Tip #170: Put your phone in a basket.
Hello, my name is Erin and I am a very tidy person. (You likely already know this.) I hate clutter. I never let things accumulate on countertops or tabletops. If I wake up in the morning and there are dishes in the kitchen sink, it generally puts me in a funk. (I’m working on it.)
Knowing this about me, people often ask how I cope with kid clutter. Brushing off the gendered hint of mom shaming, I’ll say that it mostly doesn’t bother me terribly but also that we keep a small number of toys, that we encourage our kids to play with just a few things at a time, and that we coax them to clean up as they go. My kids are pretty good about putting their toys away. And pretty good about bringing them back out again. I’m pretty good at embracing temporary messes as part of the package. Sometimes I step on a tiny block and swear a whole bunch, but I still love my kids.
What drives me crazy in a small space is not the kids’ toys. It’s phone cords. Why are they always around and why can’t they make themselves more scarce?
Enter the garlic basket.*
Bear with me. I generally discourage organization tactics that rely on buying one sized-to-fit solution that works for awhile but that eventually just accumulates dust or falls out of favor. When I’ve tried to wrangle cords in the past, I’ve mostly done so by tying up extra length of cord and keeping things as tidy as possible without buying (or making) anything specific. This works quite well until it doesn’t. The thing about phone cords is that they always need moving. We take them to work, we bring them on weekends away, we move them to a different outlet if we’re out of battery and need a quick charge and also need to put our feet up. Even if you’re lucky enough to have more than one of them, chances are that your phone cord is not a static item in your home. As soon as you wind up your cord and stash it neatly, it needs unwinding again. I wanted something tidy, but flexible.
Pinterest abounds with DIY solutions for phone charging stations. Most of them are large. Many of them are ugly. Nearly every single one takes up precious real estate on counters or tables. Not so with the garlic basket! How do I love my garlic-basket-turned-cell-phone-charging-station? Let me count the ways. It’s pretty. It can be useful beyond stashing a phone should we ever live in a world where these things don’t require a cord. A wide weave means that options for snaking wires and plugs abound. And there’s plenty of room for more than one phone and cord. It’s a family affair. James and I both keep our phones in this basket which means we always know where our phones and cords are and when we do need to make off with a cord and its plug, that’s easy too.
I realize this is somewhat more prescriptive than lots of my small space tips. By all means, ignore it entirely if you already have a wonderful solution that works for you (do tell!). But in case you find yourself with phone cords and their attending phones that sit in your stand mixer, or snake across your drying dishes, or gravitate to the small pool of water on the kitchen counter, and generally haunt you from across the room, perhaps this tip will provide some tidy encouragement.
* I bought this garlic basket in the custom elephant garlic basket size to accommodate our large cell phones! If you decide to go this route, take a look at the measurements and decide what would be right for you!