Best Storage Bins: Your Ultimate Guide

Storage bins in a playroom

Photo by Photographee.eu from Adobe Stock

 

Frankly, it’s already 2020 and you’re still stuck on what the ultimate storage bin is for 2019? Then again, there is a conundrum on what is indeed the best storage bin out in the market.

 

We’ve saved you time by compiling a guide of storage bin know-hows: listed below are the top storage bins right now, tips on taking care of your storage bin, and much more. 

 

Why you need storage bins?

Storage bins are the answer to the otherwise chaotic environment that we are in. Let’s face it: with the passage of time, even the cleanest of environments will eventually be filled with items. These are often used items that we normally reach out for, every time we need them. But later down the line, as time progresses, we tend to discard these items for others. Either it’s a brand new item or a better tool, we then move on to using those more often. Then the old ones get overlooked and become unused.

 

Storage bins allow us to set aside items we do not currently use in an orderly fashion. Thus, we can clear our desktop or work space from items that are of no current use to us. Not only does our work space become cleaner, we’ll find ourselves becoming more productive too. 

 

Top Storage Bins: Our Favorites

 

 

Where to Buy Storage Bins

Due to its practical functionality and popularity, storage bins are available everywhere. There are several storage bin outlets located in popular supermarkets. On the other hand, it would be more convenient to purchase one from an online store. For example, at Storables, not only can you find the best storage bin selection, you’ll also learn how best to maximize usage of each item. If price is a major factor of consideration for you, here’s our guide on where to find cheap storage bins

 

Top 10 Products with Pros & Cons

 

Key Features

  • Large capacity
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Durable construction
  • Dimensions: 16-inch (L) x 11-3/4-inch (W) by 5-1/4-inch (H).

Specifications

Great for use on bookshelves, in closets, or even on beds. These versatile bins are sturdily built, fit perfectly with one another, and are great for just adding a splash of color to any room. 

 

Pros

  • Perfect size for young children to use
  • Smooth edges preventing possible cuts
  • Color doesn’t transfer or rub off
  •  

Cons

  • No lid to secure items inside
  • May crack if dropped
  • Size may be smaller than expected.

Key Features

  • Water, rust and corrosion-proof
  • Stackable with other products from the same company
  • Remove parts easily with its curved bell hopper front
  • Dimensions: 10-7/8″ x 5-1/2″ x 5″

Specifications

Rust, water, and corrosion-proof, these beautiful bins are sure to last you for a long time. The quality of plastic used is excellent, and they can be stacked together to save space and effectively prevent spills. Drawers can be lined up sideways for easy access to the front of the bins.

Pros

  • Available in different colors: red, blue and clear
  • Can be stacked or mounted if needed
  • Front lip makes it easy to pull or push drawers

Cons

  • Able to fit smaller items like stationery and jewelry only
  •  
 

Key Features

  • Secure contents of the box with 4 durable latch buckles
  • WEATHERTIGHT seal keeps items inside safe and secure
  • Dimensions: 17.50″L x 11.75″W x 7.88″H

Specifications

The IRIS 19 Quart WEATHERTIGHT is a heavy-duty storage box that’s best for storing items which have shorter lifespans, such as food. The storage bin lid protects contents by keeping air and moisture out.

Pros

  • Multiple sizes for various sized items
  • Semi-clear for immediate identification of the protected items
  • It can hold up to 25 lbs

Cons

  • Latches are not very durable
  •  

Key Features

  • Special modular integrated design makes these bins fit together perfectly in shelves, cabinets, cabbies, etc.
  • Made from high-quality BPA-free material
  • 4 small square baskets measuring 6 x 4.5 x 2.5″
  • 4 medium rectangle baskets measuring 8.5 x 6 x 2.5″
  • 4 long, slim baskets measuring 12 x 4 x 2.5″
  • 4 extra large baskets measuring 12 x 9 x 2.5″

Specifications

Cheerful and sturdy, instantly brighten up your day with these super handy organizer bins: they’re great for sorting and tidying up messy spaces, and keeping items like cleaning supplies, stationery, kitchen utensils and more.

 

Pros

  • Suitable for freezer storage
  • BPA-free construction

Cons

  • Seems to be quite fragile; a few customers have reported broken pieces upon receiving the product
  •  

Key Features

  • Smooth finish for easy cleaning
  • Holes ensure that air can circulate, thus preventing growth of mold and mildew
  • Titanium inserts for greater durability
  • Outer Dimensions: 13.75 x 10.75 x 5

Specifications

Coming in a pack of 6 baskets, the Sterilite Medium Ultra Basket boasts contoured handles for comfortable  handling and transporting. It measures 13.75 x 10.75 x 5 and can contain a large number of items without taking up too much space.

Pros

  • Tidy and inconspicuous appearance
  • Contoured handles for easy carrying

Cons

  • Pure white appearance makes it easy for the item to look dirty if not maintained regularly.
  •  

 

Key Features

  • 15-gallon capacity perfect for storing items like camping gear and work tools 
  • 6 hasp areas in lid enable tie-down straps or locks to be attached
  • Exterior dimensions (Including Lid) 26” x 17. 75” x 12. 25″ / Interior dimensions: 21. 06” x 12. 8” x 10. 75”

Specifications

Attic or garage running out of space? With their impact-resistant construction, these sturdy containers will keep your items safe and secure for ages to come.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • Waterproof from the sides
  • Great value-for-money

Cons

  • Hard to clean due to raised grooves
  •  

Key Features

  • 6 hasp areas for secure closure
  • Width is 26 inches for a larger item capacity
  •  14.18″L x 14.37″W x 3.13″H

Specifications

Keep your craft projects protected and organized with this portable project case by IRIS USA, Inc. This case is perfect for storing 12″ x 12″ scrapbooking paper, scissors, adhesives, and embellishments. This scrapbook case is also great for protecting office supplies and electronics.

Pros

  • Tub and handles are built from thick heavy-duty plastic for handling heavy loads
  • Stack nicely with one another
  • Remains closed even with rougher handling

Cons

  • Too big to store smaller items
  • Does not have any partitions for segregating items
  •  

Key Features

  • Its clear design makes identification of items quicker
  • Highly comfortable thanks to its innovative latch design, which attaches its lid to its base
  • Index lid allows for easy stacking
  • 18-by-12-1/8-by-12-Inch

Specifications

The transparent surface of the Sterilite 30 Quart Ultra allows contents to be quickly identified, whereas its innovative latch design provides a rugged comfortable grip surface that makes it a joy to handle. A great all-rounder. 

Pros

  • Each box weighs less than 3 pounds when empty
  • Will not leak when holding liquids

Cons

  • Latches are rather flimsy for a large-capacity case
  •  

Key Features

  • Specifically made for heavy-duty storage
  • A reinforced ribbed bottom means you can drag this bin along without fearing that it’ll be damaged
  • Stacks securely to save space
  • Dimensions: 27 1/2 x 16 3/4 x 10 3 4 inches

Specifications

With its space-efficient design and large capacity, this storage bin makes a great addition to any household. Its ordinary-looking appearance nonetheless, the Rubbermaid Brute Tote is a heavyweight that can handle whatever you throw at (into) it.

Pros

  • Walls are thick and sturdy
  • Holes in handles make for easy water drainage
  • Stacks well as claimed

Cons

  • No securing dividers or any additional container for small items within the tub.

Key Features

  • Maximizes shelf space; highly stackable
  • Strong molded handles for greater mobility
  • Highly secure due to padlock eye hole and safety hinges.

Specifications

From garage tools to toys, the Akro-Mils 12-Gallon, Keep Box is ideal for all household storage needs. The clear bottom allows instant identification of contents.

Pros

  • 100% made in the USA
  • Hinges are made of steel
  • Padlock eye holes provides convenience in securing the box

Cons

  • Lids can be somewhat difficult to close
  • Tends to be flimsy and cracks easily

 

Things to Consider When Buying Storage Bins

 

Basically, there are only two main questions that need to be answered, namely: 1) What needs to be stored? and 2) What is the estimated weight of the bin when it’s full? From these two questions, we can then derive the answers to follow-up questions regarding color, size, and more.

 

To find the perfect storage bin, check out the specifics below:

 

Things To Consider When Buying Storage Bins (Part 1)

Miniature Colorful Plastic Baskets for Hou

Photo by OZMedia from Adobe Stock

 

1. What needs to be stored?

1.1 Is it a piece of equipment or a tool?

Select heavy-duty, durable storage that can protect your tools/equipment and withstand their weight. 

2. Are you storing perishable items? (e.g. food, fruits, vegetables)

Go for airtight options to prolong the lifespan of such items.

3. Are they office items? (e.g. paper clips, bond papers, pens)

Accessibility is an important factor to consider; lack of space means you’ll be better off with storage options that have sleek, ergonomic designs.

4. How much weight can your bin carry once filled?

The filled weight should be comparable to the bin’s weight when filled to the brim with water.

 

Things To Consider When Buying Storage Bins (Part 2)

Containers made of plastics, many colors and sizes are placed in the warehouse.

Photo by Ivanna from Adobe Stock

 

1. What size do you require?

Big storage bins are able to contain large tools, whereas small ones are perfect for accessories, stationery, and the like.

2. Should it have handles?

No handles at all to save space and it would fit inside a cabinet. Heavy-duty handles also allow for greater mobility. 

3. Should it have lid covers?

Lids are essential for containing liquids and food items in general. 

3.1 Do you need lids at all?

When it comes to items you frequently reach out for, probably not.

4. Should it be a strong lid with a padlock/padlocks for security?

For tools, go for toolboxes. If you’re looking to store guns, multiple options – including gun cabinets and safes – are available for you to choose from.

4.1 Should it be flip cover with hinges for quick access?

These are perfect for baking supplies and cooking essentials.

4.2 Should there be a seal in it and what type?

We highly recommend lids with seals for fresh food as they tend to spoil quickly when exposed to air.

7. What color should it be?

7.1 Should it be fashionable linked to your room or indoor space?

Color is an important element when you’re intending to display your storage/the contents of your storage.

7.2 Should you be using a clear or semi-clear container? 

Clear containers are ideal for food storage as you can see at a glance if food has spoilt/gotten contaminated.

7.3 Should the bin be colored with a highly fluorescent color for safety?

Brightly colored options are especially ideal for flammable substances/products such as paint and aerosols. 

 

Types of Storage Bins

There are a varied number of materials storage bins can be made from. Each type of material comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages: metal storage bins, for example, are reusable and highly durable, but tend to be expensive, are heavy to carry, and are prone to rusting. This is done so that the bins may serve a variety of uses from carrying a load to protecting what it contains. 

 

The most widely accepted type of storage bins, mainly because it’s best for long term storage and sturdiness
On the other hand, currently, most do categorize large storage bins to either stackable, for long term storage or with wheels, for more of a mobile carrying case.
These are cloth-based types of bins that are best used as accent decor. It’s also a plus that most cloth-based storage bins are very portable.
The rigid design of these storage bins is best for prefabricated space for it to be stored or set aside. Since most Cube storage bins available at the moment are fabric based, they can be used for storing everyday items such as clothes and toiletries.
These are bins made mostly to organize everyday used items and provide an extra decor accent to a room.
The clarity of these bins makes it possible to easily identify it’s contents. These provide for the best ease of access and stored item organization.
These serve to mainly protect the bins contents basic elements, such as dust and crawling insects. These lids provide protection from weather and moisture/liquids.
Kids specific storage bins are simply everyday bins made colorful. Such bins would normally contain child specific items like toys, art stuff and childrens books.
Most of the time, found in shops, these bins are used for organization of hardware materials. That would either be very heavy or very corrosive for ordinary plastic based bins.
These bins are used primarily for organization of clothes or seasonal items. Separating clothing in a closet space is best done with storage bins. This makes it easier to identify each piece of clothing stored in your closet. 

 

 

How to Organize Your Storage Bins

A young girl's closet neatly organized with bins and boxes.

Photo by Becky Wright from Adobe Stock

 

There’s a myriad of ways of going about organizing your storage bins. From arranging them by size to setting a color theme so it would coordinate with your room, it ultimately all boils down to two factors. These would either be: 1) that you’re organizing your items, so you could identify and access the items swiftly or 2) that you’re storing something for the long term.

 

Tackling the latter would be far easier because all you need is to gauge how long you’d like to store the item. Then to organize them one would only need to use colors and labels. This will help in the identification of stored items. Stackable bins are best for these purposes, as well, especially ones fitted with lockable lids.

 

As for organizational purposes or uses of these bins. Organizing the bins would greatly depend on the purpose. Which would mean “Why” were these bins acquired. For example, organizing a simple 2 to 3 bin stack containing everyday used items in school. Setting these stack aside in one corner is already sufficient. Then again let’s say you’d like these bins to be an ambient accent to your school’s decor. Then that’s a whole new set of organizational feat in itself.

 

 

What to Put In Storage Bins

Plastic container bin

Photo by dimasobko from Adobe Stock

 

As you can already tell it’s quite apparent there are only two main purposes for storage bins. Long term or seasonal storage and organization of an otherwise cluttered regularly used items.

 

As such, in terms of long term storage or at the least seasonal storage. Items such as these should require strong bins. But strength aside, depending on the capacity of these bins any heavy item can be stored in them. Then mixed with light items which are also for long term storage.

 

Mixing items in a large storage bin is always tricky especially with the odd shapes and forms of the items placed. Not to mention, the possibility of damage while transporting loose items in a bin. It’s always best practice to place items that match spaces within the bin. This will help in making sure nothing is damaged when a bin is moved.

 

 

How to Store Storage Bins

Most would think that this is simply a repetition of how to organize your storage bins. But no, this is all about how you would maintain the storage bins itself. Storage bins are made of different materials. This is mainly because they are used for different purposes. But most of them are made with quite sturdy plastic-based materials. 

 

These plastic-based bins are easy to maintain. Just make sure to check what methods were used to mold the plastic. These molding methods can be through heat, a chemical solution or both. Then simply prevent these from encompassing your bins environment. For example, prevent heating of the bin by placing it in a well-ventilated area or avoid bin contact with molding chemicals.

 

Then again there are a couple of environmental factors that could contribute to the degradation of your bin. Factors such as temperature and humidity could speed up your storage bins’ lifespan. Storage bins placed in a shed with no ambient temperature control could cause the plastic to melt at high temperatures. So it’d be best to place your bins at a location where these environmental derogatory factors can be prevented.

 

 

How to Seal Your Plastic Storage Bins

There are plastic bins with lids that are already lined with sealants, done so to protect its contents. But what about storage bins that do not come with these seals.

 

Most storage bin seals come in two forms, weatherproof seal and airtight/liquid-tight seals. Weatherproof seals are mostly made of soft foam thick enough not to let particulates or small amounts of moisture in. While airtight/liquid-tight seals are made of rubber thus totally preventing the entry of any form of gas or liquid in or out of the bin.

 

You can simply customize your seal by lining the edge of your bin with these materials before closing your lid. On the other hand for long term storage, it’s best to use duct tape as well to fully seal bins with no sealant.

 

 

How to Prevent Mold in Storage Bins

Prevent germs and mold

Photo by kumashacho from Adobe Stock

 

Molds are inevitable when it comes to long term storage. This is especially true if you’re going to place your long term storage bins in a humid environment. Places like an outdoor shed near a brook or a basement.

 

 

Best Mold-Preventing Storage Bin Products

 

 

 

Storage Methods Of Storage Bins

Don't clutter your closet

Photo by Good Studio from Adobe Stock

 

When storing items for a long time, molds and mildew will form on areas affected by moisture and humidity. Prevent the growth of such fungi by  adjusting some physical aspects of your storage environment. Here’s a list of what to do:

 

Don’t crowd your closet

Ventilation is the key, make sure storage boxes are not stacked too close together.  If the air does not flow, moisture can take hold and produce mold and mildew.

 

Place storage boxes above the floor at best on a pallet

The flow of air under your storage boxes are also critical.

 

Plastic tubs and containers are better for storing your things

Long term storage in a storage room without environment control is a disaster waiting to happen. This is especially true if your storage boxes are made of corrugated paper. Corrugated boxes are good enough for short term storage. The boxes themselves can let air and humidity pass through. Thus avoiding molds and mildews from forming, but are easily degradable due to absorption of moisture in the air due to humidity.

 

Storage Bins Solutions For Humid Homes

Dehumidifier in living room

Photo by tomispin from Adobe Stock

 

Place a dehumidifier and an electric fan in your basement, attic or storage unit

This helps to keep moisture out and the air moving. Also helpful are moisture-absorbing desiccants, like cat litter and charcoal grill bricks. These items can be placed in an open plastic bucket in your basement, or storage space, and will absorb excess moisture. You will need to empty the bucket and restore it with new litter or bricks every 30 days.

 

Clean and dry items thoroughly prior to packing or storing them

These items should be cleaned and treated with a solution to kill mold, like, peroxide, baking soda, or EC3 Mold solution. Any of those solutions will also prevent mold growth while your items are not being used and stored.

 

Don’t stockpile newspapers, paper bags, or magazines

Try to keep only what is necessary and has sentimental value. Store these in labeled plastic containers. Any kind of organic material sitting around is potential food for moisture and mold. Just use discretion with what you keep, and scan the rest or stored electronically.

 

Go for moisture absorbing products that keep humidity from storage bins

One of which are commercial products like silica gel packets. Then there are other products like Alumina, Calcium Chloride, Potassium Chloride,  and Sodium chloride which are great for humidity control as well. 

 

Use charcoal briquettes to help absorb excess moisture

Briquettes, ones made from activated charcoal are best for absorbing water from the air but should be replaced every 30 to 60 days. The chemicals will not be harmful to the fabrics you’re storing.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Storage Bins

 

1. How to make plastic storage bins look nice?

Decorate your plastic storage bins

Photo from https://jenniferperkins.com/

 

Just like any other plastic items, plastic storage bins can be customized to look nice. Then again a simple white sticker label on a black storage bin makes it look nice and neat, aesthetically. 

 

There are a number of ways to customize your plastic bins.

  • Painting your bins.
  • Adding stickers to your bins.
  • Adding accents like beads and strings for a creative effect. 

 

2. How to paint plastic storage bins?

  1. Thoroughly clean the material. 
    • Use oil to take away any glue or stick on material left on the surface of the plastic.
    • Use paint thinner or remover if you intend to repaint an old colored plastic bin.
    • Wash with soap and scrub then make sure it’s fully dry.
  2. If item has scratches, scrub with light sandpaper to even out the scratches.
  3. Dust off leftover plastic dust with a damp cloth and let dry.
  4. If required, cover material with design stencils before painting.
  5. Prepare work area for painting. I.e. cover paint desk with newspaper.
  6. Start painting the item.
  7. Let item dry off. A second or even a third pass of paint coating will ensure that item has even paint coverage.
  8. Remove stencil.
  9. If need be, final spray coating should be done with acrylic protection paint so that item’s paint color will last longer.

 

3. What to put in storage bins to keep (bed) bugs out?

Place items in plastic bags or containers before putting them into storage bins: bugs don’t like to climb or stay on smooth plastic materials, so these will serve as effective deterrents to keep them out of your belongings/food. Alternatively, you can also place bug traps in the vicinity of your storage bins: these have been proven to repel bugs and keep them away.

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