Mother Earth Living

Best Products for Home Organization

Conquer clutter with natural, handcrafted storage solutions.
By Leah Kaplan
January/February 2004

Crafted from split bamboo and stitched with rattan, this nested set of two Bamboo Lattice Boxes from the Container Store is perfect for hiding things you use every day: keys, cell phones, toiletries.
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Admit it. You’ve got too much stuff and nowhere to stash it. You want easy access to everything, but you don’t want it all lying in a jumble in plain view.

“Our lives are more complicated, with many more records to maintain. We don’t know what to keep and what to throw away anymore,” explains Michelle Lamb, senior editor of The Trend Curve, a publication that forecasts trends in design and home furnishings. “And we don’t necessarily have more closets just because we have more things.”

So how can you turn clutter and chaos into order and calm? A raft of new home organization and storage products makes streamlining your life easy—and you don’t have to compromise on design, style, or materials. Beautifully handcrafted baskets, boxes, and other containers—made from natural fibers such as rattan, water hyacinth, and bamboo—provide both practical and striking “clutter catchers.”  

Double duty

These Iringa baskets from Sundance are works of art and storage pieces rolled into one. Handmade by the women of the Njombe region of Southern Tanzania, they’re traditionally used to transport food to market and gifts to wedding festivals. Woven from a reed-like grass called milulu, which grows wild in swampy areas, and naturally dyed, they come in nesting sizes ranging from 51/2 to 17 inches in diameter. $169 for a set of five. (800) 422-2770.   

Paper trail

You may not be able to prevent paper from piling up, but now you’ve got the perfect place to put it. These Hapao office accessories by Hold Everything are handmade in the Philippines, where skilled artisans cut the skin of the rattan vine into thin strips and wrap them around a rattan frame. A rich tea stain gives the pieces their warm hue. File box, $99. Waste Bin, $44. Magazine butler, $34. Media Box, four compartments hold eighty CDs, thirty-six DVDs, or sixteen videos, $79. (800) 421–2264.

Light reading

Some day you’ll find time to read all those magazines and catalogs you’ve been saving. In the meantime, Crate and Barrel’s oval, oversize rattan magazine basket provides a stylish place to stow them. $49.95. (800) 967-6696.

The catch-all 

Crafted from split bamboo and stitched with rattan, this nested set of two Bamboo Lattice Boxes from the Container Store is perfect for hiding things you use every day: keys, cell phones, toiletries. $54.98 for a set of two. (888) 266-8246.

Go vertical

This five-basket tower from Gaiam keeps items tucked away but still within easy reach. Crafted by artisans in the Philippines of recycled wrought iron, handwoven rattan, and formaldehyde-free, multidensity fiberboard. Each basket is 9 inches high by 11 inches wide. $249. (877) 989-6321.

Incognito

It’s an ottoman, it’s a side table, it’s extra seating. Lift up the top, and there’s one more surprise: a roomy, wood-lined “secret” compartment. Hold Everything’s Barton woven storage ottoman is made in Indonesia of water hyacinth reeds over a rattan frame. The legs are solid hardwood. The compartment is spacious enough to store blankets, games, or toys. 28 inches in diameter, 211/2 inches high. $299. (800) 421-2264.








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