The right plastic storage bins can lead to smarter living in your home. With a functional aesthetic, storage bins can declutter, organize, and best of all, store any and all of your size-appropriate belongings in a safe and secure way.
"Some people may prefer one big container for a large category like 'bathroom products,' where others may want to use several smaller containers for subcategories like 'cleansers,' 'moisturizers,' 'makeup' and so forth," says Louisa Roberts, professional organizer and owner of Neat Method New York City. "Bins with lids are recommended for storing infrequently used items that need to be protected from dust, water, or other elements. Unlike open containers, bins with lids easily stack to maximize space, and they securely contain items you wouldn't want children to access independently, such as paint and markers," she says.
To find the best bins available, we conducted hours of research and evaluated them on durability, size, type of plastic, closures, and price. We also took into account everyday pieces that would work in kitchens and closets and specialty items designed for a specific purpose or area.
Ahead, no matter which size you need, you'll find the best plastic storage bins to keep your space totally organized.
Sterilite Garage Totes
Latches for extra security
Plastic not listed as high density
Tapered at the botton
The Sterilite 50-Quart Garage Tote is our top pick because it's durable enough to withstand everyday use in interior closets or long-term storage in exterior sheds. A smart design with secure lid closures makes this storage box outstanding for both options. The latching handles are sturdy, easy to grip, and snap into place. This will ensure your items stay inside the bin if it happens to fall over in your closet or attic. The strong plastic keeps moisture and dust out, so you can trust that your belongings will be safe for years. When it's time to retrieve your bins, you'll be able to see the interior contents.
You can buy these versatile bins in a six-pack or one at a time, but we have a feeling you'll want to stock up if you plan on storing a good amount of items like holiday decor or your family's off-season clothing. The capacity of each bin is 50 quarts, similar to a beverage cooler (a 25-quart option is available, too).
The lids are recessed so that the bins can be stacked vertically in a neat, stable position. Note that they taper slightly at the bottom, so keep this in mind when measuring if you need to store a rigid, flat item. Even though the plastic is not high-density, these bins can withstand some weight without bending.
Price at time of publish: $18
Dimensions: 19.88 x 15.5 x 14.75 inches︱Capacity: 50 quarts︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Color: Clear︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching
IKEA SAMLA Box with lid
Multiple sizes available
Lids are additional
Indoor use only
Ikea's Samla line brings organization containers to an accessible price point. We're fans of the transparent material that gives you a quick view of the inside as well as the practical shape that's easy to stack or position on a shelf. Bins can be purchased with or without lids, giving you additional flexibility (and save you money if you don't require a lid).
With a 6-gallon capacity, these containers would work well for storing everyday items, such as clothing, toys, or guest bedding and linens. You can stack them easily with the recessed lids, so pile them up in a closet or against the wall without worry. Just note that the brand recommends you use them indoors only. The plastic isn't incredibly thick, but depending on what you're storing, these would work well in spaces such as closets or laundry rooms.
Price at time of publish: $7 with lid, $5 without lid
Dimensions: 15.25 x 11 x 11 inches︱Capacity: 6 gallons︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Color: Clear︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/optional
Open Spaces Small Storage Bins
Contemporary, design-forward look
Multiple lid options
Various sizes and colors
Some may find color combinations too bold
Lids are additional cost
These Open Spaces Small Storage Bins are so lovely to look at that you'll want to show them off on shelves and dresser tops in every room. They come in a range of sizes (small, medium, and large) and colors (from cream to dark green). If you're looking to implement a full organizational system, they're also sold in sets.
Use them to store a wide variety of items, including gloves and hats near the entryway, coffee pods near the coffeemaker, and art supplies in the playroom. You can opt to purchase a plastic or wooden lid for an additional cost, and the plastic lids have a recessed top for easy stacking. Lids come in an assortment of creative colors, and if you choose to leave the container open, the lid doubles as a shallow organization plate.
Price at time of publish: $38+ for 2
Dimensions: Varies per product︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Colors: Dark green, light blue, cream, navy, light pink︱Lid Closure Type: Removable
HAY Recycled Colour Crate
Cute and stylish
Open style can get messy
With these bright, eye-catching bins, the team at Danish design firm Hay created a fun take on the standard milk crate. The Hay Recycled Colour Crates are lightweight, so they're easy to move around, and they can stack or just live happily on an open shelf. They're available in several sizes and colors, so you can pair them by putting smaller ones inside bigger ones to drill down on organizing. You can also choose to mix colors or opt for a monochromatic color scheme.
The crates are made of recycled plastic waste and should be cleaned with a soft cloth and gentle detergent because harsher products may scratch the glossy finish. While these would certainly look great stacked on a desk or open shelving, the small gaps mean little items could slip through, and with no lid, your stored items aren't fully protected. As long as you plan accordingly for the open design, we think they're a delightful choice.
Price at time of publish: $7+
Dimensions: Small: 4.1 x 10.4 x 6.6 inches; medium: 5.5 x 13.5 x 10.4 inches; large: 7.2 x 20.8 x 9.5 inches︱Capacity: Varies︱Weight Capacity: Varies︱Colors: 19 colors including blush, mint, olive, terra-cotta, and sky blue︱Lid Closure Type: Not applicable
Best for Refrigerator
The Spruce by iDesign 3-Piece Plastic Refrigerator Organizer Bin Set with Lids, Clear/White
Made from 100% consumer recycled plastic
A mixture of sizes
Some features may not be desirable
The Spruce by iDesign 3-Piece Solution Set is an excellent option for anyone hoping to organize a home refrigerator. It comes with one berry bin, one large divided bin for snacks and cheeses, and one small bin for produce. The entire set is made from 100 percent consumer-recycled plastic, and it's BPA-free.
While the three-piece set can help someone elevate their refrigerator's organization, others may not find a divided bin useful, or you may prefer different sizes of containers than those offered in this set. Luckily, there are several other solution sets in The Spruce by iDesign's eco-friendly line, so you can choose between three, four, or five-piece sets. Each piece is transparent, so you can keep a ready eye on the freshness of your food, too. Keep in mind that for optimal care, it's recommended to hand-wash these bins.
Price at time of publish: $31 for 3 bins
Dimensions: Varies per product︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Color: Clear/white or clear/gray︱Lid Closure Type: Removable
Best for Pantries
The Home Edit Stacking Pantry Bin (Case of 4)
Wide opening for easy access
Refrigerator and freezer safe
Difficult to remove large sticker labels
The Home Edit (T.H.E.) Stacking Pantry Bins come in a variety of different sizes for optimal kitchen organization and are freezer safe. Stack them and place them side by side in your pantry for easy access to snacks and fresh produce. You can also purchase separate, smaller organizers to use inside if you'd prefer to organize your pantry into further categories.
Stackable and easy to clean, the systematic set is designed to keep your pantry organized. These are on the more expensive side, and as with many The Container Store T.H.E. items, the sticker labels are sometimes difficult to remove.
Price at time of publish: $80 for 4
Dimensions: 6 x 10 x 10 inches︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Colors: Clear︱Lid Closure Type: Not applicable
Best for Food
OXO Good Grips POP 5-Piece Canisters
Multiple sizes and combinations
Attractive, minimalist design
When it comes to dry food storage, the Good Grips Pop line from OXO is tough to beat. We love the neat and simple design, the stackable shapes and sizes, and the airtight lids. Not only do they look great lined up on your shelves or in your pantry, but they also keep food fresh. Plus, they're transparent, giving you a clear view of all of your ingredients.
Each of the five containers comes with a coordinating lid, and you get a selection of four different sizes, ranging from 0.3 quarts to 2.1 quarts (with two 0.9 quart containers included). We think this particular selection makes a great starter set, but you should know that there are other varieties offered too. The Pop line can get pricey, especially with so many choices sold separately. They also require a bit of extra effort to maintain because the brand instructs you to hand-wash them. Of course, if you're planning on using them for long-term storage, we think the extra effort is well worth it.
Price at time of publish: $60 for 5
Dimensions: Varies︱Capacity: Varies︱Weight Capacity: Varies︱Colors: Transparent/white︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching
Best Under Bed
The Container Store Our Long Under Bed Box With Wheels
Wheels provide easy access
Hinged opening makes it easy to grab items from either side
Doesn't provide airtight seal
When you're short on closet space, sometimes you have to get creative. The Container Store's Long Under Bed Box With Wheels is an excellent choice for anyone looking to store extra shoes, sweaters, or bags out of sight. This nearly 3-foot-long container comes with wheels, so you can quickly roll it out from under your bed and grab what you need.
The lid flips up from either side for easy access, no matter which side of the bed you sleep on. The lids are not airtight, but if you need to access transitional clothing like fall sweaters or that leather purse you carry only every now and then, this is an out-of-sight but still accessible storage option. We also like these boxes for storing crafts, gift wrap materials, and art supplies, too.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 6.5 x 18.25 x 35.63 inches︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: 30 pounds︱Color: Clear︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/flip-up
Best for Crafts
Sterilite Stack & Carry 2 Tray Handle Box Organizer
Handle for easy carrying
Limited color choices
Sterilite earns another mention with this handy two-tiered organizer. With a transparent exterior and a removable teal green tray with six compartments, it's ideal for sorting small craft items from buttons and beads to stickers and stamps, as well as makeup, hair ties, toys, and others small items that always seem to appear and clutter up your countertops. In a perfect world, there'd be a variety of color choices for the inside tray, but we're willing to overlook the limited choices for the smart and convenient design.
Note that this is a budget-friendly choice, and if you opt to pick up more than one, you can stack them together. Just keep in mind how much weight you're asking the small handle to lift if you do try to move a stack of them at once, and be careful not to overdo it.
Price at time of publish: $6
Dimensions: 10.63 x 7.25 x 5.5 inches︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Colors: Transparent/green︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching
Rubbermaid Commercial Products BRUTE Tote Storage Container with Lid, 20-Gallon
Dense, commercial-grade material
Ergonomic handle grips
Limited size and color options
This Rubbermaid Commercial Storage Container is an ultra-tough 20-gallon bin that is part of the same Rubbermaid line as the wheeled gray garbage cans that adorn so many public spaces. Popular in commercial kitchens, the bins meet NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation) standards for things like durability and performance.
This bin would work well in areas that tend to be damp or humid, such as basements, garages, or outdoor storage sheds. The handles are ergonomically constructed and even have drainage holes to prevent mildew buildup. The bottom is ribbed for extra reinforcement in case you need to drag it across your driveway. Lids are recessed so bins can be nested on top of each other. Customers report using these for cat litter, power tools, and even an aquaponics rock garden. The opaque exterior limits visibility of the interior contents, so make sure to label each bin for quick access to your belongings.
Price at time of publish: $41
Dimensions: 15.13 x x 27.88 x 17.38 inches︱Capacity: 14-20 gallons︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Color: Gray, white︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching
Best With Lockable Lid
Rubbermaid 35-Gallon ActionPacker Lockable Industrial Storage Container
Lid allows water to roll off
Small opening for lock
College students, travelers, and campers might want a storage bin that can be fitted with a separate lock, like this Rubbermaid ActionPacker 35-Gallon Industrial Storage Container. Note that the lock acts mainly as a deterrent because—as some reviewers pointed out—if someone is really determined to break in, they could use tools to cut through it. Still, this incredibly durable bin is worth considering if you're seeking rugged storage. Camping gear, grill tools, Christmas decorations, and large costumes are just a few things you can store inside.
Rubbermaid offers a lifetime warranty on the ActionPacker, and the high-density plastic is meant to withstand temperatures from 0 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The lid is double-walled to offer additional protection, and in addition to the side latching handles, the container can be secured with a lock that must be purchased separately. Due to the small hole, you might prefer to use a cable-style model rather than a traditional padlock.
Price at time of publish: $116
Dimensions: 17.25 x 35.25 x 20 inches︱Capacity: 35 gallons︱Weight Capacity: 110 pounds︱Color: Black with gray lid︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching with locking capability (lock sold separately)
Sterilite 6 Quart Storage Box (12-pack)
Limited color choices
Small spaces sometimes need creative storage solutions, and that's where these compact Sterilite 6-Quart Storage Boxes can come in handy. Stock up on these storage bins sold in packs of 6 or 12 and start your organization project today. Use these bins to organize craft supplies, kids' clothes, or bathroom supplies for stockpiles of items, such as contact lenses, nail accessories, and extra products.
These bins stack neatly on top of one another so you can even use them as individual shoe boxes in a closet or wardrobe. Because they're clear, you can also easily see what's inside, and the latching handles help keep the lid on securely. Be aware that some customers reported that the latches aren't childproof, so store those messy paint supplies out of reach.
Price at time of publish: $48 for 12
Dimensions: 4.86 x 14.13 x 7.75 inches︱Capacity: 1.5 gallons︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Color: Clear with plum handle︱Lid Closure Type: Removable/latching
Best Open Bins
The Container Store White Plastic Storage Bin with Handles
Multiple sizes and colors
Plastic is a little thin
The Container Store's Plastic Storage Bin With Handles has a clean, smooth front and comes in seven different color options, including clear. The open design provides a streamlined, modern look. Line these up in your pantry for quick grab-and-go snacks or food container storage. Use them in a playroom so kids can easily see which toys are inside or in the bathroom to corral stockpiled supplies.
Note that the plastic isn't rigid, so some customers reported that they bend when the bins get too full. The bins are ideal for lightweight items, and they aren't stackable, so they're meant to sit beside each other in a closet or under the sink.
Price at time of publish: $4+
Dimensions: Varies per product︱Capacity: Not listed︱Weight Capacity: Not listed︱Colors: Clear, white, smoke, light gray, teal, soft pink, aquamarine︱Lid Closure Type: Not applicable
Our best overall pick, the Sterilite Garage Tote is durable, easy to transport, and has a removable lid that latches for extra security. For something more affordable, consider Ikea's Samla box with lid, a reliable choice for lightweight storage that you can buy with or without a lid.
What to Look for in a Plastic Storage Bin
"Presort items you want to organize into categories for containment," says Marci McAvoy, professional organizer and founder of Marci McAvoy Home Organization. Then consider the storage bin's capacity. Measure what you need to store and the space where it will live.
"There's nothing worse than buying a bunch of bins and getting home and realizing that your space is too narrow for the bin you chose, or maybe you didn't realize that your shelves couldn't be adjusted for height," says McAvoy.
Plastic storage tubs list the capacity in quarts or gallons, and some may also include a weight limit. If you're shopping online, you can get a sense of what a bin can hold by looking at both product photos and images posted by shoppers, which are often the most helpful.
For Best Overall, we chose the Sterilite Garage Tote. The capacity of each bin is 50 quarts, similar to a beverage cooler. Besides being roomy, it's durable, easy to handle and transport, and has a removable lid.
Material and Design
Rigid plastic materials are less likely to buckle when filled with heavy items. These are sometimes labeled as high-density bins. "A bin like this tends to be more expensive because it is really durable, keeps dust and critters out, and is airtight," says McAvoy.
If you're storing bins vertically, look for a stackable style (these usually have recessed lids) because this will help the bins stay stable and maximize your storage space from top to bottom. Note that some storage bins are narrower at the bottom and wider on top so that they can nest when they're empty. This is a helpful feature, but if you are lining these up on shelves horizontally, you may have wasted space in between.
Lid Closure Type
Storage bin lids can be attached or removable. Attached lids might be on a single set of hinges, or they may split down the middle and interlock. When the lid is integrated into the design, you're less likely to lose track of it, but McAvoy warns that sometimes these can break, potentially rendering the bin unusable.
McAvoy prefers removable lids with side snaps and latches. If you live with small children, you might need to opt for more secure closures. If you love color-coding, consider lids that come in different colors. Others might opt for clear lids so they can easily see the contents.
When is the best time to buy plastic storage bins?
Plastic bins often go on sale in January or February, when retailers try to capitalize on customers' resolutions to get organized. Containers in colors like red and green may be even more deeply discounted at this time.
How should you label plastic storage bins?
There are almost as many labeling options as there are plastic containers. If you want flexibility, stick to erasable options, such as removable chalkboard or whiteboard labels, and use either chalk paint or dry-erase markers. Label bin clips work well on the handles of open bins and can also be used with dry-erase or permanent markers. Some people opt to simply write directly on clear bins or buy preprinted stickers. If you want your label to be permanent, use a marker like a Sharpie or an acrylic paint pen.
How can you hide plastic storage bins in your home?
If you're looking to hide storage bins in your home, one option is to buy larger, more attractive containers made from materials like wood or rattan and fit the plastic boxes inside. This works best for items you don't need frequently. You could also use fabric, washi tape, drawer liner paper, spray paint, and stencils to decorate the exterior of plastic storage bins. If you really don't want to see them, opt for under-bed storage containers.
Can you recycle plastic storage bins?
Check the number on the container as well as your area's recycling rules. Many storage containers are made of polypropylene (labeled 5 or PP), and although this can be recycled, not all localities currently do this curbside. However, some may accept them at transfer stations. You may be able to recycle polypropylene storage bins through a recycling company like TerraCycle. Try searching "specialty recycling company" and then the name of your town and state. Acrylic can be difficult to recycle, but some specialized facilities may accept it. Products containing BPA cannot be recycled.
If you can't easily recycle your old bins, try posting them on a local swap group such as Buy Nothing or Freecycle or using them for other home projects, such as building a terrarium or mini greenhouse. If they're clean and in good condition, you can also donate them.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. She has written about drying racks, hampers, toy storage, woven baskets, and more. Dwyer researched dozens of storage bins for this piece, carefully evaluating them on durability, size, price, and plastic type. She also considered everyday pieces that would work in kitchens and closets and specialty items designed for a specific purpose or area. Additional input was provided by professional organizer Marci McAvoy of Marci McAvoy Home Organization and Louisa Roberts, professional organizer and owner of Neat Method New York City.
Dena Ogden, Commerce writer at The Spruce, updated this piece and contributed additional research. She's been writing professionally since 2016 and with The Spruce since August 2022, specializing in appliances, cleaning, and organizational topics.