Some family heirlooms are valuable: diamond rings, antique furniture. Some are sentimental: letters and photos from a time when, well, people wrote letters and printed photos. Some are practical: savings intended for weddings or mortgages, travel or education. And some are intangible: the traits and traditions that define not what we have, but who we are.
Some are none of the above, as I recently learned by inheriting a cool 14 baskets of various shapes and sizes. Admittedly, I brought the situation on myself. When I was sifting through my late grandmother’s belongings and listening to my heartbroken father bent on keeping it all in the family (“You need a countertop deep-fryer, right, Em?”), the baskets seemed a harmless undertaking -- maybe even a useful one.
I nested them, Tetris-like, and shipped a box to my tiny apartment, where they’ve since invaded every corner. A floppy, totelike number leans by the couch, corralling this month’s magazines. Another, with straight sides and a chevron weave, became a trash can. A shallow bowl with a sunburst pattern holds jewelry, and even a homely underdog has found a place guarding off-season sweaters on my topmost closet shelf.
Basket fever is something Martha, whose own ponderous collection requires a freestanding basket house, has long encouraged. Versatile and more charming than most comparably priced alternatives, they’ve graced our pages again and again: as storage and party decor, in entryways and craft rooms, holding flowers and charity donations. And then, of course, there's Easter.
“You would be into baskets,” my cousin joked as I packed up my stash. And you know what? She’s right. I may be a basket lady, but my predecessors have set the bar high for the title -- and I think my grandmother would appreciate how I’ve woven her past into my present.
How do you use baskets around the house?