets made for the stairs and we love them - we use them ALL the time.

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  6. I live on a one story now but before we moved I did this. Now I continue something similar when I clean. I will carry a bin around with me to each room and pile stuff that goes to other rooms into it. As I make my way around the house stuff gets put away and more stuff gets put in, and so on. When I completely finish the last room I usually have a few things left that need to go back to their homes (that i've already cleaned) and it's easy to do that. It also prevents me from constantly stopping to return something to where it belongs.

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  7. We do this also. Only, we have a basket/bin in each room. So instead of clutter all over the place that needs to be put away, it all ends up in the basket. So once or twice a week, I put away whatever has accumulated in the baskets. But until I can get to it, it really keeps the house looking in order which is great for drop-ins!

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  8. Did you ever see the comedian (a guy whose name escapes me) that talks about the fact that he had no idea his wife meant for the things on the bottom step to go UPSTAIRS? My husband seems oblivious to the idea as well! I would probably need to label the basket (TAKE UPSTAIRS!) for him to get it! A few flashing neon signs wouldn't hurt either. : )

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, that is funny! And I can totally relate! <3

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  9. I'm still going with the less-efficient (but much more aerobic) bring things up/down right away method. I think a basket would feel like more clutter to me in my space...and my calves would certainly suffer!

    Just found your blog recently and I absolutely love it. Keep up the great work!

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  10. Love your blog and all the useful tips you give around the house! I've been looking for some wire baskets - and I LOVE the one you found. Where did you get it and how large is it?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christy!

      I found them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QGRY3Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000QGRY3Y

      I think they stock a few sizes. Ours is:
      8-inch h by 11-7/8-inch w by 13-3/4-inch d

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
    2. Oops, I guess we actually have the smaller sized one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QGLB7Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000QGLB7Y

      Sorry about that!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  11. My family did this when I was growing up. We currently don't have a two story house, but we do have a baskets in our living room and bedroom for when things need to be moved from the front or from the back. I love this system!

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  12. I love this idea and I love your blog. I always think about putting a basket at the stairs but then I just... don't.

    Any ideas for a very narrow entrance? We have a long narrow hallway to our stairs, but I'd love to figure out some type of solution for shoes, keys, sunglasses, and a couple of small toys for my infant.

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    Replies
    1. Many of the tall shoe storage cabinets are great for small and narrow spaces since they are using vertical wall space and are quite slim. They come in many sizes and shapes, and with some, you could even use one of the cubbies for toys. I love wall systems as well for papers and keys.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  13. This could solve the problem of everyone stepping over the items I place on our stairs to go down. I get tired of hearing "Oh, I didn't know that was supposed to go down." Really, do you think I put it there for any other reason???

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  14. Yes, we do this at our house, too! It makes me feel lazy, but I just don't have it in me to run up and down the stairs EVERY time something needs to go up. ;) I have long narrow basket for each child (I have 3) with little labels on the end (inspired by you) and at the end of the day I ask each child (well, except for the toddler, but she's learning) to empty their basket and bring it back down. It has helped tremendously in reducing the clutter on our first floor! :)

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  15. We had been doing this at my house for a long time - called the Crap Basket. But I always kept the basket on the stairs. My hubby tripped over it the other day & deemed the Crap Basket a safety hazard and removed it. =) THis is a great idea! I'm moving it to the floor ASAP!

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  16. Quick question where is the little desk from? I could definitely use something like that for my laptop! I don't know why but we don't seem to have the clutter at the top or bottom the stairs YET!! I hope I don't regret sharing that! :) Always look forward to your posts!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katie!

      It was from Target years ago, however, they still have a similar model: http://www.target.com/p/Glass-Top-Sofa-Table-Espresso/-/A-13082796?ref=tgt_adv_xasd0001&AFID=Performics_IHeart%20Organizing&LNM=Primary

      Hope that helps!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  17. My mom did this when I was growing up. But she used a black office-type of trash can - this is way more attractive! Plus having a smaller one is great so it doesn't become a huge chore to empty out the basket once you finally do move it to the other floor.

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  18. When we added a second story to our ranch, I placed a wicker basket on the side of the stairs (away from front door) and called it the 'up/ down basket". I, too could use a neon sign for my husband and son.

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  19. We have a 'crap basket' and I love it!! Keeps various things from being stacked various places on/around the stairs and looks so much more appealing to the eye. My main problem is taking the time to put the stuff away and not just leaving it in there for good.. oops!!

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like "crap basket" is deemed the technical term. :) Love it!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  20. I thought I was being super organized when I bought a stair shaped basket, however as someone said earlier it is a tripping hazard. Also, it never gets emptied (or only by me!). On occasion I have searched all over the house for a certain item, only to find it days later lurking at the bottom of the stair basket. So I definitely think a metal basket, where we can see the contents, placed safely at the side of the stairs, is the way for us to go!

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  21. I love your blog! Lately as I was struggling with a house strewn with stuff I found myself thinking about you and betting you are the sort of person who always puts things back as soon as you're done! So I'm truly relieved to see that you aren't and that you have a strategy for it! I like this idea and should seriously adopt this!

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  22. We've done this at our house for years. One way to keep it from becoming a clutter catch-all that has worked for us is to include "Check upstairs/downstairs basket" to our bedtime routines. Each person is responsible for their own items in the basket. That way it doesn't seem so much of a chore.

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  23. I've been doing something similar for years but without a basket. Because I naturally go up and down the stairs multiple times in a day, I just place the displaced item on the step and carry it up or down on my next trip. Everything gets put away on the same day so there's nothing lingering on the steps. I have down floors of living space and a full basement workshop/laundry room so I get plenty of exercises climbing up and down while putting errant items in their place.

    - Gitana the Creative Diva
    gitana-thecreativediva.blogspot.com

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  24. For sure! I think our entry is smaller. We have had two baskets on the first landing of our staircase for sometime now. LOVE. I toss things in them all the time {kid things that get left behind}. I go through them when they are full. . .and many times things from there get tossed which I love. Great idea so close to the entry.

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  25. We have had baskets on our stairs for a couple years and they work great. All our bedrooms are upstairs and the kids toys/knick knacks (as well as a few of ours) piled up everywhere. I found some little baskets at Pier One that had attached covers (almost like hinges, but made of straw). Then the messes are not only in the basket, but out of sight. They really don't get in the way of going up and down the stairs at all and I love that I simply say - "bring up your basket" - it gets emptied and (usually) returned!

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  26. We moved from a two story to a one story, and are getting ready to move back to a two story. I can remember all the piles at the top and bottom of the stairs. I, too, finally used baskets. I tried to find one of those shaped for stairs but never could find one. I am hoping to find a couple for our new home we are moving into in a few weeks.

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  27. How funny that I was just today thinking of getting a couple baskets to put ON the stairs...pretty ones of course...because I had a little pile on each step. One for my son's room, one of craft stuff, and one of our stuff. Such a good idea and I like to see that it's been implemented by you so that I know it works! :)

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  28. This makes me wish I had a staircase instead of a table right by the door. Those spots drive me nuts. We joke around here, if we can't find something, it's probably in the bowl by the door. (Or in your case, the basket by the door.) Never fails!

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  29. Just want to say I've really enjoyed your blog. I recently moved back in with my parents and am in the midst of a "extreme makeover" which my mom loves and is very inspired by (and which was inspired by many of your posts!). I just browsed through your amazon store and added a bunch of stuff to my wish list. THANKS!!!

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  30. My whole life growing up we did baskets on the stairs! Such a great idea! Darling entry, btw :)

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  31. Jennifer RamirezMay 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Lol! This is just hilarious! Glad to know that we are not alone in this mess. As soon as I saw your picture of your ledge with "junk" on it, I started laughing out loud. We too do this all the time and it drives me nuts. I have been meaning to get a basket to take care of the mess but we are lacking in baskets. All our being used and I never have enough. I debated on even just setting a small cardboard box by the stairs, but I want it to be perfect so I don't do it. Anyway, thanks for this post, it really hit home and inspired me to just go out and buy the freakin basket already :). Thanks!

    Jennifer

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  32. I do the same thing. We always ended up with stuff piled on the stairs that never got taken up. I have a large tote bag that I carry up at night and back down in the morning. Our stairs have been clear for years. I love a good system that works!

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  33. I do the same thing too! Love baskets!

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  34. This is a great tip! We have a the same issue wih things piling up by the steps. I going to have to get a basket

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  35. Having recently emptied a small plastic basket where I used to keep newspaper clippings I had not yet managed to file away, this is something that I started doing just recently, just a few days before I read this particular entry you made. I love the idea of having a basket for upstairs and downstairs! I think I will get one more so we can use that. :D Thanks for the idea of how to push things further!

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  36. Great idea. I'm trying it. I have 3 levels and constantly have stuff piled at the top and bottom of each of the staircases. Tired of the mess. I think I'll just need really big baskets though ; )!

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