How to Shop The Container Store Like a Professional Organizer

After making more than 100 trips to The Container Store, there are a few items that consistently end up in my cart.

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storage boxes

I was a professional organizer in New York City for several years before I started testing and writing about home products. I've organized gorgeous penthouses, Hamptons homes, tiny studios, and one-bedroom apartments. Every job is different, and every client is different, but after making more than 100 trips to The Container Store, there are a few items that consistently end up in my cart.

Walking through The Container Store sparks feelings of excitement because there's so much potential sitting on each shelf. But if you don't know how to utilize these products in your own space, it's easy to feel confused. So to get you started, below are my must-haves that can work in various areas of a home.

Go-To Container Store Organizing Products

Before adding anything to your cart, there are a few things you can do to make sure you're getting the most out of your Container Store experience. Take it from me: These small steps will help you make purchases that are right for your space.

Measure Your Space

First, measure the shelves or cabinets that you're hoping to organize. Each product comes in a slightly different size, so you'll want to make sure that the depth of the bin will fit neatly inside your cabinet or closet. Most of my go-tos fit standard cabinetry, and if they don't work for your space, The Container Store has a 120-day return policy.

Have a Plan

As fun as it is to saunter around The Container Store or mindlessly scroll the Marie Kondo section of the site, when you're really ready to get organized, you need a plan. Perhaps you're mostly happy with your pantry, but you'd like to decant your cereal into some canisters and grab a few clear bins to organize snacks or kids' juice boxes. Note how many cereal canisters you need and how you want to organize your sweet and salty snacks.

Shop for Multipurpose Organizational Products

Buying super niche products can be fun, but if you want to get the best value, opt for multipurpose organizational products that can work in your pantry, closet, and laundry room.

Based on my experience, these are some of the most useful organizational products you can buy from The Container Store. I've also included examples of where and how to use them in your home.

iDesign Linus Bin

pantry bins

Where to use: Hall closets, pantry, playroom, bathroom
How to use: Label each bin and group similar items together, such as toys or snacks.

I often fill my cart with a ton of these clear bins because they work well in so many spaces. The 8-by-11.25-by-6-inch one is the most versatile, as it fits in a variety of standard cabinets. Line three of these bins in a row in your pantry or kitchen cabinet and label them as breakfast supplies, grab-and-go snacks, and dinner options. Or pop them on the top shelf of your hall closet to house scarves, gloves, and off-season accessories. They also make easy-to-see storage for Legos, magnetic tiles, and blocks in a playroom.

Wherever you choose to place these bins, make sure to grab a label and a chalk marker to help yourself (or a family member) stay organized.

iDesign Linus Deep Drawer Bin

container boxes

Where to use: Deep pantry shelves, utility closets, laundry rooms, under the sink
How to use: Label each bin and group similar items together, such as cleaning products or backstock.

These drawer bins are 16 inches deep, so they are great for making hard-to-reach places more accessible. Use them in a deep pantry to keep snacks together or under the sink to house cleaning supplies. They come in various widths, so if you're using them under your sink, the 4-inch one can hold sponges and Swiffer refills, while the 6-inch one can keep a whole row of spray bottle cleaners. The 8-inch one can house larger things, such as dishwashing detergent and trash bags.

Bamboo Lazy Susan

lazy susan

Where to use: Kitchen countertop, cabinets, open shelving in your pantry
How to use: Store everyday oils and sauces on your countertop or cabinet or in your pantry.

Lazy Susans are the secret weapon to variety in your organization. Clear bins and baskets are great, but everything can start to look a bit square after a while, so adding a lazy Susan to your shelf helps break up the monotony while still keeping you organized. Use a lazy Susan to store smoothie ingredients like protein powder, peanut butter, and any other add-ins that you can easily spin and grab while prepping for your day. Or have it hold jellies and other nut butters in your pantry. Think beyond the countertop—the possibilities are endless.

Water Hyacinth Storage Cube

storage boxes

Where to use: Closets, on top of cabinets, open shelving
How to use: Label with a bin clip and group similar items together, such as accessories or large supplies.

Adding a hyacinth basket to your shelves can keep you organized while hiding some things you might not want to display in clear bins. It's important to customize your organization system to what works for you, so think about the items in your home that you'd like to stay together but don't need to be in a clear bin. In addition to a few under my bed, I have three large baskets under my entryway bench for things I need to grab on the way out, such as sandals and dog-walking supplies; I even have one for returns, as I'm almost always buying and returning items for one project or another. Add a bin label to remind you of what each one stores.

Black Bin Clip Labels

clip labels

Where to use: Everywhere
How to use: Grab a chalk marker for the black clip or a Sharpie for the white clip and label the contents of your bin.

Bin clip labels can take you from semi-organized to Instagram-worthy and set you up for long-term success. If the container is labeled "Winter Accessories," then you're less likely to throw your mail in there, right? For clear bins, opt for a sticker label that's either pre-labeled or a blank label and marker. If you happen to mess up while writing your label, a lens-cleaning wipe will quickly erase your mistake.

Bisgo Linen Marten Office Storage Boxes

storage boxes

Where to use: Home office, closets, open shelving
How to use: Store files, kids' artwork, and keepsakes in these stackable boxes.

No matter how organized you are, there are always keepsakes that don't quite seem to fit anywhere else. A child's drawing, a card from a grandparent, or even small figurines can be stored away thoughtfully in one of these linen storage boxes. They're nice enough to be placed on open shelving, but they can also sit on the top shelf of a closet. Or you can stack a few on the corner of a desk to store files and important documents.

Black Premium Non-slip Velvet Hangers, Case of 40

clothes hangers

Where to use: Bedroom closet and hall closet

An easy step toward a more beautiful closet? Switch out the hangers. It's such a simple fix that makes a huge impact. To create consistency in your wardrobe, choose a hanger that will work for all of your clothes and accessories. These velvet non-slip hangers will not only securely hold your clothing, but they are also super slim, so you'll maximize your hanging space.

Clear Storage Boxes

storage boxes

Where to use: Closets, storage units, under the bed
How to use: Label each clear storage box and group similar items such as off-season clothing and accessories.

You can use these clear storage boxes in a variety of ways. You can use the shoe box to, of course, store and stack several pairs of shoes in your closet, but you can also use the larger men's shoe box to store user manuals, craft supplies, or small household items such as extra power strips and light bulbs. The deep sweater box is large enough to store bulky off-season sweaters or snow gear, and the underbed box is great for putting away excess shoes.

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