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It probably sounds simple enough: Storage containers help you organize, so you should buy some. The end. If only it were that simple, dear reader. Are you looking for garage storage? Or under-bed storage? Do you know whether collapsible storage bins would be right for you, or would fabric storage bins be better suited to your home? What about storage bins with lids? Have you even thought about lids?!
The fact is that the best storage bins for your home (and your life) are out there, you just have to know what to look for and what you want (for example, is an eyesore-y storage box fine if it gets the job done, or would you prefer decorative storage bins you don’t have to hide)? Fear not: We’ve got the storage solutions to all your clutter problems, and answers to your most burning questions.
At 33 inches by 17 inches by 5¾ inches, these under-bed storage bins are big but not too big. Each one can store the equivalent of one large comforter or 20 pieces of clothing. Durable handles make them easy to pull out from under the bed when you need them, and when you’re not using them, they fold up for easy storage.
The downside of fabric storage bins over, say, plastic storage bins, is that the fabric options can get dirty. To clean, just wipe down with a damp sponge or cloth. These are also lined with a thin muslin, so any inadvertent stains or spills on the inside shouldn’t reach the outside.
If Marie Kondo is your spirit guide, these clear storage bins could be the key to sparking all the joy in your life. Clear out your fridge and place them on every surface to create an organized, color-coded coldbox of clean lines and easy-to-find items.
The rounded makes this storage box less likely to warp in high temperatures than others—a common problem—so the cover stays put solidly and keeps contents dry. The hinged top is lockable, but no lock is included. The box is 50 inches x 25.5 inches x 25.5 inches. The white wicker design is easy to match, so you can also buy the brand’s other gear such as outdoor garbage bins, hose reels, dining chairs, or other variations of their storage boxes.
This 30-pound baby assembles easily (i.e. without tools) and comes with feet that remain stable even on uneven surfaces. The ventilated shelves resist mold and mildew, and if you find yourself needing even more space, you can interlock multiple units. For added stability, use the included wall mounts to secure your garage storage.
For under 19 bucks, you get six bins (so, just over $3 per bin), making these a true bargain. These aren’t appropriate for storing really heavy or spill-prone things, but if all you’re looking for is adding a pretty organizational component to your room, they’ll do the trick!
The world of storage is a vast one. The best storage bins for your garden are different from the best ones for your garage, and definitely different from the toy storage bins for your living room, where you want to store all the kids’ stuffed animals and foot-piercing Legos. There are loads of things to consider before you buy. For example, do you need something clear so that you can see right into the bin to find what you’re looking for? Do you need something that will stand up to the mold and mildew that breeds in a garage? What about moths—are you planning to pack away your best cashmere sweaters into a box for the summer? And dust—is dust a major concern for you?
No matter what you’re looking for, all the best bins have some qualities in common: They’re hardy, easy to access and will help you get your life together. The world is your storage-filled oyster, where you’ve got nothing but room to stow your stuff neatly, safely and, if you want, out of sight.
If the only things under your bed are dust bunnies and monsters, you’re missing a major opportunity when it comes to storage. If you need an out-of-sight place to place things, the empty wilderness between your bed frame and the floor is just calling out to be used.
The key is to make sure that you know exactly how much room you have (particularly height-wise), so you don’t end up buying something that won’t fit. Soft storage containers are the safest way to go, because they’re more forgiving. And if you’ve got a bed skirt, nobody will even know that they’re there.
Fabric storage bins are best for people who plan to hide their mess in plain sight or care a lot about keeping every inch of their home nice and neat. These storage containers are multifunctional and can store everything from toilet paper to magazines to DVDs to Barbies, and the best ones have handles, so you can easily move them around.
If the idea of opening up a linen closet to see rows of perfectly lined-up bins holding soap bottles, bath towels, and boxes of toothpaste sets your heart aflutter, you need fabric containers, stat.
The biggest benefit for clear storage bins is an obvious one—you can see what’s inside! That means time saved rooting around for hours looking for the one thing you need in a sea of opaque bins. They’re also super versatile and appropriate for storing even fruits, veggies, and other pantry items.
If you pick a model with a lid, it allows you to store your stuff safely and securely, without worry about bugs, moisture or any other kind of harm.
The outdoor storage box is a different proposition altogether. It needs to be weather-resistant, have a lockable lid to prevent theft (if that’s a concern for you), and be large enough to store a variety of items, like garden hoses, watering cans, balls, pool accessories, and anything else you’d like to keep handy in the yard.
Some deck storage boxes can even double as a bench if they’re big enough and have compatible weatherproof cushions available.
Garage storage is a particular beast. If you’re planning to stow any potentially hazardous materials or sharp objects, you want to make sure they’re safe and out of reach of little hands. Moisture is also rampant in a garage, so you want to guarantee that the material of your storage bin, storage cabinet, or shelf is resistant to mold, mildew, rust and any other kind of degradation it might face.
Aesthetics are likely less of an issue than the storage bins you’re planning to strew about your living room or bedroom, which doesn’t mean you have to get something ugly: The best garage storage solutions will neatly organize your things but also stand up to wear and tear for years.
Unless you need something that’s seriously weather-, mold-, mildew- or bug-proof, there’s no need to invest a fortune in your storage solutions. Especially if you’re interested in the softer side of storage (i.e. not plastic hard bins), you can get a lot for very little. Consider your particular needs, and if they’re pretty low-key (you want to organize the reading materials in your bathroom, you need a place for the cotton balls and pads), a cheap storage bin could be all you need. These are the best storage bins we’ve found for under 20 dollars.
Not all storage bins break the bank, but the ones that do likely have features that cater to specific needs, like weather- or moth-resistance, or are made out of super-hardy material that can take a licking. If affordability is key and you don’t need anything special (i.e. you just need a place to throw your stuff), there are plenty of options that are really reasonable.
Whatever you want! Truly, you can use plastic storage to store hard-edge items that won’t bend, stacks of papers you need to keep safe and malleable mounds of clothes. Plastic bins are particularly great for anything you want to keep airtight (if they have lids), like materials that are sensitive to dust and humidity.
Because clothing can be folded and packed down, soft storage bins are your most space-saving bet, but you need to make sure that the ones you’ve picked will stand up to dust and humidity. If you have the room, there’s certainly no harm in storing clothes in a plastic bin with a lid (and they’re the most effective for seasonal storage, e.g. to keep out moths). Consider space-saving vacuum-seal bags if you’re looking for long-term storage, and if you’re planning to put away an heirloom or treasure, like your wedding dress, look into archival storage so you don’t risk discoloration or any other harm.
Related: Best closet organizers for your clothes
Here’s the great news about the best storage bins on the market: Almost all of them are pretty great. The key is to know your particular needs and wants, and to make sure the thing you’re storing is in the right kind of container. For the most part, logic rules: Don’t keep a hazardous can of paint in a soft collapsible bin in the kids’ playroom, and don’t store your great-grandma’s cameo pin on the shelf in the garage. No matter your price point, getting your home more organized and appealing is just a few boxes, bins, cubes, or canisters away.
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