11 Storage Ideas Using Plastic Crates


Whether you use free plastic containers from the grocery store or invest in a set of plastic storage boxes, these items make organizing your life a lot easier. These 11 storage ideas will provide organizing inspiration for several different parts of your home.

Under-Sink Organizing

The space under bathroom sinks can get pretty cluttered, often to the point that it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. Make it easier to find what you want by grouping your stuff into small plastic storage boxes and labeling each one with a clear category name. Same goes for the kitchen — round up all your cleaning supplies and random sink accessories to make the most of that space.


Fridge and Freezer Item Sorting

Refrigerators and freezers can also get cluttered, especially if you have a lot of people living in your house. Grouping items into categories separated by labelled plastic boxes will help you avoid food waste by making sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. You can also group food items by person so sibling or roommate conflicts over snacks become obsolete.


Holiday Decor Storage

Plastic storage boxes are great in part because they’re resistant to the elements and, if you choose the right design, can create a tight seal. This means you can gather all your seasonal decor into storage bins and put them in your garage or basement without worrying about them getting musty or dusty.


Cube Shelving

Milk crates are free and make great storage items, but the fact that they’re easily stackable in different directions makes them particularly useful. Get some milk crates and turn them on their sides so the open top faces out, then stack them into cube shelving. You can use glue or zip ties to hold them together.

CC BY 2.0/Anthony Easton/Flickr

Bike Baskets

Using plastic crates for storage can help you avoid buying expensive accessories for your bike. A free milk crate from the grocery store can make a great bike basket — all you need is a rear wheel cargo rack and zip ties or bungee cords to keep it in place.

CC BY-SA 2.0/wgunther/Flickr

Bath Toy Baskets

In addition to being free, milk crates are also full of convenient holes that are generally too small for kids’ bath toys to fit through. That means you can easily store toys after bath time without worrying about wetness creating a mildew-friendly atmosphere. If your kids’ toys are too small, consider putting a mesh bag inside the crate to keep everything in place.


Out-Of-Season Clothing Storage

Plastic storage bins with lids can make ideal places to keep your seasonal clothes. If your dresser and closet are currently overflowing with stuff like parkas or sundresses that you won’t get to wear for another six months, consider packing it all into plastic storage bins. You can either stack these on the floor of your closet or look for bins that are thin enough to fit under your bed.


Storage Ottoman

With a little bit of crafty ingenuity, milk crates can get upcycled into storage ottomans. Make a top out of plywood and use upholstery foam and fabric to cover everything for a polished look.


Car Organizers

From roadside emergency kits to books and toys for the kids in the backseat, cars often need a little organizing help. Milk crates or open-topped plastic bins can help keep everything together. They’re also easy to quickly remove for those times when you want to vacuum or detail your car’s interior.


Garbage Receptacle

Got an old plastic storage bin? Don’t throw it away! Turn it into a trash can or recycling bin instead. You can even use multiple different plastic crates to improve your approach to separating your recyclables for enhanced eco-friendliness.


File Storage

If a bulky file cabinet doesn’t exactly fit with the aesthetic you’re striving to achieve in your home, put all your important documents into plastic bins instead. These can stack easily and get shoved into a discreet corner of your basement or garage for safekeeping until you actually need to go through them.