We hate to be the ones to say it, but you’re going to have to put your swimsuits and sandals away for the season. Plus, the sand toys, beach umbrellas, and all the other summer stuff that’s in a big heap by the door. The whole process of returning to the real world in September can be a crazy-making puzzle, especially when you don’t have loads of closet space or a basement to toss everything into. So this week, we’re sharing home organizational essentials to make the transition a little easier. It’s Straighten Out Your Space Week on the Strategist.
The two most important considerations when you’re thinking about storage should be where it’s going and what’s being put inside. For example, a roomy basket might make sense for packing away charging cords and backup shampoo in a closet — but in a kids’ room, the same bin would make locating your child’s favorite stuffed elephant at the bottom a messy affair. And, as we discovered when speaking to many professional organizers and de-clutterers for this story, finding functional and stylish storage can also involve some creative thinking, e.g., using a shoe organizer not for housing your prized Birks, but for wrangling the toiletries underneath your sink.
So to help you find the best storage bins and baskets that fit your space, stuff, and aesthetic, we rummaged through our archives to round up the best choices for every room in the house. Below, see 20 sturdy, versatile options, as recommended by organizational experts and our own writers.
Best overall storage basket
Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla says three organizers she spoke with recommend these white baskets for their simplicity and versatility. They’re “great for virtually anything,” says Mary Cornetta of Organized Overall, who uses them to store hard-to-organize items like electronic cords. When empty, they’re nestable, but even with the optional lids that Barbara Reich of Life Organized says aren’t too tight-fitting and slide off easily, they’re readily stackable. Pardilla recently got a basket and stores linens in hers, saying she likes how the holes keep her bedding smelling fresh. (Neat Rules founder Allison Dunn also says she appreciates how the holes offer a glimpse of what’s inside.) Plus, it looks good: “I appreciate its clean, minimalist appearance — just looking at the bin makes me feel as though I have my life together,” Pardilla says. The containers come in three sizes and colors.
Best bin to buy in bulk
Although these boxes are sized to hold shoes, Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio and Beth Penn, owner of Bneato Bar Professional Organizing, have both repurposed multiples of the clear bins for a number of uses. Because the containers are stackable and transparent, Trolio says she has them all over her house to store toys and art supplies, while Penn says hers house medications, first-aid supplies, and other bathroom essentials. Penn says they help her set “boundaries” while organizing to keep shelves and cabinets tidy. You can order a single box or a case of five or 20, and if you’re looking for a bit more room, it comes in a larger version that can fit up to a size men’s 13 shoe, according to the brand.
Best storage bins for toys
Small toys and books can easily get lost in a large basket, so professional organizer Britnee Tanner says she prefers putting several of these open-faced wooden bins side by side so kids can easily find what they’re looking for. Tanner says she also likes that they’re stackable, which helps free up floor space. The bins come in large and small sizes.
For larger toys, professional declutterers Nicole Abramovici of Genius Organizing and Christina Giaquinto recommend these two-handled, animal-print baskets. Giaquinto says she likes how the cotton canvas material is tough enough to hold the heaviest of toys, while the designs are also very cute (dinos, llamas, and sloths). Pardilla says the animals can also serve as a fun way to remind kids where different types of playthings are stored away. The baskets have a waterproof interior coating for easy cleaning, according to the brand.
The name describes the type of easy clean-up you might achieve with these portable bags, as Pardilla says you can throw toys to the nylon bag, pull the drawstrings, and “swoop” it all away. “I collect everything that’s out of place and then haul it around putting stuff away, like a Santa’s sack but for decluttering,” Trolio says. She says they’re good for miscellaneous items that can be tossed in the bag and later rifled through without having to dump everything back out on the floor. If you do want to play with all the contents, however, the Swoop makes it easy for you — according to the brand, when the bag is opened wide, it converts into a circular play mat that four to five kids can play around.
At less than half the price of the Swoop, this foldable Flådis bin is another option for portable storage and a favorite of Penn’s for its strength — while the hand-braided criss-crossed seagrass may seem delicate, Penn says hers has survived being shoved around and stuffed full. She keeps one at the end of the hallway to toss in items for organization at a later time, saying “I can quickly tidy and not care about how [toys] land inside,” Penn says, “because you can’t see what’s stored for the most part.”
We think this giant Lego full of Legos is rather delightful — and an effective way to store those sneaky little blocks. This eight-stud storage bin has a drawer for easy organization, and like the bricks themselves, can be stacked and matched with others. “I like these because they are visually so cool-looking,” says Abby Clawson Low, a Dallas-based graphic designer and art director, “and they add something colorful and unusual to the kids’ area.” For more Lego-specific storage options, Strategist contributor Youngna Park wrote this hyperspecific guide to managing them.
Best heavy-duty storage bins
If you’re in need of long-term storage solutions, these heavy-duty Weathertight Totes are “much-loved” by professional organizers, Pardilla says, as they’re stackable, see-through, and come in a variety of sizes — meaning you can store a wide variety of items and easily find them again when you need. Tanner says the thick, translucent plastic bins are “by far one of the most durable on the market,” and Lauren Saltman, owner of organizing company Living. Simplified., says their latches are also strong. The sturdy boxes are available in nine sizes, from 6.5 quarts to 156 quarts.
A standout feature of Rubbermaid’s Roughneck storage tote is the lid’s pronounced lip and shallow well across the top, which Pardilla says makes the bin securely stackable. Decluttering for Dummies author Jane Stoller also says the Roughneck’s handles are easy to lift, as they snap onto the lid for a tight fit.
Best underbed storage bins
For not-stale-smelling clothes even after months in storage, Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa says he uses these underbed boxes that have ventilated nets in the corners. His review persuaded Pardilla to try one, and she says it’s “as durable as he said it would be” — she was able to fit five full-size bedding sets in hers, and the Skubb experienced no strain. It comes with plastic boards that add structure and a handle to easily pull the case out.
Stylist and @itsapt4 renter Mecca James-Williams recommends these rolling bins if your bed frame has legs in the middle as well as at the four corners. Because they come in two parts, they’re likely small enough to fit fully underneath around the frame’s structure (but we suggest checking the measurements if you don’t own a Malm bed these are designed for). James-Williams has four for holding sweaters, out-of-season clothes, and activewear.
This StorageLab underbed shoe organizer comes recommended by professional organizers Rolanda Lokey and Rachel Winkler for its adjustable dividers and space-conserving design. A key feature that makes this system “simple, practical storage for out-of-season shoes,” as Lokey calls it, is the movable slats that can be expanded to accommodate wedges and winter boots, Winkler says. And because the organizer has a clear cover, Winkler says you can find the shoes you’re looking for (and keep them safe from dust bunnies).
Best stackable storage bins
Pardilla says she likes these upgraded cult-favorite Colour Crates from Hay for their stackability and design. This new version (made from recycled postconsumer plastic) has rectangular angles that prevent contents from falling through openings in the crate, and you can also collapse one side of the box to create an open-faced container. They come in more than 20 pastel and bold hues and in three sizes (small, medium, and large).
Best storage bin for shoes
Horderly Professional Organizing co-founder Jamie Hord says these clear stacking boxes “create an exact home for every shoe with super-easy access and give your closet a beautiful yet functional aesthetic.” Because they have a drop-front opening, you don’t even have to unstack them to reach a specific pair, Emily Matles of Emagine Simplicity says. (Less-loved shoes in your collection will still get plenty of fresh air, though, thanks to the organizer’s small ventilation holes, Jessica Decker of Become Organized says.) They’re available in three different sizes so your high-tops can stand upright (and un-squashed).
Best storage basket for bedding
Strategist writer Lauren Ro owns multiples of these $30 cotton rope hampers, and she says “they’re well made, have handles for easy toting, and come in a bunch of muted pastels that are easy to look at.” There are wide and tall size options, and Ro says a wide one should be big enough to hold a couple of pillows and a blanket or two — she uses hers to hold sofa cushions and her big yoga bolster. The basket comes in seven three-toned color options.
Best storage for the kitchen
Food writer Rebecca Firsker has raved about these OXO storage containers for their wide, balanced base that make vertical storage easy in her small kitchen, as well as the pop-up button that engages an airtight seal to keep food fresh. And because they’re clear, you can quickly distinguish between their contents. (Firsker uses hers to hold bulk dried goods, such as granola, oats, flours, and sugars.)
Best storage bins for the bathroom
While these containers are designed to fit shoes, Hord says their drawer functionality really shines as under-sink storage to “maximize the awkward spaces with plumbing that seems to always get in the way.” The transparent sides make it even easier to find your makeup brushes or cleaning supplies. And if you’re working with even less space, the bins also come in a smaller size.
Best storage bin for offices
This acrylic box comes recommended by professional organizer Laura Cattano, who says it looks more like a CB2 sculpture than the typical corporate filing cabinet. She buys clients multiples to easily categorize paperwork, which she further organizes by adding color-coded hanging files (which also add visual interest given that the boxes are transparent). Two handles make the box easy to carry.
Best stylish storage basket
An assistant to a New York City–based fitness influencer has bought more than a dozen of these lightweight wicker bins for storing her boss’s sweats, athletic clothes, and shoes. She says the natural-looking design fits a neutral home-décor aesthetic, and she lines them with torn-up pillowcases to prevent snags. The bins have two handle slots and come in small and large sizes.
Best storage bin for holiday ornaments
And for corralling errant ornaments, we recommend this hardy plastic box that was featured in our guide to the best holiday-decoration storage. The interior comes with removable plastic baskets and dividers that House of Prim founder Meredith Goforth says can be customized to give each glass ball and childhood craft project an individual home. The winged lid is also easy to open and close, says Ann Lightfoot, founding partner at Done & Done Home, and there are built-in handles that flip out so you can securely grasp the box while moving it.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.