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What to Store in Plastic Storage Containers

Plastic storage containers are the best item to store and organize out-of-season or specialty clothing items such as Halloween costumes or your fluffy winter sweaters. These containers are square and uniformly sized, so they can be stacked in corners or on high shelves utilizing every inch of your storage space. The plastic shields clothing from the elements, such as a damp basement or a dusty attic, and because it’s clear, you can easily retrieve items from the correct container without rummaging around.

Here are all the ways you can make the best use of plastic storage containers and bins in your home.

  • General Clothing Storage

    Ruth Jenkinson / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

    Ideal for clothes storage, clear containers with locking lids can be stored in the attic, basement, or garage until it’s time to switch out your wardrobe when the seasons change. Just make sure you don’t store plastic near anything too hot such as a furnace or stove.

  • Accessories and Other Small Items

    Your Organization / Candace Madonna

    There are several storage options for these items. You can use accessory boxes to store scarves, gloves, hats, chunky jewelry, and hosiery, but these boxes can also hold other small items. Some ideas include small tools, cables and wires, desk accessories, toys, and travel toiletries.

    A plastic rolling cart can also be used to hold small items, such as hats, socks, jewelry, or makeup. A three-drawer rolling cart is mobile because it’s on wheels and can be quickly used in different spaces.

  • Tools, Sports Equipment, and Cleaning Supplies

    JohnArcher / Getty Images

    Since these items tend to be heavy, use these more heavy-duty plastic containers to store them in your garage, on your patio, in the shed, or any other outdoor storage space you have. This will keep these items protected and close to where you will actually use them.

  • Organizing Files

    Your Organization / Margot Cavin

    An extra-large file tote box should be large enough to fit files for a household of up to two people. Once you begin adding ​new people, you probably need to graduate to an actual file cabinet.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • Holiday Decor, Outdoor Entertaining, and Large Kitchen Items

    Your Organization / Margot Cavin

    A great, multi-use storage option for these items is a 22-gallon plastic storage container. They are roomy enough to fit more than a hat; while being small enough to easily carry.

    The size also guarantees you won’t be weighing the container down to the point where it’s unsafe to ease it off a high shelf.


    Buy in bulk to ensure you’ll be able to stack containers neatly. They are designed to fit together.

  • Papers and Crafts

    Your Organization / Margot Cavin

    Perfect for storing scrapbooking papers and other crafting materials, flat, shorter boxes will fit in any closet or storage space. Use them for gift-wrapping materials, craft materials, and school supplies.

    Another option for storing craft supplies are open-top boxes (the boxes with attached lids that appear to overlap). These boxes are extremely useful for items you need to put in storage but that you also need to access often.

  • Sweaters and Bulky Clothing

    Tetra Images / Getty Images

    Sweater storage is a delicate art. Sweaters, typically made of cotton, wool, or cashmere, aren’t content to just sit around in any old box during the hot summer months. They need to breathe and be protected from the elements. Deep, plastic storage boxes ensure you won’t cram sweaters or coats on top of each other to fit them all in, and the plastic construction will protect​ the fabric from dust and humidity.


    Since sweater boxes are on the larger size, do not store them higher than your torso. Pulling them down off of a high shelf could be dangerous.

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