Author Archives: H

Stackable Plastic for Space-Efficient Dorm Storage

Get ready for the dorm move ahead of time with shopping ideas from our blog. You know your dorm is not going to have enough storage room (I can guarantee it having been there). Here are a few ideas for storage and you might also enjoy some of the dorm organizing blog posts at the Organize-It Blog.

iris stacking bins


Iris stacking bins are great for food, socks, odds-and-ends, whatever you want to store in them. The beauty is that you can use as many, or as few as you need. The semi-clear plastic lets you easy see what’s inside and the open front makes your goods accessible. They come in two different widths – 4.25 and 5.5 inches and range in price from $1.99-$3.99 (with quantity discounts).

stackable drawer bin

This clear acrylic stackable drawer bin is perfect for storing shoes or other items on a closet shelf, dresser or desk. At only $8.99, you can buy as many as you need, and when you move out of the dorms, you can repurpose them for something else.

stackable storage basket


The stackable plastic storage basket is great for toiletries, makeup, digital devices, and anything else you need to store. It comes in 9.25 or 14-inch sizes, and in green, pink, frosted white or light blue colors. The movable handle makes it easy to carry, but folds down when not in use. Prices range from $6.99 to $9.99.

stackable makeup box


This stackable makeup box will keep your beauty kit organized and accessible and having the capability to stack additional drawers is just dreamy. It’s not just for cosmetics, either, you could put jewelry, i.d.s or a variety of small items inside for safe keeping. It’s 13.5 inches wide and 2.65 inches high for compact storage and the drawer includes a thick handle. Price: $25.99.

K-Cup Storage


Okay, this isn’t really stackable, but it’s hard for me to think about dorms and studying without interjecting coffee into the picture (so I’m adding this in as a bonus). If you’re a coffee addict like me, you might need a little Keurig brewer on your dorm desk. And here’s the bin to store your K-cups. It’s 5 inches wide and holds up to 40 K-Cups for your favorite Keurig morning cuppa and costs only $29.99.

Refrigerator Storage Bins

refrigerator storage bins

If I could use only one product to organize my fridge, it would be refrigerator storage bins.

If you’ve ever been down on your knees, cleaning up the mess from the mushrooms you forgot, the meat that thawed and leaked through the cellophane, or the Buffalo Wing sauce you inadvertently tipped as you rummaged for a midnight snack, you know exactly what I’m referring to. Messes. Icky, sticky messes. Unidentified, mystery messes. Messes made glaringly apparent by the stark contrast against your cold white refrigerator interior.

When I started working at Organize-It, I quickly discovered tons of ways to organize my home. The refrigerator bins by Dial were probably the most glorious discovery. I quickly purchased enough to fill my refrigerator. Now you might be thinking you can get some dollar store plastic and use that, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s why, some plastics are safe for food, and some aren’t. Also, plastics not engineered for cold temperatures quickly crack when the temperature exceeds their tolerances.

Dial refrigerator storage bins are food and refrigerator safe. There are numerous other reasons they are great:

  • Clear plastic lets you see the contents.
  • Recessed handles let you pull them out for easy access.
  • Spills are cleaned by removing and washing the fridge bins only.
  • Easily access hard-to-reach items by removing the bin.
  • Easily organize food by consolidating like foods into individual bins.
  • Reduce refrigerator maintenance by tending to bins as they get soiled.
  • Refrigerator bins come in a variety of sizes including narrow bins for fruit.
  • Bins are stackable for efficient vertical storage of smaller food items.

Refrigerator storage bins help me keep my refrigerator organized and I seem to have less food waste, as the food is visible and accessible. The stackable design lets me add more as needed and I was able to combine units to fill most of my shelf space, with a little left over for small liquid cartons, such as milk. I highly recommend these, as they are my favorite food organization product.

refrigerator bins stacking


organize-it sidewalk sale

Storage Ideas: Laundry Basket

The ways to utilize plastic storage bins are endless, but sometimes you can accomplish the same storage feats without the bin. Laundry basket storage is a huge DIY phenomenon right now and the inexpensive alternative is an excellent way to corral cluttered collections throughout the home.

Obviously, you can use laundry baskets for their namesake — create your own sorting station and make the task less of a chore. But you can also think outside of the box and add laundry baskets to organize throughout the house. Old dressers and shelving units can easily be converted to accommodate laundry baskets, creating an inexpensive and streamline storage system.

There are tons of things that can be organized with laundry baskets.

Laundry Basket Storage Ideas

  • Shoes
  • Toys (stuffed animals, blocks, cars and more)
  • Pantry snack storage
  • Sports equipment storage in the garage
  • Cleaning products
  • Front hall closet organization
  • Linen closet organization

What laundry basket storage ideas do you know of?


organize-it sidewalk sale

Create Your Own DIY Storage Ottoman

A great storage ottoman is a must-have piece of furniture for my living room. I keep mine in front of a cozy chair and fill it with some extra throw blankets; it’s nice to have blankets at hand without cluttering up the couch. Storage furniture can cost a pretty penny, though, and it’s not always a feasible buy. Well, I have good news. You can craft your own DIY storage ottoman with nothing more than a basic plastic storage tote and a few supplies.

Photo courtesy

My favorite storage ottoman had been on its last leg for a while now and it finally gave in this past weekend. I’ve been scavenging the internet trying to find a replacement, but I just don’t have the extra cash to blow on it right now. Lucky for me, I found this awesome DIY project to craft my own. The Darling Petunia Blog has a great example of this project, including some photos featuring her adorable feline helper. All you need is a tote, some foam (and cotton batting if you desire) and your choice of fabric. This is a real simple project for beginner sewers, so don’t sweat it.

First, Darling Petunia says, you want to cut your foam to fit the top of your storage bin. Then attach it to the lid using a heavy duty adhesive; I just used my trusty hot glue gun for this step. Next, if you opted to the batting, lay it over the foam to soften some sharp sides. Then all you have to do is create the slip cover.

For the cover, you need one piece of fabric the size of the top of the lid, plus a few long strips that will cover the sides of the foam. Lastly, you need some long panels to cover the sides of the bin. You can choose to pleat the corners, but it’s not a necessary step.

I love this project because it’s super inexpensive, hands-on but EASY. Creating this DIY storage ottoman takes very little time and can quickly be replaced if the tub gets beat up by pets or kids. I’ve even made a few separate covers so I can switch out the fabric when I feel like; It’s a great way to freshen up the style of a room!

Protect your belongings with a plastic utility tote

Winter means storage; whether it’s holiday decorations, summer patio furniture, seasonal clothing or more. Some jobs call for a professional and in the plastic bin world, the utility tote is that equivalent. 

When you have heavy duty storage needs you need heavy duty bins. This utility tote from Iris is available in either 3 or 17 gallon sizes. Made from durable polypropylene plastic, this bin features a locking lid, reinforced corners and a grid bottom. This piece can survive the elements, indoors or out. Stack in the garage, shed, basement — the reinforced designed will keep your belongings safe.

As an added bonus, all of Iris’ products are made in the U.S.A.


  • Lid includes snap-down buckles that lock down to keep your items safe.
  • Polypropylene construction ensures long-lasting storage use.
  • Reinforced grid bottom provides structural integrity.
  • Opaque design lets you hid away clutter.
  • Available in 3 or 17.5 gallon sizes.
  • Inset handles make moving this box a breeze.
  • Sleek black, gray and red colors.
  • Stackable design accommodates any storage system.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Save money on DIY ornament storage and have more for gifts

Plastic bins are a never ending invite to DIY splendor. They’re great for every occasion, every season and every room of the house. The holidays are an especially great time to take advantage of these inexpensive, convenient home organizers.

For this weeks tip, you’re gonna have to gather a few supplies and get to work to transform your plastic bin into DIY ornament storage.

Now, I know you can just throw all your decorations into a plastic tub and call it day, but doing this can put your delicate decor in danger of breaking. Fragile glass ornaments or precious keepsakes require the right storage, but buying organizers can add up quickly.

To create your own ornament storage bin all you need is a plastic tote, cardboard, plastic cocktail cups and a hot glue gun. Take a large cardboard box and cut the sides to fit horizontally in your plastic bin. Next, get your hot glue got and attached plastic ups in rows across the cardboard. Glue the cup on the bottom, creating perfect little cubbies for ornaments. The short cocktail style cups work best because they allow you conserve space and add more layers of cups in the bin.

Once the glue cools and sets, you can add ornaments. Make as many layers as will comfortably fit in your bin without compromising the integrity of ornament protection.

Photo courtesy

Gift wrap storage helps you save money

I love the holidays and Christmas in particular. Every year I go a little crazy with the wrapping, buying ribbon, loads of paper and other trinkets. I love making my own big bows and name tags — I think a gift means so much more when you put time into it, inside and out. It never fails though, my left over wrapping supplies get shoved in the closet come Dec. 26 and never survive the year.

Since I’ve utilized the proper storage for my wrapping hobby, my supplies last so much longer and I am not re-buying every year. It’s a huge money saver and I don’t feel so guilty about throwing out crumbled and bent up rolls of gift wrap.

Vertical storage

Gift wrap storage is nothing new, I know, but a lot of the organizers I have tried in the past fell flat — literally. I was really excited to find these awesome vertical gift wrap bins from Sterilite. The up-right design is great because it fits in closets and other tight spaces a lot easier. The organizer is very sturdy; the Sterilite design stands upright no matter how much or how little you have in it! The regular size is made to hold up 25 rolls of paper measuring up to 30 inches high. The larger size is made to accommodate rolls measuring up to 40 inches high. The large one even has a compartment in the lid for ribbon!

Horizontal storage

The vertical storage may not be as great of a fit for you as it was for me. Perhaps you prefer something to you can stash under a bed or on a storage rack in the basement. In the case, the wrapping paper storage box is a great solution. This classic design is a long plastic bin with a matching red lid. This bin also fits rolls measuring up to 30 inches in length.

Ribbon and bows

If you’re like me, you wrapping doesn’t end at paper. Having the proper storage for ribbon and bows is also a big money saver. This ribbon storage box and dispenser is a huge help all year long. Yes, it keeps expensive fabric ribbons neat, but it also helps dispense them when wrapping. This box is designed with a removable divider and a storage tray for scissors, tape and more.

If you prefer the peel-and-stick bows, you can get storage too. This latching bin is perfect for an entire bag of ready to go bows. This bucket style-bin has a latching lid with a handle so it easy to tote around the house, and the small size is easy to store anywhere in the home.


Painting plastic bins for chic storage alternatives

Photo courtesy IHeartOrganizing.BlogSpot.Com.

I use plastic bins throughout my entire house. They’re great storage and they’re always helpful to have on hand for projects, moving and so much more. But sometimes they can be an eyesore when you have to keep them out in the open. Plastic bins can be re-purposed to create fun and fabulous storage pieces.

  • Stencils: Simple modifications can make the most drab pieces exciting. Small storage pieces like counter top drawer sets are instantly classed up with some simple stencils or decals. Create your own stencil or purchase one from your favorite craft store, tape it in place and fill it in with spray paint, brush or even paint pens.
  • Chalkboard paint: Sometimes modifications are for efficiency. Have a lot of the same plastic bins stacked up in your basement? I do and I’m constantly rummaging through all of them until I find what I’m looking for. It’s frustrating. Adding labels with the use of chalkboard paint makes it super simple to
  • Jute: Ok, so it’s not paint, but covering plastic bins in hemp, jute or even fabric is a quick fix too. I love this cute tutorial from To do it, get yourself a large plastic tote, some casters and your choice of material.

How to make a compost bin with a simple plastic tote

“Compost is an organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer or soil amendment.”

Thanks, Wiki. But how do you make a compost bin? A quick Pinterest search can lead to premature exhaustion and overwhelming apathy. Do not fret, you do not need to go all out to create a simple home compost bin. Thankfully, there is an easy and inexpensive way.

I’m always trying to find new, unique ways to use those plastic totes that line my basement walls. As I watched the slowly changing leaves this weekend, it hit me: compost bin.

Here is a simple step by step process on how to make a compost bin:

Take your pick

Find a plastic bin fit for the job. Whether you have on laying around or must purchase one, make sure it is tall. At least two feet. And it must have a very secure, latching lid to keep our any curious critters.

Once you have a bin picked out, grab a drill or a hammer and nail to create air holes. Put at least eight hols in the bottom of the bin and in the lid. This will allow for proper air circulation and therefore even composting.

Fill it up

Back to those leaves. If you have them, collect some dry leaves from the yard and fill a quarter of the  bin with them. You can also use newspaper for this, but I really recommend the dry leaves for a more pure compost.

Next is dirt. You can buy some for a hardware store or just dig it out of the ground at home. Either way, fill the bin with dirt until it is half full.


Next, just add you food waste.  Every time you add waste to the bin, make sure to stir it gently with a shovel or hand spade. Then spray it lightly with water until it is moist — you do not want to make it too wet. Be gentle!

Finally, just place the DIY compost bin somewhere outside in the shade so it doesn’t dry out. Come spring, you will have the best fertilizer for your gardens. And the cycle continues!

Find products for this project and more at




How to build a cat shelter with plastic bins

Winter weather can be deadly for our feline friends.

If you’re  a cat lover like me, it can be difficult to ignore the feral kitties that come begging for food. Sometimes these felines come knocking, but for whatever reason we just cannot welcome them into our homes. That doesn’t mean we can’t help.

The colder months are creeping in on us. Whether you have feral cats that roam your yard or just prefer letting your pets explore the outdoors, plastic bins can be used to make some inexpensive, very cozy kitty homes.

How to build a cat shelter

The easiest way to create a DIY cat shelter is by stacking two different sized plastic bins. Use a large plastic bin as the main unit, cutting  entrance and exit holes. Then place the smaller bin inside and cut matching holes. From here, fill the space between the bins with your choice of insulation to help maintain body heat. Put the lid on the smaller bin and place more insulation on top. Next, put the lid on top of the large bin and – voila – kitty house!

Ideas for insulation include: blankets, foam insulation and straw. If you’re not sold on the plastic bins, consider:

  • A styrofoam cooler
  • Picnic cooler
  • Storage bins

What to keep in mind

When building an outdoor shelter for family or feral cats, remember:

  • Keep shelters away from dogs!
  • Keep shelters out of sight from any indoor cats you may have. When indoor kitties get a glimpse of other strange cats roaming around their domain, it may trigger some aggressive behavior inside the home.
  • Consider cutting two entrances so cats have an escape if confronted by opossums, raccoons or other rodents.

Photo courtesy

 Find a wide selection of plastic bins at