How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project!

Hanging Produce Baskets

I needed a place to store produce and we really didn’t need to hang more clothes in the cabin behind the galley, which we now consider to be the pantry.

Answer: turn the hanging locker into a produce locker with hanging baskets.

I showed what I did on TBG’s Facebook page on Saturday and promised to give details on how to do it. Note – my space had a hanging rod that went from front to back, not side to side. You could do it just as easily with one that went side to side.

The basic idea came from a post here on The Boat Galley (!) where Jackie Bartz showed a hanging fruit basket she’d made using plastic colanders (see it here). Once I had the supplies, it took me less than half an hour to make and install it.How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project

With my space, I needed rectangular containers. I wanted ones that were ventilated, but that had solid bottoms in case I got a rotten potato or squished tomato – it’d be a lot easier to clean up and nothing would drip to the next basket down. Sterilite containers – the same ones I like for organizing lockers – were the answer. I did some measuring and the medium sized ones would work for me.

If you’re looking to do hanging baskets, you can find some to fit almost any space. The key is to get ones that are sturdy enough for what you’ll put in them so they won’t bend into a taco shape. If necessary, you can strengthen bins by gluing wood or a piece of a plastic cutting board on the bottom.

How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY projectI wanted to loop the hanging line through the existing holes in the baskets, but I knew that with the line I was using, most knots would slip right through. And I knew that trying to tie the knots at exactly the right places to keep the bins level would be a pain.

So I cheated and used cordlocks – those things that you use on laundry bags and ditty bags to easily open and close them. I got mine in the camping department at Walmart; they’re a little cheaper from Amazon. You’ll need four for every level of baskets plus an additional four (in other words, I used 16 for three levels of baskets).

You also need some nice looking 1/8” or 3/16” line. Almost any line this size will be strong enough. The only “special” thing is that it needs to melt nicely when you burn the ends.

Measuring the line is not an exact science. I simply held it around the hanger bar where I’d hang the baskets and then out to where I thought the corner of the bin would be and down to the level of the bottom bin. Then I added a couple feet to allow for tying off the line and just in case my guesstimate was off a bit. You need a total of four pieces of line this length.

Burn the ends of the line and use your wet fingers to (carefully!) make each end into a point that will be easy to pass through the cordlock. Dave cringes every time I “shape” the melty end of line but it’s one of those things I learned to do in Scouts that is really handy. Yes, I have occasionally gotten tiny burns on my fingers but nothing that even raises a blister. Of course, I take no responsibility if you get a burn.

If you haven’t shaped the end of a line before, you hold the end of it in a flame like “normal” burning the ends. When the end melts a bit, quickly blow it out if it’s caught fire, lick your fingers, and form the end into a point (re-lick your fingers if you need to do a second pass).

If the line is particularly limp, making it hard to thread through a hole, you can also pass the section just behind the end quickly though the flame. It won’t really melt but will just shrink a little and have a bit more body to it.

How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project

Put a cordlock on one end of each line and tie an overhand knot right at the end of the line. Push the cordlock against it.

Take your bottom bin and thread the other end of each line from the bottom corner outside to inside, then (with the size baskets I used; yours may be different) inside to out through the next to the top hole and back to the inside through the top hole.

Slip another cordlock on each line – this will form the stopper for the next basket. To “measure” where I wanted the cordlock, I took the line over the top of the basket and down to where the previous cordlock was and set the new one to line up with it. This worked with the spacing I had and my baskets – you could also just measure up a certain distance from where the line comes through the last hole. Set the cordlocks on each line.

How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project

Run the line through the bins in the same way as before and add more cordlocks for each level until you’ve got as many as you want.

How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project

Hanging the baskets in the locker was the only part where it gets a little awkward – or at least it was for me. Take one of the back lines and wrap it around the hanging pole and bring it back down to the basket. Pass it through one of the top holes and put a cordlock on it on the outside of the bin. Do this with the other back line, then the front lines. Exactly how you run the lines will depend on your locker and bin configuration.

How to make your own hanging fruit baskets -- a 30-minute easy DIY project

Once all four lines are on, adjust the cordlocks you just added until the bins are hanging level and at the height you want. If needed, adjust any other levels until you are happy with the bin arrangement.

I left the ends of the lines long for now – wove them through the holes in the top bin – and will cut them off in a week or so once I know I like the arrangement of the bins.

I plan to add a curtain to provide shade for the produce but other projects have priority right now. For the time being, I’m just putting a dish towel over things like potatoes that like to be in the dark.

Wondering just what all you can put in bins like this? Well, I store most of my veggies in bins as there is just no space in our boat’s tiny refrigerator.

Storing Veggies without Refrigeration Quick ReferenceA while back, I made a cheat sheet for storing veggies without refrigeration — notes on how to store various things and how long they’ll last. It’s really just the tip of the iceberg as far as storing food without refrigeration goes, but I’m happy to share it to get you started.

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  • Jackie
    Posted at 27 October 2014 Reply

    Good idea with the cord locks, Carolyn! I may just use those on the fruit basket I have now in the kitchen. (Yes, we’ve gone to land, but still have the boat.) It NEVER seems to hang level no matter what’s in it or not. The one on the boat never seemed to have this problem!

  • Janice Armstrong
    Posted at 27 October 2014 Reply

    Who has an unused hanging locker just kicking around….lol?

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 October 2014 Reply

      Well, unused in the sense that we have no hanging clothes. 🙂

    • Janice Armstrong
      Posted at 27 October 2014 Reply

      Ok fair enough…we fill every spare inch….mostly with tools I hate to say. My husband needs to organize better.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 October 2014 Reply

      We have plenty of tools, too . . . but Dave DOES like to eat. Particularly veggies. He got one full for tools, I got one for food.

  • Jo C
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    You used hard bottomed baskets so you could clean up a problem easily, but I see no easy way to dis-assemble this for cleaning. Care to continue?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

      I can just reach in and pick up the bad item, wash the basket and then wipe it with a bleach solution and let it dry, then put food back in. I check the bins every day so I can’t imagine something getting so bad that I had to dissemble the whole thing, but if I had to, I could.

  • jim kindred
    Posted at 15 March 2016 Reply

    Love this Carolyn, except I’m going to replace my hanging closet shelves with these baskets…

  • Melinda Taylor
    Posted at 20 July 2016 Reply

    Who has unused hanging lockers????

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 20 July 2016 Reply

      We just don’t have hanging clothes on the boat. So now it’s a locker in use!

  • Ellen Jacobson
    Posted at 20 July 2016 Reply

    Great idea! I might do this in the hanging locker in our v-berth as a temporary solution.

  • Melissa Johnson
    Posted at 11 September 2017 Reply

    neat! i might use this for our truck camper!

  • Beth Coates
    Posted at 11 September 2017 Reply

    Any news on your Barefoot Gal?

  • Anne Driver
    Posted at 11 September 2017 Reply

    Super cool! Thanks for sharing, but I am unfamiliar with the phrase “unused space”.

  • Kimberly Lancashire
    Posted at 12 September 2017 Reply

    I did something similar in our galley using woven baskets and twine. Great space saver!

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