Tip: Tubs as storage

It’s a bit of a joke around here how many tubs I store things in. However, I’m not planning on stopping!

I love tub storage as it stops access by rodents and bugs to your items; it also prevents water damage if for some reason your floor gets wet. Since we hope to move in 3-5 years, I am planning ahead with this purge and by using tub storage I’ll be able to move extra items into a storage locker when the house eventually goes on the market.

Types of Storage

orgainizing tubs clear vs. solid

Opaque tubs – I prefer this type in areas where the tubs will be seen and for items that I don’t necessarily need to see to make a decision (i.e. clothes would warrant a clear container). I have Rubbermaid storage for our camping gear, home decorating items not in use, and for garage tools not used often.

solid color tubs

Clear tubs – I prefer for craft items, clothes, fabric and things I want to see the color or shape of.

orgainizing tubs clear

Colored tubs – I like to group tubs of the same color with related items. All camping items are in blue tubs; all the craft, floral, and fabric in  clear tubs; tools are in gray tubs; Christmas in red and green; Halloween in Orange and Black; Thanksgiving in rust orange, etc… Well… you get the point!

The reason I group by color is that for certain activities it makes more sense to pull out all the tubs, sort and take what I need. This was especially true when I was in charge of our Girl Scout camping trips.

Storage Size

The size of your storage should fit what you plan on putting into it… duh you say! Well, sometimes it’s not that obvious. If your tub is very deep and you put in a lot of items, invariably what you want will always be at the bottom.

It’s why I really like clear, plastic shoe boxes to store items I want to sort through such as beads, buttons, pinecones, shells etc…, shallow storage for hand tools, and deeper storage for items like folded fabric, skeins of yarn, and upholstery foam. Right now plastic shoe boxes sell for $1 a box at Target or Wal-mart so they are a great, and affordable, start to organizing!

orgainizing tubs shoeboxes

I choose storage that stacks upon each other, and is the right size to fit upon the shelving, both in depth and height.

Be aware that clear storage tubs are weaker then opaque rubber tubs. I’m not sure why but I’m assuming it’s the type of plastic used. When storing heavier items go with colored tubs for strength.

Also, I never put extremely heavy items in rubber tubs. The total weight should be something I can easily lift.

Labeling  Storage

When using tubs to store, you must have a labeling system of some sort. The method I like to use may be too extreme for you 🙂 but here it is: I first make a list of items on my computer and print off, take to the copy shop to be put on a nice bright paper, and then laminate. Back home, I tape it onto the storage tub.

The reason I laminate is that I can remove the label and reuse if I change tubs. I’ve also found writing on a tub with a marker just ends up looking messy. Invariably, the tub changes it’s original purpose and then you end up scratching out and making another mark.

Sticky labels are another option however, when I store in the garage or attic they can get grimy. Another problem is trying to peel off these type of labels; probably you will need to make another label and just stick it over the old.

Storage Costs

Storage tubs can start getting pricey, especially if you need a lot. I suggest starting small and picking a group of similar items you want to store. Some of the tub collections I have are over 20 years old – which brings up another plus – long term use which isn’t possible with cardboard boxes.

Storage often goes on sale, especially in Jan/Feb when people are gearing up to spring clean due to New Year Resolutions. Keep an eye on sales sheets for storage sales. Storage can be found at discount, closeout stores like Big Lots.

Re-cycle containers you have on hand. For instance, 5 gallon pails picked up at a local Home Improvements store, I recycle to hold fertilizer by buying a plastic lid to fit on the top. Warning! If you do this, be sure to mark the new container clearly; I also cut instructions from the bag inside and on top so it  is easily seen. Anything poisonous needs to be secured from kids and pets.

Finding a Storage Home

Once you have items stored you have to ask where you’ll put your tubs. The more you use the item the more you need it to be easy access; seldom used items can be stored in harder to reach areas. I also like to store them on shelf units as it makes for an easier method to see all the tubs and labels at one glance.

I  know one thing – the whole organization process is exhausting! And I have yet more to do!

Be sure to check out all the posts about How to Organize

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