Looking for nice storage bins with lids

grumpydaveJuly 22, 2013

My den has some open shelving. Several years ago I bought a whole bunch of clear plastic storage bins from The Container Store in several sizes, like these:

These were fairly inexpensive and work GREAT for organizing. Anything that would fit in a bin went in a bin (all around the house). Being relatively clear you could still see the contents when you needed to. But, while the bins did make the shelves look more organized they didn't cut down enough on the visual clutter because you could see all the bits and bobs they held. Once a bin was labelled it didn't really need to be see-through anymore.

Now I'm re-outfitting my den and I just finished installing some new shelves.

I want to revisit the storage idea and tackle the cluttered appearance in addition to the organization. Ideally I'd like to get some nice looking bins such as these that can also add some color:

I already have some of these bins in my own closet and they work nicely. However, the big problem is they have no lids or covers. In the den this means all the stuff I rarely use is going to gather dust inside the bin. With the plastic bins the contents stay clean and I just need to dust the bins on occasion. With open bins it's going to become a real mess.

So, what I'm hoping to find is some nice decorative bins I can place on shelves that can also be covered to keep the dust out. Ideally they should come in multiple sizes and have a place for a label too. And naturally I'd prefer if they didn't cost $50 a pop!

Any ideas?

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Ikea, if there's one anywhere near you.

They have several choices for lidded storage boxes: Kasset, which comes in a couple of sizes and colors, Bladis, which is a woven box, Knos, which sort of looks like leather. There are a few other options, too.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 6:21AM
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Yep - IKEA!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Another vote for Ikea. I have several of the Kasset boxes. They are nice, but would not hold up to daily usage. They are not even as strong as a good shoe box.

What about the Kvittra boxes? Has anyone purchased them?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea storage

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Thanks for the replies! I'll have a look at what Ikea has to offer.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Wouldn't doors on the shelves solve the problem? You could use the plastic bins that are so convenient, without the cluttered look. I think of shelves as display space, and cabinets as storage space. Will you be displaying things on some of the shelves, and using others for storage? Perhaps you could put doors on the outer stacks.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:38PM
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I think it might be hard to install doors on that piece at this point.

You could consider photo-storage boxes; they're often available in nice colors, etc., and the paper is coated so you can wipe them easily. They're an interesting size that's often very useful.

Sometimes you can find them in alternate sizes as well at the same place (media storage, maybe).

Sometimes a place like Michaels has a huge stash in coordinating papers.

You might have better luck if you searched on "storage boxes"
or "photo storage boxes"
wooden storage boxes


The Container Store's Stockholm series comes in lots of different shapes; the color choices are somewhat limited.

I always have a fantasy of making my own boxes out of Bainbridge board (heavy, heavy matting board found at art-supply stores), and covering them w/ a coated wallpaper.

But if you didn't want to do this, you might still be able to do *most* of your shelf-filling with the standard photo-storage box, but then buy some extras and cut them down and reglue to fit in any non-standard spaces. Use a coordinating color of washi tape or electrical tape to cover any unsightly seams.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Yeah, adding doors isn't really an option now. If those were custom shelves I would have added them but they're just standard RTA closet organizers. They don't make any matching doors and I was limited by the sizes anyway. The two outer units actually go behind the side walls by a couple inches so no doors or drawers there at all. At least I got a few drawers that I didn't have before so I can hide some of the stuff that doesn't otherwise go in a bin.

Even if I just continue using the plastic containers it's still worlds better than not using them and having everything jumbled on the shelf. Plus my containers will actually fit on these shelves because they're deeper than the old ones. They used to hang over the front a little which didn't look nice.

Oh, and since this is my den I'm more concerned with useful storage than display space. I want it to look nice if I can, but ultimately I need a place for everything to go.

Thanks again for the replies. I'll look around at photo storage boxes.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:53PM
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You could also buy some wallpaper or other sort of paper and use it to line the boxes. They'd still be clear plastic, so not quite as attractive, but they could be very uniform-looking and would look less cluttered.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:31PM
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ooh, here you go!

Photo boxes by color, and each color comes in a few different sizes.


Only bad thing: they're wholesale, so you have to order 25 at a time (I don't know if you need a wholesaler number). But when they're $1.42 each, you're talking $35.50 to get a minimum order of each size.

I don't know what you'd do w/ the extras--sell them, maybe, or put them elsewhere.

You might ask if they'd send you a sample so you can be sure they're sturdy enough for you. They have a "contact us" link.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Here's a scrapbooking place that has photo boxes.

There's a color theme--B&W.

It made me realize that if you truly needed other sizes, you could buy all your main boxes in a common color theme, esp. B&W.

And then you could add other brands of boxes in a coordinating color.
B&W would be easy, because you can often find boxes in black, or white. Or you can add in a single accent color (and make your labels for the B&W boxes in that accent color, maybe, or add trim if you wanted to get hoity-toity)

Or, different shades of blue blend nicely even if they don't match. Ditto green.

That would give you the option to add in boxes in other colors.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Wow, the Container Store site shows some really nice boxes. They aren't cheap at $20 each, but they sure are nice.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Then there are these, which are shoe boxes but cardboard, and uniform size, etc. Not that many interesting colors.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Wow, great finds talley_sue! Thanks for the links. At that price buying 25 at a time is no problem. I probably have at least two hundred of the plastic containers in four different sizes. They're so useful everywhere around the house.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 2:55AM
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Have you ever tried to search for plastic bins on pinterest? It's really helpful because you get to see how other people use them and it will help you realize how you could use them as well. I search on pinterest all the time to get ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest storage

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Check these out, I found these on Pinterest and they look just like what you're looking for. Let me know what you think.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:49AM
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I really like the wooden storage unit, would love one of those. I have a shelf unit I bought at K-Mart a few year back. They are stack able shelves, one with doors and the other slide out shelves. The are not to deep and I put them in my walk in closet. Since it is just me I put the fabric boxes on top of the shelves for my laundry. Except for bedding and towels I don't have enough laundry to wash one day a week so with the boxes I can plainly see when I have a load.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I got all the way to the end on ordering Wildcat Wholesale boxes without having to give a sales tax number, so while they say "wholesale," they do seem to sell to the public.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:02PM
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I fully agree that clear storage bins are good for easy retrieval afterwards, but they kind of defeat the purpose of a bin which is to conceal the mess inside. Therefore, I still personally prefer opaque storage bins and labelling is all they need for easy locating later on. Furthermore, opaque bins means you can choose which colours or patterns you would like to have in order to match your other furniture in the room.

This post was edited by EdwardThirlwall on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 2:23

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:06PM
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I think of this post every time I'm in Michaels and I see the pretty photo boxes in coordinating designs/colors.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 11:07AM
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I suppose grumpydave is long gone, or solved the problem, but a tension rod with a pretty shower curtain would eliminate the cluttered look, and help hold down dust.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 4:03PM
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