“A place for everything and everything in its place” sounds good in theory, but putting away all the stuff that can easily accumulate in the average home can be challenging, especially when it’s time to store seasonal items. This is where quality storage bins come in to safely and neatly organize everything from holiday decor to off-season clothing as well as such everyday goods as your family’s favorite cereal. The best storage bins are designed for convenient placement under a bed; in a closet, pantry, or garage; or in plain sight on the kitchen counter.
Storage containers are such indispensable products, it’s no surprise that the market abounds with bins. To find out which containers are truly the top contenders, we tested out some of the most popular options. Read on to learn what to look for when shopping for these organizing assets as well as the results of our hands-on tests to discover the best storage containers for your stuff, style, space, and budget.
- BEST OVERALL: Iris Stack & Pull Storage Box
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amazon Basics Collapsible Fabric Storage Cubes
- BEST FOR CLOTHES: Lifewit 90-Liter Clothes Storage Bag Organizer
- BEST FOR SMALL OBJECTS: mDesign Stackable Bin With Handles
- BEST FOR PANTRY: Chef’s Path Airtight Food Storage Containers
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Rubbermaid Roughneck 3-Gallon Storage Totes
- BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Rubbermaid 24-Gallon Action-Packer Storage Box
- BEST FOR REFRIGERATORS: iDesign 3-Piece Recycled Plastic Refrigerator Bin Set
How We Tested the Best Storage Bins
We tested each storage container according to established rubrics, including capacity, materials, ease of cleaning and filling, and overall aesthetics. We rated each storage container based on these rubrics on a scale from 0 to 4 to determine their score.
We first determined how well each container’s capacity worked with several types of materials and items, paying particular attention to how clean and fresh it kept its contents. Next, we examined the container’s durability and maintenance. Lastly, we determined how easy it was to store the containers in closets, on shelves, and in various places in the house.
Our Top Picks
The best storage bins give buyers the opportunity to get organized and have a dedicated space to store everything from clothing and bedding to home decor and even food. Keeping the above considerations in mind, read on to discover some of the best storage bins on the market in a variety of categories to help you select the product that suits your needs.
These plastic storage bins from Iris USA are available in different sizes and quantities. This 19-quart size measures 15.38 inches long by 12.38 inches wide by 9.63 inches high, and all of the sizes feature handles and latches with an ergonomic design, making them comfortable to move. Each size is available for purchase as a pack of six.
The storage bins are semiopaque to offer some privacy as well as just enough visibility to potentially identify what’s inside. Sturdy plastic makes them appropriate for lightweight as well as heavier items. Overall, these versatile storage bins can hold virtually any object, and their stacking ability makes them ideal for narrow or cramped storage areas.
We loved the versatility of this set of six bins. In testing, we used them to hold an assortment of items, including pet supplies, arts and crafts tools and materials, and even some dried pantry goods. The 19-quart containers are large enough to hold an ample amount yet still small enough to fit on shelves. We especially appreciate how the molded hand area at the bottom of the bin made it easier to lift. We also like the bins’ stackable design because it makes nesting them into smaller corners easier. Our only objection was the lids’ locking mechanism, which seemed flimsy and even fell off a few times. However, reattaching the lids is easy, making this downside more of a nuisance than a problem.
- Capacity: 19 quarts
- Height: 9.63 inches
- Material: Plastic
- Stackable design makes it easy and stable to nest bins on top of each other
- The semitransparent containers let users identify what’s inside without removing the lid
- They are sturdy and provide ample space to hold a variety of objects
- The locking clips on the bins are somewhat flimsy and easily fall off
Get the Iris storage bins at Amazon.
For versatile open storage at a budget-friendly price, it’s hard to beat these fabric storage bins from Amazon Basics. They can simplify the storage of many small, everyday items while keeping the cubby area of a foyer or mudroom neat and organized. Each bin features a handle that makes it easy to pull it out and put it away as needed. The bins are also collapsible for convenient storage when not in use. For versatile open storage at a budget-friendly price, it’s hard to beat these fabric storage bins from Amazon Basics. They can simplify the storage of many small, everyday items while keeping the cubby area of a foyer or mudroom neat and organized. Each bin features a handle that makes it easy to pull it out and put it away as needed. The bins are also collapsible for convenient storage when not in use.
Measuring 10.5 inches long by 10.5 inches wide by 11 inches high, these storage bins are available as a six-pack with a choice of six colors: beige, black, gray, brown, navy, and red. This size allows the bins to fit in a host of spaces for colorful organization under beds and benches, on cubby shelves, and even simply placed on the floor in kids’ playrooms or craft areas. Although not suitable for very heavy items, they can hold a variety of books, paper goods, and toys.
In testing, we found the Amazon Basics collapsible fabric bins ideal for a home office or craft room. They fit perfectly into our open-backed shelves with 13-inch square openings. We filled them with books, paper, stamp sets, markers, and more. The handles on the front made it easy and convenient to pull the bins off the shelves. We also liked that they fold completely flat and store easily when not in use. The only issue worth pointing out is that, as open storage, the bins can’t keep out dust and other debris.
- Capacity: 19 liters
- Height: 11 inches
- Material: Fabric
- These bins have sewn-in, easy-to-grab handles in the front
- When not in use, they fold flat for easy storage
- A collapsible rigid base reinforces the bins for extra durability
- The open-top design does not keep out dust and other debris
Get the Amazon Basics storage bins at Amazon.
For safely storing off-season clothes and bedding, this three-pack of fabric storage bins from Lifewit has several features that allow for excellent organization. Measuring 23.62 inches long by 16.93 inches wide by 13.78 inches high and with a 90-liter capacity, each container boasts a reinforced handle and a sturdy zipper.
They come in a choice of three colors—gray, black, or blue—and also feature a clear viewing section to easily identify what’s stored inside. A single bin can hold about 35 items of clothing, one king-size comforter, or six blankets. Once filled, the bins can be stacked in a closet, attic, or basement; plus, they’re short enough to fit under a bed. When not in use, the bins are collapsible for easy storage.
We typically store comforters and winter clothing in large plastic bins, which take up a lot of space, so we were pleased with the alternative provided by the Lifewit 90-Liter Clothes Storage Bag Organizer. The surprisingly spacious and sturdy bag boasts a 90-liter capacity that easily held our full comforters and winter coats. The fabric is durable, and the side handles make carrying the bins more comfortable. Our sole objection is that the containers had no structure whatsoever, which made loading them with large, bulky items tedious.
- Capacity: 90 liters
- Height: 13.78 inches
- Material: Fabric
- The bag has reinforced seams and handles for added durability and load capacity
- It’s roomy enough to fit bulky clothes like sweaters as well as bedding
- An ample plastic front window makes it easy to see what’s stored inside
- The bins have no structure, so loading can be tedious
Get the Lifewit storage bins at Amazon.
Small objects can be challenging to organize neatly, but these stackable plastic storage bins from mDesign can keep a host of different items tidy and handy. Ideal for the likes of vitamins, toiletries, and small tools in the kitchen or bathroom, the open storage bins come in a pack of eight as well as in a variety of sizes. Each bin is shatterproof, easy to clean, and made of BPA-free plastic (so they’re suitable for food storage).
The bins measure 10 inches long by 6 inches wide by 3 inches high, and we tested them by filling them with arts and crafts supplies. We loved how well the containers stacked on top of each other due to the raised feet on the bottom of each bin and how well they fit perfectly into a small shelf space. They are lightweight and easy to carry, thanks to built-in handles on each side. The only drawback we found is that the bins are hand-wash only, which can be inconvenient, especially if the bins are used to store food items.
- Capacity: 180 cubic inches
- Height: 3 inches
- Material: Plastic
- Bins feature built-in handles that make them simple to carry
- Raised feet on the bottom of each bin make them a vertically stackable, space-saving storage solution
- The bin’s open-top and clear plastic design provides grab-and-go visibility
- The stackable bins are not dishwasher-safe and require hand-washing
Get the mDesign storage bins at Amazon.
A pantry is prone to becoming disorganized, but fortunately, these airtight food storage bins from Chef’s Path can help keep kitchen storage neat and accessible. This seven-piece set features an airtight design ideal for storing the likes of beans, grains, food, tea, coffee, flour, and much more. The set includes one large container (8-cup capacity), two medium containers (5.1-cup capacity), two small containers (3.4-cup capacity), and two mini containers (2.1-cup capacity).
Not only are the bins made of clear and durable ABS plastic, but the set boasts 10 reusable chalkboard labels to identify the contents at a glance and be updated as needed with the included chalkboard marker. They’re stackable to save space on pantry shelves.
In testing, we used these storage containers to keep pantry items such as pasta, sugar, and flour airtight and fresh. We liked the flip lock at the top, which made opening and closing simple, and the attractive, streamline appearance of the canisters made our pantry look neater and more modern. Keep in mind that after washing, the rubber gasket on the lid must be removed and dried. Gaskets are great for creating a tight seal, but they can also retain moisture if left wet; fortunately, we found it easy to remove and replace the gaskets on these containers.
- Capacity: Varies; 0.5, 0.8, 1.2, and 1.9 liters
- Height: Varies; 4, 6, 8, and 12 inches
- Material: Plastic
- The bins keep food fresh and dry due to their air-lock design
- Set offers 4 sizes and capacities to store various pantry staples
- Containers are durable, easy to clean, and attractive
- The rubber gasket around the lids must be removed and dried after washing so it won’t hold moisture
Get the Chef’s Path storage bins at Amazon or Chef’s Path.
For heavier items, these commercial-grade storage bins from Rubbermaid offer robust storage and can also help keep items off the floor. These containers come in sizes ranging from 3 gallons to 50 gallons to accommodate various storage needs. They are also available in multipacks, so several can be ordered at once for those who have extensive storage needs.
These heavy-duty, impact-resistant bins are designed to withstand temperatures from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. As airtight containers, they also protect contents from moisture, so they can even be used for storing nonperishable food items in the garage, shed, or basement. The stackable design features built-in handles for easier transport.
As long-time fans of Rubbermaid storage bins, we expected these 3-gallon containers to perform well, and they didn’t disappoint. We used them to store multiple heavy items such as batteries, hand tools, and hardware, and they proved to be plenty tough. We appreciated how effectively the containers fit snugly into the lids when stacked on top of each other. Yet while we really like the design and material of these bins, we did find the 3-gallon size a bit too small for general storage of larger items. Thankfully, Rubbermaid offers them in a host of different sizes made from the same durable material.
- Capacity: 3 gallons
- Height: 7 inches
- Material: Plastic
- Durable bins boast an easy-to-carry and stackable design
- Plastic material is washable for simple maintenance and repeated use
- Suitable for use in attics, garages, and basements due to their impact- and weather-resistant design
- The 3-gallon size may be too small for general storage of large items
Get the Rubbermaid Roughneck storage bins at Amazon.
For storing items outdoors, the Rubbermaid 24-Gallon Action-Packer Storage Box offers weather-resistant portable storage. The lid has a grooved design that prevents moisture from pooling on top of the container. The heavy-duty latches have a hole for placing a lock, and a hole in the lower part of the handle allows bungees to be attached for further security.
In testing, we were highly impressed by how sturdy the Rubbermaid Action-Packer bins proved to be when we took two of them on a camping trip. They were comfortable to carry, and the impact-resistant plastic exterior kept the contents, including pantry items, clothing, and bedding, intact and dry. The bins even served as extra seating at our campsite. In addition, we stored bird food in a bin on our porch for several days. The Action-Packer kept water and moisture out, even after a heavy rainstorm. While we were disappointed that the bins didn’t come with locks, it was really just a minor inconvenience.
- Capacity: 24 gallons
- Height: 16.9 inches
- Material: Plastic
- The heavy-duty bins are weather-resistant and easy to clean
- Latches have holes to hold a lock or loop bungee cords through to help keep items secure
- Stackable design makes it easy to store the bins to save space
- The locks for latches are sold separately
Get the Rubbermaid Action-Packer storage bins at Amazon (2-pack), The Home Depot, or Target (2-pack).
A messy fridge is unappealing, inefficient, and can lead to food spoilage—so consider the solution offered by the iDesign 3-Piece Recycled Plastic Refrigerator Bin Set. It features a berry bin with a rack insert designed to keep produce fresh. Also included is a bin with removable dividers and a small container ideal for precut fruit or vegetables.
The BPA-free, shatter-resistant bins are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic to be environmentally conscious. They boast a modern, clean look and integrated ledges and handles for stacking and easy access.
We found that these clear plastic containers keep food fresh in the refrigerator for about a week. They’re not airtight, so they’re not designed for long-term storage for some produce. But they still performed well for produce with a short shelf life such as berries, freshly cut fruit, and salad greens. We liked how well they stacked on top of each other, making them ideal for efficient storage in tight spaces. In our testing, we tried the bin with dividers to store individually wrapped snacks in the pantry and liked how the dividers separated the snacks. The lids can slip off a bit too easily, but we don’t consider that a deal breaker.
- Capacity: 2.03, 3.23, and 4.5 liters
- Height: 3.76 inches
- Material: Plastic
- Bins are made from 100 percent recycled plastic that is BPA-free and shatter-resistant
- Feature integrated ledges and handles for stacking and easy access
- Clean, modern appearance lends an attractive look while keeping the fridge organized
- The plastic lids are not airtight and easily shift around
Get the iDesign storage bins at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Storage Bins
Storage containers can play an important role in the home; they help keep clutter to a minimum and allow users to organize essential items. That being said, shoppers will still want to consider several factors when choosing the best storage bins for their specific needs. In particular, they ought to think about the type, size, and number of items that require storage and then carefully evaluate the size, weight, and design of each bin they might purchase.
The items to be stored is an important consideration when choosing the best storage bins for organizing needs. If storing lightweight items, like clothing or bedding, the bins themselves can be made of a lightweight material, such as fabric or thin plastic. However, if heavier items, including books, electronics, and seasonal decorations are to be stowed away, heavy-duty storage bins may be a better choice, as they should resist cracking or tearing when loaded and moved around.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of storage bins matters, both for maximizing available storage space and making sure the bins are easy to move. The best storage bins should be large enough to accommodate all the items users want to store yet not too cumbersome or heavy to move when they need to access or relocate them (especially if stowed in out-of-the-way spaces, such as in the attic). Storage bins are available in many different sizes and weights, suited to different types of items. While bulky pieces like blankets and comforters require larger bins, smaller things like accessories are ideally stowed in small or slim storage bins.
Storage bins come in a variety of designs to accommodate different items successfully. Most larger containers typically include lids, which are great for packing off-season sweaters to go in the back of the closet or under the bed. Bins that boast airtight lids are ideal for the pantry to keep food fresh. However, open storage makes everyday gear like shoes, hats, and tote bags easier to access—there’s no top to fuss with when trying to get out the door.
The best storage bins also come in different shapes, including rectangular, flat, tall, and square. Their design may feature different materials, typically fabric or plastic. Some storage bins are meant to stand alone, while others are designed to be stacked. The best storage bins for a particular shopper will have a design that makes sense for their needs, so they’ll want to consider where they’ll be storing the bins as well as what they’ll be storing in them.
Lids and Handles
Lids on storage containers help keep out dust and dirt and also allow for easier stacking, so if users don’t need frequent access to stored items, they will want to look for bins with sturdy lids that attach firmly. Alternatively, consider storage bins with drawers: The top of the bin protects items while the slide-out drawers offer access. Handles make storage bins easier to lift and move, so look for strong, comfortable handles if the containers will be transported from one area to another often.
An airtight lid is an important factor when storing both human food and pet food. It helps prevent food from absorbing outside odors, becoming contaminated with dust and dirt, and collecting moisture so it can stay fresh longer.
Also, while airtight storage may not be necessary for everyday clothing, linen, and toys, when it comes to sentimental objects like family heirlooms as well as important financial documents, an airtight design can protect these items from deterioration.
Getting organized with the best storage bins can be easy once you know which products suit your particular situation. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about storage bins.
Q. How do I organize my storage bins?
Many people find it helpful to organize storage bins by keeping similar items together to make them easier to find, such as storing only toys or only clothing in one storage bin. Dividers and labels can help separate and identify what’s contained in the bins.
Q. What do you put in fabric storage bins?
Fabric storage bins are most suitable for clothing, bedding, and pillows, but you can also store children’s items, such as stuffed animals or other soft toys, and medium-weight items, like some books or keepsakes.
Q. Is it OK to store photos in plastic bins?
It is generally safe to store photos in plastic storage bins. However, if you’ll be storing photos for an indefinite amount of time, look for opaque bins to help keep out light that could damage photos.
Q. Can you store books in plastic containers?
Sturdy plastic containers are actually best suited for books as they are less likely to break under the weight of a lot of heavy material.
Q. How do you keep bugs out of storage bins?
As long as your storage bins are airtight and watertight, bugs won’t be able to get in.
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