Rookie Mistake: Not So Secret Storage

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by rookies… aka us. And no we are not judging because we have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Remember the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. We’ve both made ALL of these decorating mistakes in our own homes and simply want you to learn from us so you can make your home look amazing.

Rookie Mistake – Storage

Avoid these home storage mistakes

Now that January is here, it seems that most everyone has organizing on the mind (including us!). A new year offers the chance to start fresh, declutter, and get every nook and cranny of your home totally organized. And we think any organization project is a good one because it means you’re giving your home and routine some TLC.

However, before you go out and buy all the things to corral the clutter, we did want to chat about some storage mistakes we see when it comes to getting organized.

Too Much Visual Clutter

We use baskets to decorate and hold items all the time. In fact, we’d argue that they’re the best organization tool out there. But, we definitely gravitate towards some baskets over others. And it’s safe to say that we won’t ever decorate with see-through baskets or organizational systems.  Clear organizational bin from the Container Store

Image via The Container Store

Take the above piece from The Container Store for instance. Yes, it is a great way to organize toys and random items. But there is a slim chance that any normal home’s toys are going to look that cute and styled behind those frosted plastic fronts. Let’s be honest…in most homes it would be a hot mess in there.

This storage system would work 10x better if those fronts weren’t see-through and all of the clutter was hidden away. Then your eye would be drawn to the art and other cute decor in the playroom! We see this happen fairly often when we visit homes. It’s great that people are trying to organize their items, but their hard work can look messy when you choose the wrong storage items or baskets.

Wire baskets for storage

Wire Basket via The Container Store

The wire baskets (above) are incredibly cute, but we’d advise you to steer clear of using these to organize everyday items. Yes, they could look good if you fill them with styled decor, but they’re not super practical to corral random items.

But don’t worry, there are items you can (& should) use to hide all your junk!

How to Avoid this Storage MistakeIkea storage unit in a kid's room

If you use see-through storage containers or wire baskets, it’s a-okay. We’ve used them too! But we do want to offer up alternatives so you can create an organized and efficient space that is free from too much visual clutter.

Wicker Baskets for the Win

White built-ins filled with wicker baskets for storageLet’s chat about our favorite kind of basket to use…wicker. We love wicker baskets because they add warmth and texture to your home while concealing the items inside.

Take my built-ins for instance. I have multiple baskets up there and each one is filled with various items that I need to store. We don’t have much storage in our home, so these baskets are crucial to hold random stuff! If these baskets were see-through then it would add waaaay too much visual clutter up there. Instead, the wicker baskets complement the items that I do want people to look at…like our photos and family mementos. Pottery barn nightstands with baskets

Here’s another good example of using wicker baskets correctly. These nightstands (simillar) in my mom’s bedroom hold 2 wicker baskets that have tons of room for storage! They add texture to the wood piece of furniture and keep the books and magazines inside hidden. Wicker baskets in a pantry makeover

The best part is you can find wicker baskets all over the place. We usually find them at HomeGoods or Marshalls for a steal and they come in all different sizes and depths. If you’re buying some for a particular space, be sure to measure ahead of time so you don’t get ones that are too tall or deep.

Use a lidded basket to hide the contents inside

Lidded Baskets

Keeping with our theme of hiding the clutter in plain sight, let’s chat about our love for lidded baskets. When in doubt, we opt for baskets with lids. This one holds extra blankets in my mom’s guest room, and we have a similar one in our family room with the same duty.

 Use a lidded basket for blanketsLidded baskets in a nursery for storage

Bridget has a couple lidded baskets in Ben’s nursery and his playroombasement playtimeA lidded basket to hide away baby toys

This smaller basket holds extra toys for the little guy (from Marshalls) but incorporates seamlessly into the room’s decor. The larger basket is this one from Crate & Kids. When in doubt, opt for a basket with a lid!

Organized bookshelves with secret storage

More Secret Storage Ideas

Here’s a look back at Bridget’s office in her old house (it was a dreamy space!) where she rocked so much secret storage (in fact, this post shows you the 5 ways she organized this office). This bookcase looks pretty and styled, but it’s also holding extra goodies (like mail supplies and stamps in the box).

We both love buying decorative boxes that can look good and also hold some random supplies. 

This wood box on our built-ins (from HomeGoods) holds all of our random electronic cords. I don’t understand how one couple can amass so many damn cords (where do they all go to??), but I certainly don’t want to throw any out because then I will immediately need it. #thestruggleisreal

Our Favorite Storage Items

If you’re getting things in tip-top shape this year (hell yeah girl!), then here are some of our favorite organization items that are functional and stylish.

Our favorite storage baskets to get organized

1 // 2 //  3 (similar) // 4// 5 // 6 // 7 (no longer sold) // 8 // // 10 // 11

Truth time…do you make these rookie storage mistakes? It’s okay, we have too! But our homes are looking more streamlined and less busy with these simple storage solutions!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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