What Is A Boyfriend Basket, And Why Do You Need One In Your Home?

Living with a lover can be blissful — until it's not. According to a 2009 study published in the journal Family Relations, 25% of conflicts between married heterosexual couples are about housework. You know how it goes: One of you takes notes from Marie Kondo, while the other thrives in clutter, making it nearly impossible to find a middle ground.

If you're the tidy partner, you may consider throwing your S.O.'s stuff in the trash — or at least make an empty threat of doing so in hopes that it'll teach them to finally put their socks in the laundry hamper. But as clinical psychologist Dr. Catherine Huckle explained to Metro, control and comfort can be major reasons why someone prefers chaotic environments. "We can sometimes hold beliefs that having stuff around us builds safety, or that by parting with something we will experience loss, which can be a painful emotion and trigger memories of other previous losses," Dr. Huckle shared. In other words, purging your partner's stuff for them could be traumatizing.

So what can you do when their belongings are taking over your shared space? A boyfriend basket may be the perfect fix.

What is a boyfriend basket?

Years ago, a comedy sketch YouTube video about a "magic" coffee table went viral, likely because of how relatable it was for cohabiting couples. In the clip, a clueless man tells his girlfriend that anything left on the living room table vanishes overnight, when in reality, the overworked girlfriend is clearly the one cleaning the items for him. And spoiler: She leaves him at the end of the video.

The boyfriend basket works in a similar way but (hopefully) without leading to a breakup. The idea is simple: You find a basket or box — as large as you see fit — and when it's time to do a Sunday reset or tidy before guests arrive, you chuck all your partner's out-of-place items in it — out of sight, out of mind. And while the container may be called a boyfriend basket, it can be used for any gender, a spouse, or even a messy roommate.

Then, when your partner is ready to retrieve their lost glasses or stray earbud, they'll check the boyfriend basket. These baskets can be as decorative or as inconspicuous as you like, as long as the contents inside are concealed and — finally! — out of your way.

Why the boyfriend basket works

If you've ever tried nagging your partner into tidying up more often, you might have realized that these verbal reminders are rarely effective. Yet becoming their personal maid isn't a great option either. "Typically, women [in relationships with men] are the ones to voice frustration regarding the allocation of household chores," clinical psychologist Dr. Sharone Weltfreid explained to Better by Today. "They express that they can't rely on their partner to complete the requested household tasks or to do so in a timely manner. Consequently, they will do the tasks themselves and resentment will build."

A boyfriend basket is an alternative where, to an extent, you're still tidying up your S.O.'s mess, but without going as far as organizing and putting away their items for them. A quick toss in the basket takes little time or energy, meaning you won't feel as resentful toward them later.

At the same time, you still get the bare floor and spotless coffee table you wanted — a benefit that can make a major impact on your mental health. According to a 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, spouses who said they considered their homes to be cluttered were more likely to have high levels of cortisol, the body's stress hormone. 

While a basket may not solve all your problems, it's at least a good start for managing the madness.