organised shelves

What do you put in a storage box?

The time has come, you’re downsizing from the fifty-five bedroom, twenty-seven full baths, sixteen half baths mansion to that sweet studio apartment by the sea. Or, you’ve decided to quit your job and head off to the amazon to create an actual sized macaroni model of the majestic, namesake river. No matter the reason, you find you’re in need of putting things into storage, and that means Storage boxes & bins.

Storing things requires a certain amount planning and research. One of the things you should put a good amount time, effort and thought into is; the type of vessel in which you will be storing away your precious, semiprecious and basic, I have no idea why but I still own this thing, items. Here are some thoughts, ideas and hints about what to look for when getting ready to store stuff away.

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SEASONAL ACCESSORIES

Those bulky scarves, gloves and hats can take up so much space (and are easy to lose!). Stash them away during the offseason, or have an open box near the door during cold months. You can use accessory boxes to store scarves, gloves, hats, chunky jewellery, and hosiery, but you can also think outside the box (pun intended). 

General Clothing Storage

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.

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.

You may have seen my bathroom linen closet project (HERE); if so, you know that this project was critical to helping create a system that was easy to stick to and make up for my one wimpy vanity drawer. If you aren’t using baskets in your pantry, take a look to see if it could benefit from some, also.

ODDS AND ENDS

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.

GARAGE AND OUTDOOR SPACES

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.

KIDS TOYS

Contain the chaos and make clean up time easy by tossing toys and stuffed animals in neatly stacked storage boxes.

DELICATES

Keep lingerie, slips, and other delicate items in prime condition by storing them separate from things that can snag or tear them.

ORGANIZING FILES

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. Organize household files with flair by trading a clunky metal file cabinet for a woven lidded chest. Be sure the basket’s inside measurements will fit your letter- or legal-size files. The interior measurement of this chest is 12×12 inches. To securely hang letter or legal-size files inside, add an adjustable hanging file frame from an office supply store.

Replace side tables with baskets. Use them to collect magazines, mail, and books. Keep the look casual by choosing mismatched baskets.

Remember my junk drawer/stationery desk organization project I tackled recently? I have improved on my distribution substantially, but whenever we get a new piece of mail that will need attention soon, it goes right here. I vowed not to throw anything in my drawers (because that is a downward spiral disaster waiting to happen) but putting them in a closed box on top of the counter has worked really well without paper clutter getting out of hand. Ditch the bulky metal file cabinets and replace them with a stylish storage unit.

HOSTESS GIFTS

Be the ultimate hostess by stocking a basket or caddy with goodies to pamper your guests. Include fragrant soaps, gourmet treats, and a few good reads to make them feel right at home.

HOLIDAY DECOR 

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 for a woman 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. Check out the smart wall

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

‘Tis the season to sort through all of your holiday décors and get them in an orderly fashion before the madness begins!

Click here to check out this huge list of home storage ideas

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PANTRY AND PARTY SUPPLIES

Kitchen and craft supplies easily get cluttered right before our eyes. Neatly stash away cans, cups, napkins, ribbons, paper towels, and more.

Baskets can be helpful for organizing kitchen supplies. Place a basket with handles on a pantry shelf for easy access to contents. A mesh design with labels allows you to see contents at a glance.

Baskets are the perfect tool to organize your pantry. You can use larger wicker baskets to organize cookbooks, cereal boxes, bags of chips, and even small appliances. Smaller baskets work well for tea bags, seasonings, snack bars, etc.

TABLE LINENS AND NAPKINS

We love entertaining guests with pristine table napkins and linens. Wash and store to keep them critters, dust, and discolouration between table settings.

COOKIE CUTTER & BAKING SUPPLY STORAGE

In the old days, I attempted to organize my cookie cutters by theme into gallon-sized Ziplock bags, and then those bags were shoved into a big reusable grocery bag. It took up a HUGE section of prime cabinet space and was just generally awkward.

Now, I’ve got photo boxes designated for each major cookie holiday and for sprinkles and supplies.

The boxes not only make it easier to find what I’m looking for, but they are also rectangle and stackable so can be stored anywhere. I have ours on the highest shelf in the pantry since I only use them a few times a year. If kitchen space is at a premium, you could tuck them in any closet or even under the bed.

CRAYONS, MARKERS, & COLORED PENCILS

Why oh why did it take me so long to create a box for each of these? They’ve been spread out throughout the house for way too long. You can either keep the items in their original packaging or dump all the like items together into a box to make them easier to access. The boxes also work great for art supplies like glitter and craft paint!

GLUES & ADHESIVES

Ever spent 10 minutes trying to figure out where you put the tiny tube of super-glue? Or just basic Elmer’s glue? Or that Velcro you know you bought last year? Gather up all the different indoor adhesives into one photo box, and you’ll save SO much time!

LIGHT BULB STORAGE

We have a few different styles of light bulbs required for various fixtures, and grouping them makes the closet look way less cluttered. And we don’t have to worry about knocking individual packages of bulbs off the shelf.

EXTRA BEAUTY / TOILETRY PRODUCTS

Ever buy the giant multi-pack of toothpaste, deodorant, or razors at Costco? Or stock up during a great sale? Photo boxes are perfect in the bathroom to corral all those loose items into cheap, stackable storage! We have boxes for teeth, his, and hers in our bathroom closet.

Small bathrooms usually lack Storage options, so use baskets to add storage and decoration. A large basket stores extra towels within easy reach in this powder room.

Our powder room has a pedestal sink and no shelving/drawers/storage of any kind. I recently added this lidded tulip basket, and I can’t tell you how many rolls it holds (a TON). At one point, I had a small-ish hamper but preferred this oversized, round number 10-fold.

Toiletries in homes tend to be bought in bulk, and are quite small in size, so it makes perfect sense to use baskets to contain each type of thing together so that you can grab them quickly when needed.

Keep essentials, such as toilet paper or fresh towels, in a simple, handled basket in the powder room. The basket will keep things collected while leaving them quickly visible and accessible for any guests who might need them.

MANICURE SUPPLIES

I don’t know about you, but I tend to do my nails somewhere other than the actual bathroom. It took years of adulting, but I finally figured out it was easier to store all the nail care supplies in one bin I could carry around. Clippers, files, nail polish, remover wipes, etc. can all be stored in one photo box!

It might be worth adding a couple of smaller containers within your photo box to keep things more organized. Sub-dividing larger boxes are one of my favourite organizing tricks!

SPORTSWEAR

Getting to the gym is half the battle. Ease the process by having quick access to your workout attire instead of rummaging through your drawers.

PAPERS AND CRAFTS

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

ORGANIZING SMALL CARD OR DICE GAMES

We have an abundance of playing cards, card games, and small dice games like Farkle. They are always falling off the shelf when we try to grab the bigger games. Not anymore – now they’re tucked inside one box!

STORAGE FOR THANK YOU / NOTECARDS + STAMPS

I love pretty note cards and probably have enough to last a few years. But what can I say, I thrive when I have some options! A couple of years ago, I finally went through all the office drawers and closet to gather all the notecards into one place, and it’s been great.

To make it even more comfortable, I keep stamps and return address labels in the same box. Now I don’t have any excuses not to send a quick note to a friend!

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ORGANIZING LEGOS / SMALL TOYS

These boxes would be perfect in a kid’s room to store Lego bricks! I get a bit excited thinking about all the options – you could sort them by block size, by colour, by set with the instruction books, etc.

The same thing could be done with any small toys, from Hot Wheels to Barbies & their clothes/accessories. For smaller kids, you can use photos of what goes in each box on the outside to help them clean up without you. For us, the solution is perfect for the Play-Doh sets we have downstairs for our niece and nephews. From the outside, you’d never know there were colourful toys hidden inside!

I love using baskets for toy storage, because they are easy for kids to use as well as adults, making them a great option that will hopefully make tidying up quick!

I have used two different types of Storage for toys over the years, a large open basket and a trunk with a lid.

For smaller children, a large basket is a great option as they can grab what they need quickly, and throw everything back when finished. It takes minutes to clear the room, and the basket can be tucked away in the evening when it’s adult time.

TEA LIGHT & VOTIVE CANDLE STORAGE

We recently updated our hallway storage closet organization and created a spot just for the Play-Doh box you saw above, along with boxes for votives and tea lights. It’s so nice having the small candles sorted by size and easy to find.

HOW TO ORGANIZE PHOTOS

I almost didn’t include this one because it’s the obvious intended use. But I also know a lot of people that have large boxes of printed photos, which can be overwhelming to tackle. To make it easier, I wanted to give you ideas for a few different ways to separate the giant stash into these manageable smaller boxes.

First, designate one box (or two at the most) for your absolute favourites. Some people would say only to keep these, but I’m a sucker for old photos! Then, depending on your needs, create boxes for other categories. Some easy options are to separate by year, decade, or by event type (IE: Vacations, Birthday Parties, Christmas, Everyday Life).

Even though I’m giving you the a-ok to keep more than just one box of your favourites, I’m also giving you permission to throw some photos away. If there are ten shots that are almost identical, you really don’t need everyone.

CLEANING STATION

Transfer your detergent pods and other laundry supplies to something a little prettier than the original packaging—like a glass container. This way, you can have them ready to go and out in the open in style.

Bathrooms and laundry rooms require a lot of storage for supplies. Use baskets to corral these items. Pile supplies in a pretty basket, and slide it out of sight. Make sure to choose a basket that won’t be damaged by water or chemicals.

PILLOW & BLANKET STORAGE

The perfect solution for extra storage for your linens – baskets holding pillows, throws, and blankets are perfect for smart Storage solutions and decorative accents. I use them in my living rooms and bedrooms without exception.

FIREWOOD STORAGE

Whether you prefer the log-carrier version for vertical logs or want a regular basket to load wood vertically, using a basket for firewood on your hearth is both pretty and practical.

REMOTE CONTROL STORAGE

If you have items in your living room you want to stow away but still keep within reach, look for a small basket you can keep on display. 

SIMPLE MEDICINE ORGANIZATION

Who has a cluttered medicine cabinet or shelf? As with most things, it’s easier to KEEP medicine organized when there is a clear system in place that everyone can understand. Every household has different needs, but consider boxes for First Aid, Vitamins, Pain Killers, Stomach Issues, Prescriptions, Allergies, and/or Children’s medicine.

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