9 Ways to Use Plastic Storage Containers

Woman packing in preparation for a house move.

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Plastic storage containers are the best way to store and organize out-of-season or specialty clothing items such as Halloween costumes or your unfortunate but just-can't-quit-them collection of Christmas sweaters. The advantages are numerous. Plastic shields clothing from the elements, such as a damp basement or a dusty attic. 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 clear plastic allows you to easily retrieve items from the correct storage container without rummaging around.

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

  • 01 of 09

    General Clothing Storage

    Woman placing folded clothes into storage containers.

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    Not only for clothes storage, but these locking lid containers are useful for the attic, basement, garage, or kitchen. Just make sure you don't store plastic near anything too hot—such as a furnace or stove. The 15-quart size makes them very flexible for small odds and ends.

  • 02 of 09

    Odds and Ends

    Cart storage container next to a bed.

    A plastic rolling cart to help you store odds and ends. This three-drawer rolling cart is mobile because it's on wheels and can be quickly used in different spaces.

  • 03 of 09

    Garage and Outdoor Spaces

    Garage full of clutter including boxes and Christmas lights.
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    Use these more heavy-duty plastic containers in your garage, on your patio, in the shed, and for any other outdoor storage space you have. Use these for:

    • Sports equipment
    • Tools
    • Cleaning supplies
  • 04 of 09

    Organizing Files

    Woman filing financial paperwork while sitting on the living room floor.

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

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09


    Makeup placed in clear storage containers.

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    You can use accessory boxes to store scarves, gloves, hats, chunky jewelry, and hosiery, but you can also think outside the box (pun intended). Here are some other ideas for the smaller accessory box:

    • Desk accessories
    • Tools
    • Cables and wires
    • Travel toiletries
    • Toys

    The list could go on and on.

  • 06 of 09

    Holiday Decor, Outdoor Entertaining, and Large Kitchen Items

    Storage closet divided into four sections.

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    A great, multi-use storage option 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.

    Tip: Buy in bulk to ensure you'll be able to stack these containers neatly. They are designed to "fit" together.

  • 07 of 09

    Papers and Crafts

    Plastic storage containers full of papers.

    Perfect for storing papers, documents and crafting materials, these flat, shorted boxes will fit in any closet or storage space. Use them these for:

    • Gift wrapping materials
    • Craft materials
    • Files
    • Accessories such as scarves, gloves, and hats
    • School supplies
  • 08 of 09

    Sweater and Bulky Clothing Items

    Woman holding a stack of folded sweaters.

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    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 protection from the elements. Deep, plastic storage boxes ensure you won't cram them on top of each other to fit them, and plastic construction will protect​ the fabric from dust and humidity.

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

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Open Top Box

    Open top plastic storage container full of clothing.

    These open-top boxes are extremely useful for items you need to put in storage but need to access often. Here's what to store in these boxes: