Log in

I’m Drowning in Storage Containers! Taming Your Baskets, Bins, Boxes, & Organizers

March 19, 2024 11:06 AM | Janet Schiesl, CPO® (Administrator)

by Jill Katz

One to Zen Organizing

A person's hand sticking out of a sea of storage containers

The Story of Hidden Clutter

When I first became a professional organizer, I expected to see a high level of clutter when entering most homes. What I didn’t predict was the large amount of empty storage containers and organizers. Bins, baskets and Amazon boxes. Functional, chic, cute, cracked, banged up, or seen better days storage. All shapes and sizes. And all these darn storage solutions were creating clutter! 

Is this you (awareness is the first step, after all)?  Or maybe you have a “friend” like this? Or perhaps you are a fellow organizer that knows what I mean? In either of these cases, please do read on to understand my take about storage clutter.

Why Do We Have So Many Storage Containers???

Your storage boxes are taking up too much space. Oh, the irony!

Here are some possibilities on how you got here:

An array of wicker baskets hanging on a rack for purchase

Riding on the Fumes of Motivation

You start noticing the clutter around you and the frustration is mounting. You need to do something about this NOW! So you stop by the Container Store, Target, or head online to purchase some storage bins and organizers on Amazon. The storage bins arrive but the urgency to declutter resides as the next urgent need enters your life and you move on. Sadly, the bins/storage boxes do not.


Buying is fun for some of us (not for me). Decluttering is not fun for most of us (Well it is for me, but probably not for you). If you are an overbuyer, the first step for you is to purchase something to solve this clutter problem you are having. And you procrastinate the part where you go through your things and think about how to organize items and how to use those bins you purchased. To learn more about how to streamline your shopping habits to stay organized read my previous blog post here.

You Used Them & Now You Don’t Need Them

Many of us have systems that involve boxes, bins, and organizers. We use bins for storing the next level of baby clothes as it is passed from one sibling to another. We use them for Christmas decorations or Passover dishes. We receive boxes that carry our Amazon items. We use makeup organizers and crafting organizers. At some point or another, we outgrow that system. Our life transitions and we no longer have babies or baby clothes. Or we downsize to a smaller space and donate our Christmas decorations and Passover dishes - we will let our children host us for the holidays! Our focus changes and our hobbies and interests change. Those empty bins and organizers accumulate. 

The Solutions for Drowning In Storage Containers

Half the problem of drowning in storage is that we are unaware of the sheer amount of clutter it is causing. So now that you are aware of the problem, you are on your way to solving it. Here are some solutions to get you to the finish line.

Woman in her unfinished storage room holding a filled storage bin and looking at the other clutter in the room

Declutter first:

This is an organizing mantra. Always declutter first, then organize what you are keeping, and only after doing those first steps do you purchase organizing solutions if necessary. What you will find is that you often have all the bins and boxes you need. So start with what you have, then tweak and upgrade. This will prevent the storage problem from recurring.

Put Like with Like:

As with any other category, put all your storage bins and organizers together to see what you have. Divide them into categories: Put all your clear bins together (stack if possible), corral your baskets into another pile, and finally, pile your other miscellaneous organizers into a 3rd pile. Now you can see them all and strategize. If you are staring at a monstrous pile, then it’s time to cull. How many extra bins does it make sense to keep based on potential need and storage space?

Create Rules and Strategies to Support Letting Go:

I find that storage organizers are similar to nice reusable grocery bags and cute gift bags. We collect them, accumulate far too many, then find it hard to part with them. When there is a category that clients find challenging, I suggest creating rules. For example, you could establish a rule that you will only keep baskets that fit on this closet shelf (space-related) or you will only keep X number of storage bins. Or you can create a rule that you will use baskets and bins for an upcoming project or event and then donate the rest. Having a source for passing on these items can also be helpful. Posting storage in your local “Buy Nothing” group is a  “feel good” way to pass things on to other people who you know will use the items with gratitude.  

And please, please, please get rid of those extra Amazon boxes. I love this Holderness Family Video that pokes fun at our love of boxes.

In Conclusion

By taking these steps, you'll not only reclaim your space but also ensure that your storage containers serve their purpose without becoming additional sources of chaos. So, let the journey begin, armed with awareness and the commitment to a clutter-free future.

Are you drowning in storage containers? Feel free to share your story in the comments. I would love to hear it!

For more information, contact Jill Katz.

NAPO - Washington DC Metro Chapter |  PO Box 7301, Arlington, VA 22207  |  |  (301) 818-1501

© National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals Washington DC Metro Chapter. All rights reserved.

NAPO-WDC is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) and is not entitled to act on behalf of, or to bind NAPO, contractually or otherwise.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software