Help me find the perfect storage cuboid
May 3, 2018 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I move very often. At least once every year or so, I'm in a new place. So I've become accustomed to keeping all my stuff inside of various cardboard boxes and bins to minimize packing when I inevitably move. I just put the boxes in my car and go. It's practical, to an extent, but they're just so ugly??? I'd like to keep all my stuff in nice sturdy but stylish containers. Preferably something like big opaque plastic storage cubes with lids... why can I not find something like that?

For some reason, when I look for storage cubes and boxes, the most common thing I see are fabric cubes, which are way too flimsy and often too small for my large/heavy items.

Next, there are the big ugly plastic bins... they're asymmetrical and only stack up/down, so I can't turn them on their side to become a modular shelf.

Then there are things like these, which are SO CLOSE to what I want, but they don't have any lid options. They only have doors with handles, which means they're only good as shelves and not boxes when moving since they can't stack up/down.

Is there some unicorn storage cube that doubles as both a shelf, a box, and looks nice and simple?
posted by picklenickle to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I guess you wouldn't consider tipping those boxes you like, upside a few degrees, to fit your needs.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:34 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: These ones don't have handles. But I don't think that they'd survive many moves, to be honest.
posted by kjs4 at 7:42 PM on May 3, 2018

Best answer: did you look at these?
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:58 PM on May 3, 2018

Best answer: Could something like this work? Or do you need more of an open shelf than dresser-style when they're in use?

It looks like they'd be easily stacked for moving, after you secure the drawer with tape/strapping.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 8:47 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Back when I was a college student, moving a lot in and out of dorm rooms and apartments, these plastic storage crates were really popular. They aren't huge but once you move in, you would line them up in closets or on shelves or along a wall to hold books, clothing, papers, etc.
posted by amanda at 8:59 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am pretty sure that on the doors with handles, the handles unscrew so that they can be laid flat on top of each other for moving purposes.
posted by AugustWest at 9:02 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I agree with August West - you can simply unscrew the handles of the cubes with doors when it’s time to move.

That said: it might be worth considering if you’re optimizing for ease of moving + more attractive than a cardboard box, when could consider optimizing for relatively attractive + almost as easy to move as a cardboard box. I’m not sure what items you’re storing in the cubes, but it might make sense to consider purchasing slightly more attractive folding shelves (like these) and a few baskets to hold miscellany (like these) and stash on the lower shelves. Then when it’s time to move, you will need put your stuff into cardboard boxes, but it shouldn’t take longer than 1hr per folding shelf to unpack and repack. Plus the baskets will go straight into the cardboard boxes as-is, and the un-basketed items will fill in empty box space. The system can work!

Overall, I applaud your effort to look for a both efficient and attractive solution that meets your needs. Too often I have found friends prioritizing ease of moving over comfortable living. I feel that if you move once a year, and spend about 4 days packing and 4 days unpacking, that means you only spend 8/365 days a year in moving mode. It makes sense to prioritize making the 357/365 days a little nicer, even if it means adding extra tasks during the 8 days of moving.
posted by samthemander at 10:39 PM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Tiny Bungalow’s drawers also seem perfect!
posted by samthemander at 10:44 PM on May 3, 2018

Nice drawers mean you need to bubble wrap them when you move so they don't get dented. That's another extra step if you aren't hand carrying your boxes/ drawers.

What about getting an Ikea or equivalent frame like the Kallax with square holes and then getting soft fabric, basket or otherwise foldable squares to go inside them? The Kallax size square baskets seem to fit in and under some other Ikea furniture too, and those shelves are on a craigslist practically everywhere.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 2:24 AM on May 4, 2018

Best answer: I think Ikea is your best bet, they have a lot of modular options that would fit your needs. SVALNÄS or EKET

Another idea is to buy the boxes you linked to, and also buy a bunch of laundry bags to put them in- so they are enclosed while moving, but can still be stacked.
posted by momochan at 4:08 AM on May 4, 2018

Best answer: These storage crates from the container store have lids.
posted by defreckled at 4:12 AM on May 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

These are what the post office uses. Super-durable, stackable, not usable as shelves. I have considered having shelving and using these as drawers. Commercial tote boxes are really excellent; I have picked up a few and they last really well. Plastic containers sold for home use are generally crap. They crack in cold weather, tear in warm weather, and the styles change all the time so you can't standardize on boxes and lids. Ikea used to have lidded plywood boxes, but I think not any more. The file crates sold at Staples and everywhere are usually designed to stack on their sides or upright. I have a bunch form different places and they are standard widths and mostly height, but not standard length. They stack upright reasonably well, though.

These look interesting.

These look pretty nifty, esp. if you cut handgrips into 2 sides. I searched Tote Crate Box Storage Wood.

I would consider getting boxes made from finish plywood. Have hand holes cut into the sides; makes them so much easier to sling. Cut lids from cardboard or even plywood, just small enough to fit *into* the box. That keeps out most debris. Or have lids on a hinge that can be folded all the way back so the box acts as a shelf. Etsy has some options.
posted by theora55 at 6:44 AM on May 4, 2018

These are even more interesting with a big range of sizes that seem to be coordinated for sizes.
posted by theora55 at 6:51 AM on May 4, 2018

Milk crates hold everything and are very, very hard to break.
posted by flabdablet at 8:29 AM on May 4, 2018

We have some IKEA EKET cube and while they are sturdy and stylish, they are kind of heavy.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:17 PM on May 4, 2018

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