How to: Choose storage baskets and boxes

One of the basic principles of good organisation is to contain. 

Containing things sets a visible limit to a group of items (think books on a shelf, jumpers in a drawer, paperwork in a file, pasta in a jar….), and helps you to manage what you have long term. When the paperwork is spilling out of its container, it’s time to review what’s in there and either adjust the system if you need to keep everything, or start to reduce and get rid of what you don’t.

Choosing the right container is essential, and baskets and boxes are our go-to staples for clothes, linens, pantry items, toys, shoes, bathroom products and just about anything! Baskets and boxes can turn an impractical space into a purposeful system. 

On every project we balance function and style to choose just the right container for the job, so here are a few tips to help you do the same: 

  1. What do you want to contain?

First is always the question of how much and what do you want to contain. The number one mistake we come across when systems at home are falling apart is storage bought without a specific purpose in mind, so declutter first and decide exactly what you need to store.

  1. Measuring up

When you know what you want to store, decide where you are going to store it, then measure, measure and measure again. You’ll need to measure the width (side to side), depth (front to back), and height (top to bottom) of any cupboard or shelf. Don’t forget to take account of any hinges, or overhang, and it’s always better to slightly underestimate the space than overestimate and find that what you have bought doesn’t fit. 

  1. Room to grow

Leave room to grow. It’s better to have 4 half empty boxes or baskets than 3 completely full ones which become too small if you buy just one more t-shirt. 

  1. Consider the options

What should the box or basket be made of? If you’re storing fabrics (clothes or linens) it’s best to use soft baskets, like cotton or canvas, or smooth plastic, so that they don’t snag and damage your clothes. In a bathroom, utility room or kitchen, you’ll want something you can wipe down if something gets spilt. 

  1. Give it some structure

Heavy items need to be stored in something robust like plastic or a wire framed basket, so that they don’t lose their shape when moved. 

  1. Stack ‘em up

Stackable boxes are really useful when you have very tall shelves and need to make better use of the height, so think about whether you need something with a lid or if an open box will give you better functionality.. 

  1. Fall in love

And finally, when all of these functional elements have been satisfied, choose a style that you love. Even baskets and boxes that are behind cupboard doors should be beautiful! 

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