Plastic Storage Boxes Buying Guide

Do you have loads of stuff spilling over into your living area?

Are you ready to sort it out and get organised?

First you need to decide on what to keep and either throw out or give away the rest. Try not to store and containerize clutter – after all what would be the point?

Next you need to check out what’s available in terms of plastic storage boxes.

They come in so many sizes and colors, the choice can seem overwhelming but plastic storage boxes are worth the effort.

They are the ideal storage solution for anything and everything in your home or office.

They are the best way to organise and manage your belongings everywhere from a room, to a cupboard to the garage.

They can also be used to carry items around.

Being organised has many benefits. If everything has a home, then you know exactly where to put it away. You will also spend less time finding it again when needed. Do whatever it takes to be happy and efficient in your environment.

Points to consider before shopping for plastic storage boxes


What do you need to store?

It is no good buying 10 of the first storage boxes you come across – that may be way too many or too few. Once full they may be too heavy to move or they may be not full enough to stack. First you need to know what you are trying to store and how much of it there is so gather it together and pile it up in one place. Try and organise it as you go into items that will be stored together such as clothes, papers, photos and shoes.  You should now have an idea of how many boxes of what size you need to fit each separate pile you have made.

What color boxes do you want?

This may seem a silly question and you may be thinking ‘Clear of course. Why have anything else?’, ‘Pink for my little girls’ room.’ or ‘I’ll see what takes my fancy when I start shopping’.  But color can be important for two reasons: (i) if the storage boxes will be on show they will want to match in with surrounding decor and (ii) color can help with organisation of the boxes so they are easier to find in the future. Say Jimmy’s boxes could be blue, Sara’s yellow, or Christmas decorations could be in a red one and old photos in a green one. The only drawback of colored storage bins over clear ones is that they cannot be seen through unless translucent so you have to open them all to find something and they may be harder to match up if you need to buy more in the future.

What size storage box do you need?

It is best to buy large plastic storage boxes unless (i) it is a waste of money because the items you have will rattle around in it or (ii) your items are heavy in which case you will not be able to move the box once full.  Large boxes of cuddly toys are fine but not so full of books. You also need to know where these boxes will be stored. Garage spaces can usually accommodate any sized box, but under bed storage will require a special sized box.  Measure your storage area before you start shopping.

Advantages of plastic storage boxes

  • They are versatile so can be used to store anything from office supplies to kids toys for the short or long term.
  • They come in every size you could possibly need, so you can store tiny beads or buttons as well as bulky bedding and jumpers.
  • They come in clear or colored plastic, so they can be decorative if need be.
  • They are waterproof and won’t rust or corrode.

Types of plastic storage box

There are many different types of storage box. Many are for general use in the home, office, garage or workshop but some have been made with more specific uses in mind such as:

Plastic shoe storage boxes – these are the perfect size for storing dress shoes, athletic shoes, boots, galoshes and more.

Plastic file storage boxes – hold letter-size hanging files.

Plastic food storage boxes – can be airtight for food preservation. Reclosable poly bags are another popular and useful option for food storage.

Plastic CD storage boxes (or DVD) – are the perfect size for organizing and storing your CDs/DVDs.

Plastic underbed storage boxes – are of slim designs so that you can maximize unused storage space under the bed. If you can find ones with center hinges you will have easy access to contents without having to open the entire box. Also look out for those with wheels for easier mobility.

Plastic photo storage boxes – usually include photo cases that each hold sets of standard sized photos. The cases are acid free and feature rounded corners and edges to protect the photos.

Plastic craft storage boxes – craft boxes come in varying sizes but for smaller items, cases with many compartments can be found. Some have open compartments and some contain little boxes that can be closed individually.


School boxes – these organiser type boxes are ideal for school or home. They contain dividers for items such as pens, pencils, crayons and rulers or larger boxes can hold bulkier items such as staplers and glue.

Garden or deck boxes – these rugged boxes are ideal for in or outdoors. They are usually large, lockable and made of tough materials that won’t chip, crack or peel. Some even come with lids designed as seats.


Storage trunks – these large heavy duty plastic storage boxes can accommodate larger items. They usually come with wheels to aid mobility as well as secure latches.

Storage drawers – these stacking drawer systems of either 2, 3 or 4 drawers are ideal for a variety of uses and come in varying sizes such as mini and wide options. Drawer carts have the added benefit of wheels to make them rolling storage options as well as solid side walls on some versions to hide clutter.

Multi drawer towers
– these stacking systems are ideal for craft or workshop areas as they contain a mixture of small and large drawers so items of different sizes can be easily sorted and stored.

Important features to look for

Hinged plastic storage boxes – lids attached to the box with hinges means you have easy access to the inside without misplacing it when opened. They also help to keep the container securely closed.

Lockable plastic storage boxes – some boxes will accept standard sized padlocks to help ensure the security of your belongings. Others feature snap-locks that secure boxes quickly and easily.

Plastic storage boxes with lids – look for sturdy lids that will support the boxes that will be stacking on top of it.

Stackable plastic storage boxes – lids with an indented surface area make for better stability when stacking multiple units. You need stackable boxes so you can store objects while saving space.

Clear plastic storage boxes – clear sides, bottoms or tops make for ideal viewing windows when trying to identify what is in each box without having to remove the lid.

Cheap plastic storage boxes – to try and save yourself some money when purchasing these boxes try (i) to go direct to the manufacturer such as, (ii) search at online auctions such as but watch out for high shipping costs or (iii) use large online retailers such as

Plastic storage boxes with wheels – large boxes need wheels so you can easily move heavy loads around.

Plastic storage boxes with handles – generous handles allow easy gripping when trying to maneuver boxes around. Ensure handles are comfortable and sturdy so that they won’t break or crack in the future. Containers where the handle is built into the box and the lid, rather than just the lid, are best.

Waterproof, dent and crack resistant boxes – are necessary for boxes that will be stored outdoors.

Recycled plastic boxes – are available for the environmentally conscious.

Tips for using plastic storage boxes

  • To remove any labels that come on your storage boxes, either use a non-acetone nail polish remover, olive oil or other cooking oil.
  • Always label your boxes ideally with a packing list so that you can find things easily in the future.
  • Wash your clothes before putting them away in storage boxes as moths are attracted to food stains and perspiration.
  • Keep small children away from them, especially those with lids, as they can climb into them and become stuck.


Popular manufacturers include Iris, Sterilite and Rubbermaid plastic storage boxes.


Most plastic storage boxes or sets of boxes cost under $25 but larger, more durable boxes can cost over $200.

How are plastic storage boxes made?

Most plastic storage boxes are made using an injection molding process. Plastic pellets are mixed and melted with concentrated color pellets until they are combined into a near liquid form. This is then forced into a mold generally made of steel. The plastic is cooled back to a solid state by pumping cold water through the mold. Once cool, the mold is removed and the storage box is then packed and shipped off to a store near you.


With so many different storage boxes available to you, you are sure to find something to suit your needs. Get the most of your boxes by being specific about your needs up front. Make sure you know what you need to store and where you are going to store it.  You are then ready to buy the best boxes for your requirements.