They’re chic and stackable and can be used for far more than transporting your farmers market bounty. Here are 15 creative ways to use French market baskets around the house.
1. Mail recycling bin. Keep paper clutter to a minimum by opening mail as soon as it enters the house, and recycling junk mail, envelopes and inserts. Make the task easier (and better looking) by assigning a market basket the job of recycling bin — it tucks easily beside a desk when not in use, and when it’s full, the handles make it easy to tote out for emptying.
2. Entry organizer. Hung on a hook in the entryway, a woven market basket makes a handsome way to rein in those random small items (dog’s leash, mittens in winter) that can clutter up this busy spot.
3. Summer adventure bag. Make those spur-of-the-moment summer adventures easier by pre-stocking a French market basket with your summertime essentials. From beach towels for visits to the coast or lake to a picnic kit for impromptu alfresco feasts, you can customize the contents to fit your needs.
4. Single-load laundry basket. A large French market basket is perfect for collecting a single load’s worth of laundry. Use the sturdy leather handles to transport it to and from the laundry room. Keep several on hand to use for sorting loads. Stacked, they’ll take up less space when not in use.
5. Kitchen dry storage. French market baskets look especially at home in the kitchen — so why not keep a few on hand at all times? They can be put to work holding fresh tea towels and table linens where you can grab them easily. In a compact kitchen where cabinet space is at a premium, you could use a few market baskets to stow baking pans and cookie sheets. Or, you could even fill your baskets with onions or potatoes — just remember to keep onions and potatoes separate (onions can encourage potatoes to sprout) and in a dark, cool place.
6. Mini kitchen laundry hamper. Having a quick spot to toss dish towels and cloth napkins right in the kitchen is convenient — but in a compact kitchen, finding room for a full-fledged hamper can be a challenge. A small market basket makes a nice compromise; keep it in a corner (or on the floor of the pantry), and tote it to the laundry room when it gets full.
7. Craft project basket. If you or someone in your home is a crafter, you know how projects can quite easily begin to take over the house! Keep supplies neat and project-specific by stashing all of the necessary supplies for each project in its own handled basket.
8. Portable toy storage. Even if you have space for your children’s toy storage in another room, it seems to be a law of nature that toys will migrate into whatever space you are using at the time. Make this movement easier (and neater) by keeping a set of generously sized, handled market baskets on hand for toy storage in the den, or wherever your home’s hub is.
9. Totable tidying tool. If you’re tired of small items (hair bands, books, toys) belonging to various family members getting spread all around the house, consider assigning a tidying basket to each person. All of those little (read: annoying) items can be scooped into said basket and hung up on their doorknob. The mess-maker in question will still have to be prodded into actually putting the items away, but having a tidying basket can help bring some sanity to the house — and it makes company’s-coming cleanups quicker and easier.
10. Bath towel (or TP) storage. Bathroom lacking in storage? Roll up those towels or stack up the TP rolls, and stash them inside a big basket on the floor. This keeps essentials handy and makes your bath look instantly more spa-like.
11. Blankets and bed linens. Whether it’s home for an extra blanket for your bed or stacks of sheets in the linen closet, French market baskets can keep all sorts of bedding tidy.
12. Bedside essentials. Bedside table lacking in storage? Use a French market basket to hold your favorite books and magazines, hand lotion and bottle of water.
13. Giveaway basket. The next time you’re getting dressed and realize you don’t like a piece of clothing, don’t hang it back up — drop it into your giveaway bin! A basket on the floor of your closet makes an easy place to collect items to share; when it’s full, bring it to your local donation center or consignment shop if you’d prefer to sell.
14. Dry-cleaning tote. Instead of littering your closet floor with clothes that need to be dry-cleaned, toss them into a market basket instead — it looks neater, and when it’s time to go to the cleaner, just grab the basket and go.
15. Getaway bag. Short on luggage? If you’re just making a quick weekend getaway by car, toss a few things in your favorite French market basket, and go! Once you’ve arrived at your destination and unpacked in your room, the basket can do double-duty as a tote or shopping bag.