Bins, Tubs & Containers: Start with the Right Supplies

It’s easy to organize when you have the right supplies.  And you don’t need to purchase new items to make your organization work.  First, re-purpose items you already own.  It’s fun and easy to find storage and organizing solutions for items you think might not be useful in their original form.

Next, if you need more supplies make a list of what to purchase so you’re prepared when you shop for new supplies. Be creative with where you find items.  Could you find a treasure bin at a thrift shop? Are friends donating their extras?  And remember to check for sales at local discount stores.



It’s easier for kids to help clean if they can just toss supplies in a bin.  We have lots of options in our toy room and have the toys organized by categories.  I’m making info-graphic labels for each bin, so both kids know what toys will go where by the picture on the front (you’ll be able to see those pictures in my Labeling blog).  We purchased the blue bins 10 years ago to store holiday decorations and have re-purposed them many times in the last decade.


Cleaning Containers

We don’t use many cleaning supplies, mostly natural cleaners. But the supplies we have are organized on a high shelf in our laundry room.  You’ll want to keep cleaning supplies out of children’s reach. We store our plastic bags to re-purpose into trash can liners in our green bin that we purchased 5 years ago and have re-purposed many times since. We store our floor cleaner in our mop bucket and have a small container that houses the rest of our cleaning supplies.  It’s much easier to find what you need when you keep everything together.


Closeable Containers

These make it easy to use the needed items, and then stack & store when not in use.  You can close the container and travel with it easily. I keep my makeup, nail polish, and hair accessories in closeable containers in our master bathroom. You’ll also see a re-purposed pottery bowl that I use for my fancy rubber bands–It’s like a fun game to see how you can make items you already own work for what you need now and it’s a great way to eliminate excess.


Closet Containers

Your storage needs to work for you in every area.  For closets, consider making the most of each shelf.  Keep safe items on shelves reachable by kids (because they may get pulled down often for playing).  Keep rarely used items out of reach on the top shelf.  And use containers to corral all small items into categories–remove the lids to allow yourself to grab needed items with just one hand.  We have our closet storage organized into these containers: bath & shower, body care, bandages & medicine, medical supplies, mouth care, soap & hand gel, and travel toiletries.



Keep your files together where you need them and use the same organization system for all of your documents, forms and records.  We have 5 filing storage areas in our office right next to our desk with the computer and financial information.  We purchased these plastic file bins when we were first married (it was what we could afford at the time) and have used them ever since, because even though we could purchase something better–the cheap version still serves it’s purpose.  Continuing to use an item through its life cycle is another great way to eliminate excess–remember, just because you can purchase something new, doesn’t mean it’s needed.



We keep our food in this pantry shelf in the hallway near our kitchen.  It was originally used as towel/bathroom storage in our last house.  But now, since we do so much price matching, we needed a place to store all of our great deals. When storing items in an area this large, keep like items together and store heavy items on the bottom shelf or close to the bottom. Keep shelves with kid-friendly items within their reach. To re-purpose items, think about what you need now and discard the notion of how you used it in the past–if it fits your needs, it works!



For items you don’t need to see, large opaque tubs are a great storage solution.  We’ve purchased about twenty of these and use them in our garage, our front-door closet and the kids closet for long-term storage.  Each bin is labeled and items inside are organized by type, size or item.  My favorite tubs are the Rubbermaid Roughneck Tubs because they are durable and inexpensive. Keep items that you need to process near your organized items–you’ll notice the piles on top of these bins.  These are clothes I need to file, and this reminder helps me get the task done quicker, and keeps all of my supplies together.

Tip! Keep at least one label for organization containers on the back of one storage bin, tub and container.  When you need to repurchase the item, you don’t have to try to remember what it was called, you can just look at the label!


  1. […] 4. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. We sell all of our kids clothes after they’ve grown out of them. The sales are seasonal. We keep the spring/summer clothes in the green tub and the fall/winter clothes in the grey tub. As we change out the kids’ clothes each season, we put the outgrown items in these tubs in our garage. Then twice a year, we get them out and organize them to sell. The process is pretty easy because we’ve got a system and we’re sticking with it. Find what works for you and do it–it helps to have the right supplies. […]

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