The One (Unexpected) Organizing Essential I Never Pass Up at My Local Goodwill

published May 2, 2024
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I’m obsessed with finding cool secondhand decor at thrift stores. As a result, my apartment is a well-balanced mix of modern and vintage pieces. But as much as I get a thrill out of hunting for gorgeous colored glassware for my bar, antique picture frames for my walls, and brass knickknacks for my shelves, there’s nothing I love more than a thrifted basket

Baskets are one of the best and most stylish ways to keep any space organized. If you buy them at a thrift store, you can get quality options for under $10 — often significantly cheaper than similar styles from big-box or craft supply retailers, too. I’ve even found many for as low as $1.99 while thrifting in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. 

Woven baskets are versatile enough to be repurposed into unique storage solutions or decor — I love to use them as plant pot covers or gift-wrapping vessels — so you can count on plenty of bang for your buck, regardless of its size. Below, I’m sharing my tips for sourcing affordable secondhand baskets and how to style them in your space.

Credit: Jessie Quinn

Where to Buy Cheap Baskets

You’ll find some of the best high-quality yet budget-friendly baskets at thrift stores like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or small consignment shops. These stores often have one-of-a-kind styles that you can mix and match as storage bins, decorative accents, and more. Average prices usually range from around $1.99 to $5.99, depending on where you shop. Some flea market vendors also sell baskets, although prices can vary, so you may end up spending slightly more.

If you want a more cohesive look or aren’t having any luck at a secondhand store, you can also shop for more well-priced baskets at stores like HomeGoods, T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Homesense, and IKEA. I also find some of the best deals at JOANN and Michaels.

Credit: Jessie Quinn

How to Organize with Baskets

Relying on thrifted baskets for storage is my go-to organization hack because they’re so multifunctional and match the aesthetic of my apartment perfectly. I slip them over plant pots to create a more textured look, style them as kitchen table centerpieces to anchor seasonal decor, and hide eyesores like my internet router and extension cords with them. I also use them to stash my dog’s overflowing toy collection. I once even made my own woven basket, which I keep on top of my fridge to stash reusable food storage bags. 

One of the downsides of thrifting baskets is you rarely find matching sets, so it’s a little trickier to achieve a uniform aesthetic. I actually like that there are so many different varieties for all sorts of spaces, though — whether you need a large lidded basket for blanket storage or small baskets and woven bins to tuck inside desk drawers as organizers. 

If you’re looking for some of the best ways to use thrifted baskets for storage and organization, here are a few of my favorite ideas. 

Bathrooms

I love to use a petite lidded basket on top of my toilet tank for extra toilet paper rolls. You can also use small baskets to hold cotton balls, Q-tips, hair ties, feminine care products, and other essentials. If you have the storage space — and find some similar-looking baskets at the thrift store — you can also line a few along a small shelf to store extra hand towels and toiletries. I like having a basket under the sink to keep cleaning products together as well. 

Closets

While I don’t have any in my current closet setup, I’ve used thrifted baskets in the past to store scarves and belts, keep some of my smaller handbags together on a shelf, and organize hats. You can also convert smaller baskets into top drawer dividers for your socks and underwear. 

Craft Supplies

I own a lot of craft supplies. I’m lucky enough to have a large storage closet — and I even use some smaller baskets to keep this area more organized — but I almost always keep a project (or two) in my living room. To keep the space from looking cluttered, I found a large basket at a thrift store that holds yarn for current crochet projects. I also keep a smaller version under my accent chair with my cross-stitch projects. 

Bar

When decorating my bar area, I had a hard time styling it in a way that didn’t feel super crowded. To remedy this, I found a large, shallow basket and used it to group together my bottles, utensils, shaker, and ice bucket. Now my bar feels more streamlined and is easy to keep organized.