Category Archives: Plastic Bin Helpers

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




Go paperless with the help of plastic bins

The idea of a paperless kitchen can be overwhelming — and usually it inspires the same thought process. “A paperless kitchen,” the first thought typically is, “… that means more laundry!”

How does this relate to plastic bins? Bear with me.

Yes, if you decide to make this transition, you will be using – and washing – more linens. But if you utilize the right pieces and organize yourself, you will be only be doing laundry just as often as you were before. The easiest way to keep laundry at a minimum is giving yourself somewhere to throw kitchen rags when you’re done with them – some sort of plastic bin, perhaps.

I cannot recommend the Cabinet Door Mount Waste Bin enough. This handy bin hides out of sight while keeping dirty rags covered and consolidated. The handy design mounts to the inside of any standard cabinet door. Add one – or two – to control kitchen clutter.

Find this product and more like it at

Plastic Bins to Keep In Your Car

Collapsible CrateWe all sing the praises of how useful plastic bins are for storage around the home, but what about in the car?  Turns out they can help with so many things outside of the home as well!

Here is a run down of how to pick and what to use for different types of plastic bins in your car:

  • Collapsible Crate – These fold flat and can be used for everything from keeping grocery bags upright to eliminating your use of grocery bags all together!
  • Lidded Plastic Box –  A small, file size lidded plastic box is a wonderful thing in the trunk of a car.  There are a million plus uses for it.  Here, just a few that I can think of:
  • Extra Shoes – after a day in the mud (or after an unfortunate step in doggie waste), you can rest assured that your carpet and upholstery will remain stain (and stink) free thanks to extra shoes and a container in which to put the dirty ones.
  • Hiking/Nature Kit:  If you find yourself spending more and more time outdoors these days, why not stock your car with essential tools for enjoying nature such as a frisbee, binoculars and sunblock.
  • Emergency Kit – This goes without saying, every car should keep a fully stocked emergency kit for both roadside emergencies and weather emergencies.  Toss a first aid kit in there as well for last minute injuries and illness.
  • Kids Kit – Not just for the trunk, plastic bins find uses all over the car.  In the front passenger seat, moms and dads can set up a kids kit for unexpected delays in the car.  Stock it with items such as snacks, water, coloring supplies, toys, and a few good kids music CDs.  Next time you find yourself in traffic, you will be thankful to have all of this stuff on hand to avoid messy tantrums that are caused by bored, tired or hungry little ones.

Now that you have your home storage under control, get a grip on that car where we spend more and more time these days with some handy, compact plastic bins!

Plastic Bin Tower for Kids…And their Parents

24-Tray Cubby TowerOur featured product this week is designed for kids, but can be used by parents, singles, or any grownup!  The 24-Tray Cubby Tower is an organizing wonder, perfect for keeping toys under control, and a lot of other things as well.  This rack is made of birch wood and GreenGuard certified for safety inside of homes, nurseries and schools.  The sturdy, low to the ground design is safe for anyone from toddlers to adults to use.  Beyond storing toys, however, you can find a dozen uses for this handy rolling organizer around the home or office.

Here are just a few:

  • Crafts Room Organizer – With 24 bins, it is easy to keep all of your crafting supplies handy, separated and within easy view, thanks to the clear sides on the plastic bins.  Ribbons, bows, tapes, beads and other fasteners finally have a safe and organized home in this handy rack.
  • Garage Organizer – For small tools, hardware and other garage bits and pieces, it’s hard to find an easier way to stay organized than with plastic bins.  These are separated which offers another layer of organization, as you only have to remove the bin that you want, without unstacking dozens of boxes, to get to your desired items.
  • Pantry Helper – Keep kids snacks and food staples separated and easy to access with these handy bins.  Casters on the base allow you to roll it in and out of a large pantry for easy access at all times.  Or it could even be used out in the dining room if you don’t have a formal pantry available.
  • Laundry Room Organizer – Separate your cleaning supplies, iron and laundry doo dads and more in these handy bins.  The rolling style keeps it out of the way when you need access to your dryer.

By thinking outside of the box, this kids-designed bin organizer becomes a wonderful helper in homes with or without children.

Storing Out Of Season Clothing

Now that summer time is here, it’s time to put away items that are only winter appropriate and make room for things that are in season.  This is a great way to keep your home organized.  If you feel like your closets and dressers are overcrowded and cluttered, swap out seasonal clothing a few times a year and you will cut down on clutter.  With the sweaters and jackets packed away in the summer and the sun dresses and shorts stored during the winter, your closets and dresser drawers will look less complicated.  I’ll explain how to do it effectively!

Clear Plastic Storage Box by Iris

Clear Plastic Storage Box by Iris

One of my favorite products for storing anything, especially seasonal clothing is the Clear Plastic Storage Box – 58.10 Qt. – Set of 3.  They are stackable for keeping a tidy look in the garage, and because they are clear you can easily see inside.  This comes in handy for those rare occasions when you want to pull something back out to wear, like in the event of an unexpected chilly summer evening.  It also helps you when it comes time to switch the stored seasonal clothes; you can see which ones go in the closet and which ones go in the dresser.
What is extra convenient is that these plastic storage bins come in a wide variety of sizes. I would definitely recommend getting a few different sizes, especially because each size of storage tote comes in a set of three, four or five.  Here are my steps for de-cluttering your clothing collection at the change of seasons:  start with items that you know you definitely won’t need (down jackets, heavy wool sweaters, etc.) and pack them first so that they’re at the bottom of the stacked boxes.  Anything that is a “maybe” should be close to the top in case you change your mind and want to easily access it.  Stack the boxes in the garage, and the air tight lids will protect your seasonal clothing from moisture and dust.
This is an easy (less than an hour) organizing project that will make your closets look tidy and clean, while making it easier for you to pick out outfits!

You’re Not The Only One Who Needs UV Protection

I have many friends that have relocated to the southwest in the last few years. For some of my friends, the cost of living is unbeatable, others have moved for the health benefits of living in a dry desert climate, and other for job opportunities. They tell me that fall-spring the weather is unmatched, bringing pleasantly warm days and cool evenings. This all must sound idyllic, but there is one downside to summer living in the Sun Belt: Summer weather.

Apparently it is not just the heat that makes the summers so insufferable, but also the shear strength of the sun constantly bearing down on you. It makes applying sunscreen become a daily ritual, something to be done right after brushing your teeth but before you put your shoes on.

Now imagine how fried your skin would get in that brutal summer swelter and apply that to your outdoor cushions. While you can put on all the zinc oxide and SPF 50 you want, there is no cure-all when it comes to protecting your cushions from UV rays. Most every home in that part of the country has a deck and a yard, so this is an issue for just about every resident.

Deck Box - Extra Large - Patio Chair Cushion Storage - Outdoor Storage Bench

Deck Box – Extra Large – Patio Chair Cushion Storage – Outdoor Storage Bench

The best way to keep your cushions and other sensitive outdoor décor safe from not only the damaging effects of UV rays and heat, but also keeps moisture out when the occasional desert storm rolls on through. It is important when selecting a patio storage box that you find one that has excellent UV resistance, because otherwise you will be replacing that at the end of the summer instead of your seat cushions.

The Deck Box – Extra Large – Patio Chair Cushion Storage – Outdoor Storage Bench is an excellent example, as it stands up well to both UV rays and moisture. The lid seals the contents in tight, plus it doubles as an outdoor bench when closed.

With a deck box keeping your patio cushions free from sitting out in the sun for hours, it will extend their lifetime by years. Nothing is worse than crumbling vinyl seat cushions, slowly wearing down over time and making huge messes. By storing the cushions when they are not in use, you will save money and the frustration of deteriorating pads.

Sporting Goods Storage Solution

I am proud to say that I have raised some very active kids. They love playing all sorts of sports, from soccer and basketball to golf and tennis. When summer comes around, that means it is time for sports camps! Between my three kids, we usually have them signed up for five or six camps that span the entire length of the summer months.

It is very rewarding to see your children excel and enjoy sports and other activities. The only issue with them being so involved in sports is the need for all the accessories that go along with them. We have four or five baseball gloves, a couple basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, etc. I do not have any convenient storage spaces that are large enough to house all of this equipment in one space, so often we lose it or it is left outside and gets ruined.

Deck Storage Box with Seat Top - 129 gallon

Deck Storage Box with Seat Top – 129 gallon

This summer I decided that I would stop re-buying this sporting equipment and just invest in a storage bin that is large enough to house all the stuff in one place. Instead of wasting my money year after year replacing gloves and balls, I just plopped my money down in one sitting. There are a variety of storage boxes, but I knew that I wanted something made out of plastic or other weather-resistant material.

The Deck Storage Box with Seat Top – 129 gallon was the perfect place to keep the sporting equipment, plus it has an attractive design and a convenient seat that allows it to double as a bench. 129 gallons is a substantial amount of storage, but with my three kids it was not enough, so I got two. Luckily they look great on my patio, and now I do not have to replace my outdoor benches when they eventually wear out.

Organizing Tips for Teachers: Craft Storage in Plastic Bins

Today’s post is dedicated to those fine purveyors of knowledge – the elementary school teacher. You hard-working individuals are truly the building blocks of society. Without teachers, our country would just not be the same. As the child of a long time elementary school teacher, there is a lot more work that goes into the job than many people realize.

One of the most arduous tasks that come with being a teacher is the clean-up that occurs after the school year is finished. For the students, it’s “school is out for summer!” but for teachers, the end of the school year is synonymous with weeks of organizing, trashing and cleaning.

For you teachers, this year make the clean-up job a little bit easier by purchasing a variety of plastic storage boxes and bins for keeping smaller items neat and organized. Plus, next year you will know exactly where you left all the glitter and stencils – instead of digging through the back closet for 20 minutes while a class full of 10 year olds looks on in confusion.

Sterilite 3-Drawer Organizer - ClearView Wide

Sterilite 3-Drawer Organizer – ClearView Wide

I would recommend purchasing a few Sterilite 3-Drawer Organizer – ClearView Wide 2093 storage boxes. These boxes are perfect for keeping paper and stationery in order. They also make an excellent place to keep writing utensils, crayons, scissors and other craft items. The best thing about these organizers (other than their sturdy construction) is that they are clear, making it easy to see into the drawers.

4-Drawer Acrylic Organizer

4-Drawer Acrylic Organizer

I think it is important to get a variety of organizers for cleaning up the classroom. Different items require different types of storage organizers. Therefore, I would recommend picking up another organizer such as the 4-Drawer Acrylic Organizer for storing smaller items such glitter, beads, stencils and other bulk items that are hard to store in larger drawers. This organizer is also clear, making it easy to see into the drawers.

Good luck to all of you teachers in getting the classroom in order this summer… Just be prepared to pull it all back out in two months!

Garage Organizers for Bins – Winner!

Compact 12 Tote Storage Box Organizer

Compact 12 Tote Storage Box Organizer

If there were an Olympics of garage organizing tools, the Compact 12 Tote Home Organizer – Storage Box Organizer would certainly be a medalist, right along side its companion, the plastic bin.  Everyone has plastic storage boxes these days, they are an absolute must when organizing the closet or garage.  But one of the problems with this type of storage, perhaps the only problem, is the usage factor when stacking them.  It is a blessing that plastic bins are stackable, but at the same time, when you have a tall stack of them, it can be a pain to dig through, stack, unstack and restack the boxes, just to get to one tiny little item.

A storage box organizer eliminates that problem with ease, as it keeps each box separated on its own shelf.  You still get the same space efficient storage design, but without the hassle of stacking and unstacking layers of bins.

Here are some of the other things I love about this garage storage wonder:

  • Sturdy Design – Let’s face it, the plastic boxes may be lightweight, but when you load them up with clothing, tools or toys, they get heavy quickly.  Luckily, these bin organizer racks can be mounted to the wall for additional stability.  Great if you live in earthquake country, or anywhere else for that matter.
  • Neat and Tidy – The simple design gives your garage a cleaner, clutter free appearance.  The white design is easy to clean and keep dust free.  Simply wipe it clean with a damp cloth or paper towel!
  • Moving – If you ever move, you can easily take these plastic box storage racks with you for enhanced garage storage and organization in your next home.  They can even be used outside as they are rust resistant, a truly smart design for an organized home.

What is your favorite garage organizing tool?

Iris – My Favorite Organizers

Clear Plastic Storage Box by Iris

Clear Plastic Storage Box by Iris

Oh Iris, you have given us so many organizing solutions over the years!  I look to this company for all of my container needs.  Organizing the home with plastic bins has become a widely popular method because it is simple and easy for anyone to do.   And you can store just about anything in a plastic storage bin.  I use the Clear Plastic Storage Box, 21.0qt – Set of 4in the garage for everything from seasonal clothes to Christmas decorations.  It comes in just about every size you can imagine, and the plastic boxes stack nicely on top of each other.

Storage Box - 74 Qt by Iris

Storage Box – 74 Qt by Iris

For the more heavy duty storage tasks, I rely on the Clear Plastic Storage Box – Iris 74 Qt (4) and the Clear Plastic Storage Box – Iris 74 Qt (2)which is the same container but it comes in different set sizes.  They have a very large capacity, but come with little wheels.  The wheels are important because once those large plastic containers are filled, they tend to be too heavy and cumbersome to carry.  They too can be stacked and the lids have heavy duty snaps to keep them secure and tightly sealed.

IRIS Clear Stackable Recycling Bins

IRIS Clear Stackable Recycling Bins

In addition to durable plastic bins for storing items, Iris makes these great covered recycle bins that are made from plastic and stackable.  They also come in sets so you can stack them up and separate your paper, aluminum and plastic recyclables.   But there’s more you can do with these stackable bins.  Fill them with pet food and use a scoop for quick access and dispensing.  Use them for storing and organizing your child’s toys and stuffed animals or for fabric in the craft room.  What makes this such a great product is its versatility!