If you’ve ever tried to organize a room — whether it’s your bathroom or bedroom or home office — you’ve probably realized that you need to buy some kind of container to hold your stuff. But it can be tricky to know what type of storage bin is best for which purpose. So to save you from buying things that won’t actually help you achieve the organized home of your Kondo-inspired dreams, we spoke with professional organizers about their favorite storage bins for every room and purpose, including toy storage bins, clothing and shoe storage bins, and underbed storage bins.
And though every room and organization project is different, these 17 baskets, bins, and boxes are the options that organizing professionals reach for the most when tackling any client’s space (and, in one case, even their own).
Best storage bin for small objects
If you’re organizing condiments or a massive collection of nail polishes, you may want to see everything you’ve stored away. Lisa Zaslow of Gotham Organizers is a big fan of these clear bins, which allow you to “turn a shelf into a drawer.” “It’s always hard to get to small things in the back of a shelf, which is why you want to contain them,” Zaslow says. “So if you put all of your spices or all of your beauty products or small office supplies in one of these bins, you can pull the whole bin out and see exactly what your stash is.”
Best easy-to-carry storage bin
If you have items you need to both store and carry around, like tools or cleaning supplies, Zaslow recommends InterDesign’s organizer baskets, which conveniently feature a handle as well as holes that promote airflow and visibility. “They do stack if you don’t fill them above the edge,” she points out. “And they also have a solid, plastic bottom.”
Best see-through lidded storage bin
We can all agree that few things are as unsightly (and as frustrating) as a pile of shoes sitting at the bottom of your closet. These incredibly affordable shoe boxes can help – though, as Bneato Bar founder Beth Penn says, they can help for a lot more than just shoes. “I actually have never used them for shoes, funnily enough,” she says. “I have two in my linen closet: one holding clothes helpers like fashion tape and lint rollers and a little sewing kit, and the other one is holding medicine, all that stuff you don’t use on a daily basis.” For two dollars more, there’s also a tall version, as spotlighted by Ann Lightfoot, a founding partner at Done & Done Home, she uses the boxes to store baking supplies, but they’re beautifully suited for boots and heels, too.
Best opaque lidded storage bin
Anyone living in the “out of sight, out of mind” camp will like these storage bins that come in a variety of sizes, from a narrow version that’s perfect for small items to deeper bins that can hold toys or clothing. You can opt for a white or bamboo lid, and for an extra $2 you can purchase two tags for labeling. “The top also sort of slides off,” says Barbara Reich of Resourceful Consultants. “You don’t have to get your finger under it to pry it off, which is why I like that one.”
Best lidded storage bin (that’s nice-looking enough to display)
Sharon Lowenheim of The Organizing Goddess, meanwhile, likes the decorative bins from Open Spaces, which “look classy enough to have out in the open” and can be purchased with or without a lid.
Best food-safe storage bin
Nothing creates more clutter in a kitchen than disparate bags and boxes of pasta, flour, rice, and your favorite cereal. That’s why it’s worth investing a whole gaggle of these airtight containers from OXO. “I think it probably does stay fresher than flour in a paper bag, and in that way, it works,” says Lightfoot. “But anything that’s in a box with directions, don’t put that in a separate container. You can put them into bins by groups.”
If your fridge has limited space, Lowenheim calls the iDesign deep stackable organizer her favorite refrigerator bin of the moment. “It’s long and skinny and goes from the front of my fridge to the back,” she says. “It holds all of those annoying packages that don’t stand up on their own but take up too much room if you lay them down. We keep skinny packages in it like ham, lox, and cheese.”
The best storage bin for clothes
Cattano loves soft-side linen storage boxes because “they hold a ton of clothes, but they’re not huge, so when they’re full, you can actually lift it.” She bought hers from Muji — where they’re currently sold out — but we love these dupes that have a nice leather handle. “For me, it’s important that the box not only hold what you’re holding but it’s not so heavy that you can’t lift it,” she says.
The best (less expensive) storage bin for clothes
Anyone living without a dresser knows how hard it is to find space for clothing that you need access to on a daily basis (i.e. underwear and socks) but that you also don’t want to see when you don’t need them. Lowenheim recommends investing in some storage cubes like the ones from AmazonBasics, available in six colorways. “They are great for items you are going to access frequently, so you don’t want to have a lid on it,” she says.
Best storage bin for shoes
If you need clear boxes that you can stack to the ceiling with no worries that they’ll topple, professional organizer Laura Cattano really likes these slightly pricier drawer-style shoe boxes. “They’re not airtight, which is good, because most shoes are leather and they want to be able to breathe,” she says. “You can just grab the one that you want. And the drawer comes fully out, which I like because you can take the whole drawer out, put the shoes on, put them back. They’re very easy to use.”
If you need boxes that look less functional and slightly more stylish, Cattano recommends these linen shoe boxes, featuring a paperboard frame, magnetic closure with a drop-front, and small, clear window. “I find that the drop-front boxes keep the dust out,” she says.
Best storage bin for papers
For our story on organizing a small apartment, Zaslow and executive creative director Emmett Shine of Pattern Brands both recommended these stylish striped boxes, which can double as décor. “We keep these for paperwork, receipts, tax files,” Shine told us. “Things that aren’t pleasant, but in these boxes they feel a bit nicer.”
Best decorative storage bin
For storing things out in the open, you’ll want a bin that complements the rest of the room. Cattano likes large rope storage baskets, which she recommends for clients who don’t want toys (or shoes or blankets) strewn everywhere. “Some of my clients don’t just want clear, open plastic bins all over the house,” she says. “These are good for bigger things, so you can kind of hide it, and if someone walks in, they see a beautiful basket instead of the toys.”
Best heavy-duty storage bin
And then there’s the holiday decorations, the clothes you’re saving for your second cousin’s baby, and other items that come in large, hard-to-organize amounts. “Any of the big bins made by Rubbermaid are fantastic quality for outdoors,” says Zaslow of Gotham Organizers. “They have really secure-fitting tops, and they stack. But you do have to label them, because these are not clear. You think you won’t forget what’s inside, but you will.”