Tidy Trunk Basket

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This tall basket in the trunk of my van came into my life accidentally. When I went to Walmart to purchase the baskets for my laundry hallway (click link to see my "no guilt laundry system"), I had miscounted the 8 baskets that I needed. They were all stuffed inside one another, and when I got home to set everything up, I realized I had 9 baskets. I felt terrible of course, but couldn't run right back to Walmart, because I'm sure the kids were exhausted (I'm sure I was right there with them), and the happy window of time for outings had ended. I put the basket in the back of my car to return later. 

Over the course of the week until I was going back to the store, I started conveniently throwing things into the basket. I started to realize how convenient it was to have a catch-all in the back of my van. This was exactly what I had been needing, and I hadn't even realized it. Balls were no longer rolling out the van doors the second the doors were opened, there was actually flat space for me to set the milk on without it tipping over on the way home from the store, and I wasn't shoving everything around when I arrived at the trunk of my car with a full cart of groceries. It provided vertical storage in a space I'd never really considered that to be possible. 

Now that I had this new insight into my life, there's no way I could go back. Instead of returning the basket, I marched it back into the check out line, and had them scan it for me so I could pay for it and keep it. I think the sweet check out lady thought I was a nut, hauling this basket in from the car with all my kids. But  I wanted to have happy instead of guilty feelings when I looked at my new found friend. It also worked out to be a good way to teach my children by example about the value of honesty. I don't always find great opportunities for that.

Now that I've had this basket in the car for years, I've found tons of different ways to use it. Right now we're wrapping up soccer season, so it's usually filled with camping chairs, a picnic blanket, and soccer gear. We're moving on to basketball season in a couple weeks. So pretty soon it will look like this:

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 Basketballs, and of course extra jackets, because with basketball season comes cooler weather. And it seems whenever we arrive at the park during the fall, it's colder than we thought. I try to keep an extra jacket for each child in the back of the car during the cold months. A flat of water is also a must have. Seems some one is always thirsty!

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During the summer time, it's so hot here, we hit the pool several times a week (if not daily). Its much easier to keep our pool toys and gear in the car. It's a great place to put those noodles and floatation devices that seem to always be in the way or flying out of the trunk. 

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One of my very favorite uses for this basket is when we go on vacation. It drives my husband crazy that we always have to make room for this thing, but it is so functional I can't go without it! We put all our pillows and blankets in there  (you know all the special blankies no one can seem to sleep without). Before we had the basket, every time we'd open up the trunk at the gas station to get in the cooler or pull something out, the pillows seemed to tumble out and into some mud puddle or sticky trickle of dumped out soda or something. The other great thing about it, is that when we get to the hotel, or grandma's house, etc. I bring the basket inside and use it as a dirty clothes hamper. With all my kids, it gets really tricky to keep the dirty and clean clothes separate when we're traveling. It also keeps our destination tidier, so I don't feel like we're such slobs. It's been awesome. Then when we pack up to travel home, I dump all the dirty clothes into a suitcase and it makes washing and sorting laundry so much easier when I get back.

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Who knew such a simple thing could bring someone so much joy and versatility?! I just love it. It's changed my life. A big shout out to my mother who taught me to be honest in all my dealings, or I may never have discovered such a wonderful gem! Thanks, Mom!!

Any great hacks you guys have out there to keep the car more organized? Please comment below. I'm always looking for new ideas!

Hillary HessComment