Considerations Before Buying Plastic Storage Containers

plastic storage bins

Vudhikul Ocharoen / Getty Images

The sight of well-organized plastic storage containers can be inspiring for those of us who have piles of stuff without a place to put it. Plastic storage containers do a great job of helping to organize seasonal, bulky, and many other types of items in our homes. But to make sure the containers work well for you, there are some things to consider first. Here's what you need to think about before you buy plastic storage containers.

What Needs to Be Stored?

To determine the right type of plastic storage container for you, consider everything you want to fit in the container. So gather it up. Stack your items in one spot to help determine exactly what your storage space needs are. You might be surprised to find that you have a lot more to pack away than you thought. Measure your stack, so you know the dimensions to look for in a container. This is also a good time to sort through and pull out items that can be thrown away, given away, or returned to people they were borrowed from. Plan to store only the items you truly want to keep.

Do You Want a Colored or Clear Bin?

Many people like to pick a different color depending on what they are storing. For example, seasonal clothing goes in a blue container, Christmas decorations in a red one, sports equipment in a green one, etc. Others opt for only clear plastic storage containers. One of the benefits of choosing a clear container is it's easy to see whether an item is actually in the bin without emptying it. Selecting only clear containers can also make your storage appear more uniform, as extra clear containers are typically easier to find than specific colors.

What's the Fill Weight?

It's easy to forget how quickly an empty plastic storage container can become heavy once you add all of your stuff to it. To keep your storage container mobile, opt for the biggest bin that will still allow you to move the filled container with ease. Consider what will be packed in the storage container. For instance, if you're storing books, choose small containers. If you're storing pillows, you can use large containers and still have them remain light.

Where Will the Container Go?

Don't forget that the plastic storage container itself will have to fit in a designated spot in your home. It won't do you any good to have the perfect container for your items only to realize it doesn't fit in your storage space. So when you measure the items you need to store, also measure your desired storage space. Make sure you find a container that suits both measurements. Also, consider the weight of the container once it's full if you plan to keep it on shelving or another spot with a weight limit.

Does the Container Have Handles?

Handles might seem like the least of your concerns when you are considering a storage container to fit your items, but they can make a big difference when you want to move things around. Find a container with sturdy handles that won't break or crack. And avoid any containers that have handles that are built into the lid instead of the actual container. If you're carrying a container just by its lid, the container can easily detach and drop depending on its weight.

Is There a Secure Lid?

When purchasing a storage container, don't forget to examine the lid. Make sure the lid fits properly and isn't damaged. If you will be stacking your containers, note whether the lids will support that. Stackable containers often have an extra lip on the lid that corresponds with an opposite lip on the bottom of the container, preventing the stacked bins from slipping off one another. Before settling on containers you plan to stack, stack them with their lids on to make sure they're sturdy in this format.

Watch Now: Great Tips for Maximizing Storage Space