I Won the Battle Against Cat Clutter in Every Room With These $13 Baskets from Amazon

updated Nov 19, 2020
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Whether you’re a longtime pet parent or a new foster for a furry friend, you likely know the struggle of hunting down your pet’s favorite toy. No matter how much you try to pet-proof your home, you’ll likely find stray Kongs wedged under furniture, and catnip-filled plushes tucked inside throw blankets. Unless you’ve trained your dog exceptionally well, the chances those same toys will return to your pet’s designated space at the end of a play session are slim to none.

I know from firsthand experience: My two cats are very particular about their toys in unique ways. Holly will only play with a specific catnip toy shaped like a duck, while Olive will play with whatever toy you throw into the next room—and only the next room. That means my nightly wind-down often includes hunting down their toys and depositing them into one safe space for future playtimes, lest those toys go missing into the great unknown.

But it wasn’t until I invested in a set of three cotton rope baskets from Amazon—which come out to just under $13 each—to corral the cat toys that the nightly chore became easier. I set up one basket in each room of my home, initially to serve as temporary catch-alls for their toys. As it turns out, my cats love the decor decision as much as I do.

The baskets make accessing toys so much easier

No longer does Holly have to whine that her duck got trapped under the couch in a spot that she can’t reach, and Olive has stopped waking me up in the middle of the night to play. Because there are designated toy spaces in each room, they know to look to the baskets before they come to me (though I should note that I will always happily help out and play with my cats… I would just prefer not to at 3 a.m.).

When it comes to daytime play, the baskets also help to put more toys in arm’s reach. Cats aren’t particularly known for their skills in the “fetch” department, and that’s OK—by picking up a basket and setting it down next to me, I can keep the cats running to and fro without needing to retrieve their toy every few minutes.

Credit: Katie Currid

The baskets contain clutter without clashing with your decor

I’m a big fan of what Taryn Williford, Apartment Therapy’s lifestyle director, calls “clutter bins.” Basically, they’re designated spaces for you to place the things that are out of place in certain rooms… or so you think. Dump the belongings in the bin to deal with later, or create a space for them in that room if you realize they’re there all the time.

The cat toys definitely fall in the latter category. While I initially invested in these baskets as a way to transport the toys back to the living room at the end of the day, I realized my cats would bring their toys into whichever room they chose. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Now, the cats have a designated space in each room for their toys—and I get the peace of mind knowing that the white and tan baskets don’t clash with the rest of my decor. Everyone wins.

Your cats might think the baskets are the toys

The first day I set the baskets of cat toys out on the floor, Olive almost immediately sat down in the basket and refused to move. Since then, it’s very common to look over and see one of the cats dozing in their basket, which is sturdy yet flexible enough to handle the most aggressive of cat naps.

This makes sense, given how much cats like cardboard boxes and other small, enclosed spaces. One study even found that boxes help alleviate stress in cats. Because cats are also bad at conflict resolution (yes, really!) they might use the box as a way to establish a boundary with another animal in your home.

Credit: Mandy Holesh

Of course, you don’t have to get a new basket—hell, a shoebox you don’t mind leaving out and in the open will suffice. The trick is to make sure the sides are low enough for your pet to access their toys easily without your help, and that the design complements the rest of your space. Then, whenever you need to declutter, simply drop the toys into a basket. Your pets will know where to come to first for their next play session—and you can rest easy knowing you haven’t lost yet another catnip mouse.