Thursday, March 1, 2012

Creative Storage solutions

I was working in the kitchen yesterday and looked up at my upper cabinets, and thought about the creative basket storage system I had made several months ago and how I still like it.

I had gathered up baskets free from my local Freecycle group, and initially kept them all. But then a few weeks back, I began sifting through the hoard of baskets and selecting the ones that really best fit the purposes I wanted for them.

Many people wonder what they should use their baskets for beyond decorations, but lets face it baskets haven't always been merely a decorative element. For centuries baskets have been quite functional containers used for storage.

So that is what I chose to once again use them for. I love baskets, I will admit. I love the texture of the patterns and the materials used. So its tough choosing between different baskets unless I have very specific goals in mind.

What I did was simply store all of them up on top of my kitchen cabinets in that empty space that tends to collect dust and cob webs.

Some baskets I stored on the wall, hanging them against the wall using a nail. I especially did this with those with long forms or unique textures that could be best appreciated if looked at from the top of the basket.

While being stored the various baskets also were used as containers. I hid ziplock bags of cookie cutters that I only use once a year and extra coffee cans in the baskets.

Later I sorted through them individually, looking at them with a new eye. An eye no longer blinded by their newness as "my newest find". This helped me a lot in making my selection.

Using the baskets as containers for long term storage items, allows me to conceal ugly airtight containers or bags that I need to have kept in the kitchen, but don't need in my way in some drawer or in a cabinet.

With Easter coming, many will be out buying Easter baskets. Already stores are stocking their shelves for Easter with brightly colored baskets.

However, if you are frugal and selective you can make sure that Easter Basket you buy each year, does double duty for your family. Instead of buying cheap plastic baskets that your kids will have no interest in later on and you will have no use for, consider buying baskets that can be reclaimed for some other use in your own family's home.

You could consider packing the Easter Basket with personalized gifts that fit each child, or adult gift recipient. A Basket that can function in a bathroom as a soap or towel basket. Or if you choose a functional basketry object such as a fishing basket, for your family's young fisherman, you can stuff it full of Easter goodies and fishing supplies.

While the basket is functional as a Easter Basket, it has a long time purpose that make its purchase more suitable and stretches your dollars so that they work for you better.

Also don't think of merely wicker baskets for Easter gift giving.

Consider finding something like these beautiful porcelain dishes and making it into a small Easter basket for your mother or grandmother.

The tray can be filled with soaps or other small items, or even colored eggs then wrapped with foil to make an attractive basket.

Another consideration when trying to determine what to do for and with your Easter Basket, is what to put into it. Its no longer just colored eggs one finds being put into Easter Baskets.

You can find Easter Baskets with Egg substitutes, such as candy and cookies in the shape of eggs.

Or toys and other non-food items such as books, that are bright and colorful attractions to your young child.

But Eggs do still set the stage for most Easter baskets. This too can be creatively done.

You can make your own Easter Eggs from a variety of items or buy colored plastic eggs from your local retail store.

One of my fondest memories is making my mother "permanent" a Easter Egg Basket. The basket was white plastic with the traditional Easter Basket form and the eggs were real egg shells with their yokes blown out. I then took the empty shells and using a variety of fingernail polish, delicately painted each shell with various colors of polish. The end result was a enamel hardened shell of brightly colored eggs. This made it possible for my mom to dig out the basket from her decorations, each Easter and place it as a center piece on the table. No one worry about soiled eggs!

If you are wanting to keep the Egg tradition in Easter, but not the hassle of dying eggs each year, you might consider this option.

Another option to consider is the use of plastic eggs filled with candies or small toys that the children can go out searching for as part of the Easter Egg Hunt.

For those wanting to have a more religious observance of Easter, you may consider having other activities that aren't affiliated with the eggs or perhaps having the children's baskets filled with books relating to your beliefs suitable to the age of the child receiving the basket. We should always remember that toddlers are far too young to comprehend the deep philosophy of FAITH. For them the bobbles and colors of these secular holidays do pull hard on them. So its often important to make sure the alternative is just as colorful and fun, if you are seeking to discourage the Easter Egg observance.

As a non-Christian raised in a Christian household as a child, I have seen all three worlds and the collision that takes place in our children's lives since the "secular" holiday of Easter is promoted at schools.

I won't debate the origins of secular Easter observances, but it too has faith-based roots. As a non-Christian mother raising two non-Christian children, in a society that blended a monotheistic faith belief regarding Easter with the non-monotheistic faith traditions of Easter... it was hard to really explain to my children. To them it was "all about" candy and colored eggs and new clothes. "What's wrong with that?" Its impossible as a parent to really answer with a deeper answer since it is us then that is bringing in the other philosophies; not the "holiday" observance. To the children its about play and that's all its about.

So its best in the end to make sure you have some form of PLAY and celebration taking place that can distract your children from the aspects of Easter you may not want them to participate in, if there is any at all concerning you.

Whatever you do, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not get an Easter Bunny for your children!

Or Easter Chicks. The harm caused to these animals by well meaning parents and zealous children who don't know what it takes to care for them is so great! While some retailers promote "Easter chicks" remember they grow up into chickens that will need housing and food for up to 20 yrs. Yes they can live that long! If you want chickens, buy them because you want chickens. Not because they are cute and adorable and an icon of Easter.

Consider instead giving your children coloring pages with bunnies and chicks and Easter Eggs. Here are some links to some coloring pages that your kids can enjoy.

Chicks & Eggs in Basket

Happy Easter Coloring Page

Coloring Page - Chicks w shells

Beautiful Easter Eggs

Easter hat Duckling - Easter Coloring Page

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 1

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 2

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 3

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 4

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 5

Easter Bunny Coloring Sheet 6

Easter Eggs

Not only can the basket be reclaimed and be given a second life; but so can the egg.
Plastic eggs can be saved and used in craft projects or you can use the hollow halved egg as a mold for plaster eggs for your backyard chicken flock.

You can also take the simple plastic egg and use it as a foundation base for Christmas ornaments whereby you glue beads and other items such as ribbon to its service.

You can take the lowly plastic egg and make jeweled boxes, using glitter or small beads.

Or make a beautiful ornament or place namecard for a special event for children:

Or for an adult parties planned for this spring or summer.

So whatever you end up doing for Easter, consider the multi-purpose potential of the basket/container & the eggs you use as your Easter Basket and use your time and money wisely.

The more creative you are the further your budget may stretch.

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