There are very few products that I recommend over and over again, but the clear plastic shoebox is one of them. Sturdy, stackable and see-through, these boxes are not just good for storing shoes — they’re also the perfect solution for organizing many household items.
Notecards and greeting cards: If you buy a lot of greeting cards or stock up on them throughout the year, these boxes are the perfect size for storing them. The same holds true for boxed notecards. Put all of the cards or card boxes into clear shoeboxes and stack them on a shelf. You won’t overbuy because it will be easy to see what you have. You can also keep a few stamps and return-address labels in the bin to make sending a card even easier.
Batteries: There are containers that are made especially for storing batteries, but they have limited space for each size. Using one of these boxes is a simpler solution. Just toss everything into one undivided box, and you won’t run out of space for those AAs — or worse, store them in five drawers or cupboards around your house.
Small toiletries: Many of us have a large collection of travel- or sample-size toiletry products. Certain that they’ll be useful someday, we tuck them away in the medicine cabinet, the bathroom vanity or the linen closet, and then when we can’t find what we need quickly, we end up buying more. Consolidating them into one of these boxes will make it easy to see what you have. If you have more products than fit into one plastic shoebox, you have too many! Use them up.
Ribbon: No one ever knows how to store ribbon. This is the answer. And don’t keep every color of the ribbon rainbow — be realistic about how much gift wrapping you actually do and keep the basic colors, such as white, silver and gold, that you are most likely to use.
Small plastic toys: These boxes are the answer to storing any and all small plastic toys, including Legos. Small children can see what’s inside, so they can find what they want without having to ask. They also can carry the boxes from room to room because they are so lightweight. And when company comes, you can stash the boxes in a cabinet or closet.
Doll clothes: The characteristics that make these boxes useful for small toys also work for doll clothes and accessories. Clothes for dolls such as Barbie or American Girl fit perfectly in these small boxes, and the containers can be stored on shelves in a bedroom or playroom or beneath a child’s bed.
Basic tools: What tools do you use most often? Most likely a hammer, nails, screwdriver and measuring tape, right? You should not have to lug out the heavy toolbox every time you want to hang a picture or measure a space. Keeping a few basic tools nearby in one of these boxes will make small fix-it jobs around the house less daunting.
Art supplies: There are plenty of fancy products out there for storing crayons, markers and pencils, but none of them work any better than simple, cheap plastic shoeboxes. They’re dishwasher-safe, so they are easy to clean, and once you no longer need them for art supplies, they can be washed and repurposed.
Kitchen gadgets and accessories: If you don’t have enough drawers in your kitchen, these boxes are perfect for keeping small gadgets stored neatly in cabinets. Some people use them to store items they rarely use. Others use them to store things such as cocktail napkins, candles or party supplies. And they’re especially effective at corralling all of the lids to your plastic containers.
Photos: Clear plastic boxes also work well as a tool to sort and organize old photographs. Many of us have old albums that are falling apart or huge boxes filled with thousands of photos. One way to minimize bulk is to remove photos from old albums and envelopes and sort them into boxes labeled by year or event.
Sewing supplies: Few people have room for a dedicated sewing space in their home, so a bin is perfect to store supplies neatly on a shelf or in a closet. But even if you do have a space, it’s nice to keep key sewing supplies in one container to prevent you from misplacing buttons, thread or your favorite pair of scissors.