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Plastic Storage Boxes: Plus Unusual Ways to Use Them

Updated on June 10, 2015

Your best storage friend

It doesn't look like much, does it? But as the self-appointed expert in small space living, I can tell you that these storage bins are fabulous and that's not just for keeping clutter under control. There are so many uses.

So many size options

They come in so many different sizes and a good selection is, to me, essential for a well run home, however un-Martha-like you might be.

We all know how great they are for storing just about anything you can think of and although I love baskets and other storage boxes, the great thing about these is that they don't mind being wet.

In fact, my two favourite uses for these - and they are used every day - involve them being very wet indeed. They are:

  • I use one as a washing up bowl to do the dishes. (You can see a photograph below). Now the truly wonderful thing about this is that prior to doing the dishes, I can put on the lid. It's the pauper's version of hiding the dirty dishes in the dishwasher
  • Our shower is at one end of the tub and we have zero storage in our bathroom. So where do all the shampoos and so forth live? And the bathroom cleaning products? In a sturdy plastic storage bin that lives at the non-business end of the tub. It's white, like the porcelain, so hardly noticeable and is handy footstool for pedicure purposes

What else? Well, because these come in a variety of sizes, here are some other ways I use them:

  • A 40 gallon size, or thereabouts, is perfect for taking stuff to the beach. But it really comes into its own when leaving the beach. Soggy towels and sandy flip-flops can just be thrown in
  • We have very few drawers in our home. But plastic storage bins are excellent for using in those hanging fabric shelf units for the closet. They are great for keeping underwear and socks at bay
  • Smaller boxes (shoebox size) are a wonderful way to keep the refrigerator organised - use them with or without their lids. See the photographs below
  • I used to keep cooking utensils such as the pizza cutter and the ladle in a drawer where they'd get mixed up with the everyday knives and forks. Now, I keep any utensils I don't use every day in storage box in the cupboard
  • If I'm expecting a delivery but may not be at home, I put a storage box outside my door with note - 'please put package in here'. Not only does the package remain dry if it rains but it's also less likely to be 'liberated' by an unscrupulous passer-by
  • I keep one by the back door too with my meagre collection of 'gardening equipment' - a trowel, secateurs, a mini rake, ball of twine and so on. They are safely out of the rain but also not demanding storage space in my little apartment.
  • I keep a selection of emergency dried and canned foods in a storage box. These days, it lives on top of a kitchen wall cabinet but has also lived under the bed and even in the clothes closet. If ever we can't get to the grocery store (a South Florida hurricane for example) or have a financial emergency (like the time the bathroom ceiling fell into the tub) then I know we have emergency meals

Do you have more tips for using these? Or any cool storage ideas? Let me know in the comments section below.

When I worked as a kitchen designer, most of my clients complained that the main problem with their current kitchen was that it didn't have enough storage space.

This is such a common problem in today's homes.Please add your ideas below.

Also recommended

These are incredibly useful storage aids too.

Women's Shoe Storage System 8 Pack Stackable By Hansi Naturals (Tm)
Women's Shoe Storage System 8 Pack Stackable By Hansi Naturals (Tm)

Officially shoe boxes, I use these for some many things - except shoes. In my closets they hold spare light bulbs, tools, spare batteries, you name it.I love the way they stack, too.

Whitmor Hanging Accessory Shelves Java
Whitmor Hanging Accessory Shelves Java

I tried these but never really got the most out of them until I fitted the shelves with storage boxes.Now, it takes the place of a dresser and can hold so much more than just folded sweaters (the usually suggested use).


Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here's one of my boxes being used to do the dishesAnd here it is with the lid - dirty dishes hidden awayUtensils that are not used every dayKeep jars organised & keep like-foods togetherThe contents of my emergency food box
Here's one of my boxes being used to do the dishes
Here's one of my boxes being used to do the dishes | Source
And here it is with the lid - dirty dishes hidden away
And here it is with the lid - dirty dishes hidden away
Utensils that are not used every day
Utensils that are not used every day
Keep jars organised & keep like-foods together
Keep jars organised & keep like-foods together
The contents of my emergency food box
The contents of my emergency food box


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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci - I don't know what I'd do without them!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I love the idea of using them as kitty litter boxes!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      We use these for so many things, from Christmas décor to seasonal clothes. They are so handy. They stack easily and you can see what it is them. Great suggestions!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Plastic storage bins make awesome kitty litter boxes. Cut out a U shaped opening (either on the short side or long side) as an entrance. We used a taller container and keep the lid on it (w/ holes drilled in the lid for venting). We also fit a length of soft rubber hose over the bottom of the U opening so the kitties don't step on the cut edge. It's stopped over the edge accidents.

    • writerkath profile image


      4 years ago

      I'm a storage bin junkie! :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Frugal-UK LM: Hi, it's the thumbs up button on the left of the page :)

    • Frugal-UK LM profile image

      Frugal-UK LM 

      4 years ago

      Can anyone tell me where the squid like button is on these kind of lens have noticed I cannot find it on quite a few


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