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5 Rules of Storage Boxes

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

One of my top rules for organization is having the right TOOLS! Yes, tools can make all the difference. And few things are used more often in my world of organization than the standard storage box or basket.

Not all storage boxes are created equal though. You have to make sure you have the right one to fit your needs. While working with clients over the years, I have found what works and what doesn’t when it comes to storage solutions.

Here are five tips for finding the perfect storage box:


You cannot believe how HUGE a difference a slanted inside can make. When the box (especially plastic totes) slant and aren’t 100% square, they make storing items a lot more

tricky. It is hard to fit things at the bottom and you often have to taper down as you go. Point being… slanted boxes store less than square ones.


No matter what color or material of box you choose, they should all have one thing in common – durability. Choosing a box that will withstand being opened and closed and lifted and moved is really important. I have found durable boxes in plastic, wicker, and even hard cardboard (although not as long-lasting as plastic). It is possible to have both a durable and good-looking storage box.


Nine times out of ten you will want a lid with your box. The more I use plastic totes, the more I prefer the ones that also lock on the sides. The lid should fit properly and close completely. Only those items that you need frequently (like daily) should be stored in lid-less boxes.


I have learned the hard way that floppy sides are the WORST. Not only do they look sloppy, but they also let the items inside spill out. The worst culprit of floppy sides are fabric cube bins. They will quickly start folding in on themselves becoming an eye sore in the home. That’s a no-no in my book. If you like the look of fabric cubes, choose really durable and high quality ones. The ones below have a wooden handle to support the sides.


Finding a box the right size for your items is really the most important thing you need to do. You don’t want something too small but you also don’t want something too big. A good rule to follow is that the box should fit the items with a little wiggle room. This provides a buffer to add more in the future. And, by all means, if you know you will be putting more in the box plan for that and choose an adequate size.


People often ask me if they should only choose the clear totes. I answer with a “maybe”. If you have many similar totes in a storage area, you absolutely want to utilize a clear tote. This will help you quickly scan and find what you need (even if you have the tote labelled). But if you are looking for prettier, more opaque storage, go for it! Most people can remember what's stored in a few boxes without the need of a clear view.


The most important thing to consider when choosing a storage box is that it fits your needs. If you can accomplish that, you will have won the battle. The key is go with quality as your top priority. Take time to read reviews and look at what material is used. You will also want to check dimensions and any weight capacities. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to do your research and find your next perfect storage box!


Here are a few of my favorite storage boxes! The Iris Extra-Large 4x6 Photo Storage container is also great for holding card games.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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