Whether you live in a small apartment or a big house, somehow there’s always too much stuff lying around: Seasonal clothing and decorations, tools you only need occasionally, small items that clutter up the space. Time to get organized and store everything efficiently! To get your home from messy to neat, StudyFinds created a list of the best storage containers for easy organization.
It’s easy to let a mess get out of control. According to a survey, eight in 10 Americans admit to having at least one area that seems impossible to keep clean or organized. The average American has about three different “cleaning black holes” in their home — usually closets, garages, or basements. As many as 88 percent also have at least one “junk drawer” full of knick-knacks. Let’s face it, that’s not great news. A messy home isn’t just an aesthetic issue: Turns out there’s a direct link between your home’s tidiness and your well-being.
Want to feel better in your home and skin? Time for a Marie Kondo-attack! Eight in 10 Americans believe that organizing makes them feel more in control of their life. Respondents further stated the process boosted their mood (54%), reduced stress (49%), increased focus (48%), organized thoughts (47%), and improved their physical health (45%). An impressive 85 percent felt more motivated after organizing and properly storing their belongings. Other feelings that arose were a sense of accomplishment (55%), motivation (46%), energy (42%), and relief (36%).
Sounds promising! And StudyFinds can help with solutions: We researched reviews across ten expert websites for our list of the top five best storage containers to keep you organized. Did we nail it? We’d love to hear your feedback. Please share it in the comments.
The List: Best Storage Containers, According to Organization Pros
One bin to rule them all… The storage experts love Rubbermaid, especially the BRUTE. As the name implies, these containers are tough! “If you want bins for your garage, attic, or basement that can take a lot of abuse, we recommend the Rubbermaid Brute Totes. These containers are made with high-density polyethylene, a sturdier and more temperature-resistant plastic than the clear polypropylene containers we’ve tested […],” writes Wirecutter.
“Rubbermaid is a household name, and many people may already be familiar with their totes. Their Brute storage tote with lid is our pick for the overall best storage container for its ability to store all kinds of items,” states Better Homes & Gardens. “There is plenty of space for stashing sweaters, summer bedding, or seasonal decor in the garage. The lid snaps on for a more secure storage solution, and built-in handles make it easy to lift and transport.”
And the New York Post recommends: “For the large, heavy-duty container with handles that you need to stand the test of time, rain and grime — go for this Rubbermaid Brute 20 gallon pick. They stack well and are ideal for attics, basements and garages where abuse may be more apparent since they’re made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a sturdier and more temperature-resistant plastic than other options on the market.”
While there isn’t a specific Sterilite model all experts agree on, these containers belong (high up) on our list as nearly every expert recommended at least one model by the brand. This Old House claims the Sterilite Clear Storage Containers are the best containers overall as they “are attractive and practical solutions for any home or classroom” with “a phthalate-free construction with black-hinged latch clips to keep out dust, dirt, and pests.” Plus, “their durable plastic construction ensures they will last for years.”
The Spruce‘s favorite — by Sterilite and overall — is Sterilite’s Garage Tote. “The Sterilite 50-Quart Garage Tote is our top pick because it’s durable enough to withstand everyday use in interior closets or long-term storage in exterior sheds. A smart design with secure lid closures makes this storage box outstanding for both options. The latching handles are sturdy, easy to grip, and snap into place. This will ensure your items stay inside the bin if it happens to fall over in your closet or attic. The strong plastic keeps moisture and dust out, so you can trust that your belongings will be safe for years.”
Another Rubbermaid model the experts love is the Roughneck. It sounds at least as tough as the Brute — because it is. “Rubbermaid – Roughneck containers are made of flexible, tough polyethylene, and most discussion board posts we read agree that they’re the gold standard for rugged and reliable storage,” Your Best Digs says about this “beloved classic.”
And according to The Strategist, “a bin that’s both heavy duty and securely stackable — you won’t have to worry about a tower of the totes toppling over.” They also keep out almost anything, from pests to moisture: “Snug closure is part of the reason they are ubiquitous in storage units: there’s very little that can get through the bin’s plastic walls.”
To summarize, these containers are “made of polyethylene that’s resistant to cold weather and designed to take a beating — stack these boxes one on top of the other and they won’t bend or buckle. If they do, no biggie, as Rubbermaid backs them with a lifetime warranty. Despite their durability, Roughnecks are also lightweight and easy to carry with the built-in handles,” mentions Gear Patrol.
While these are not as tough as the Rubbermaid models, Iris Storage Boxes are a frequently recommended storage solution. “They’re sturdy and easy to use and they come in more sizes (12) than any other bins we tested,” writes Wirecutter. “They were also the tightest-sealing clear bins we tested, thanks to a foam gasket in the lid and extra latches around the edges (most bins have only two on each end). The Irises also stack more securely—each bin’s base sits snugly into a groove on the lid of the one below. In addition, the Iris bins maximize interior space because they have straighter sides than several other bins we’ve tested.”
“The Iris Weathertight is our favorite storage bin for nearly any organizational need,” states GearLab. “We’ve been using this bin for years, organizing office supplies, medical supplies, keepsakes, and holiday decorations. The numerous latches all around the lid provide a secure fit and seal, keeping contents safe. With nearly straight sides and interlocking lids and bottoms, they’re easy to stack and fill with just about anything. The 26.5 quart size we tested is one of our favorite sizes — it’s large enough to fit a lot of stuff while still small enough that you don’t have to dig too deep to find small items.”
This Old House likes that “they feature grooves on the lid and body which make it easy to stack multiple units together and save on space. These plastic containers also have secure buckles that latch onto the lid to ensure items inside stay safe and protected from dust and liquids. For added convenience, the bins also have a pull handle attached at the bottom, allowing you to easily retrieve them from shelves without straining or clawing.”
A third heavy-duty Rubbermaid model concludes this list. The impressive-looking Action Packer is “best for: oversize items or big loads that are hard to carry,” per Wirecutter. It’s available with wheels and “helpful for anyone who struggles to carry heavy containers or for those who want to save multiple trips by filling one giant bin instead of several smaller ones.”
While expensive, this container sure can handle a lot. The New York Post recommends the Action Packer for “outdoor use — whether you need a large container for your camping gear or even for the back of your pickup truck. This bin is made with durable HDPE, which is ideal when it gets wet for long periods of time.”
“The Rubbermaid Action Packer is built for weathering just about anything you could expect to put a plastic box through — and it does it well,” states GearLab. “Made of high-density polyethylene, this storage bin can handle the cold temperatures of your garage or a truck bed on the open road. It features lockable latches and comes in a few very useful sizes. It’s an efficient shape for stacking several side-by-side on a shelf in the shed, maximizing internal space while minimizing external frills. […] we gladly recommend the Action Packer to anyone in need of a serious storage bin that can handle just about anything.”
You might also like:
- Better Homes & Gardens
- Your Best Digs
- Gear Patrol
- New York Post
- The Strategist
- The Spruce
- This Old House
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.