In Praise of Clear Plastic Shoe Boxes

One of my favorite organizing supplies is the clear plastic shoe box. I could probably count 20 uses for them in my own home. Oddly enough, only one of them (a larger boot-size box) contains actual out-of-season shoes. Mine are more likely to contain office supplies, light bulbs, small tools, vitamins, and such.  I use them on shelves, inside drawers, and underneath sinks. The only rooms that don’t have any shoe boxes are the living room and dining room, which are more for relaxing and entertaining than they are for storage.

15+ ways to use clear plastic shoe boxes (besides for shoes)! Click To Tweet

Top 5 Reasons why I like them: 

Stacked under a bathroom sink.

  1. They are clear. You can see what’s inside.
  2. They are large enough to corral several items, but small enough to move around and handle easily.
  3. They provide a limit to categories of stuff that you only really need so much of anyway.
  4. They stack if you use the lids — OR — they act as little drawers on shelves, or as drawer dividers, if you leave the lids off.
  5. They are cheap. Usually $1-3, depending, of course, on where you shop. I like Sterilite brand 6 oz and 16 oz boxes because they are readily available where I live.

Suggested uses:

Open-topped shoe boxes on a shelf.

  • Bathroom – categorize cosmetics, medicines, dental supplies (etc.) under the sink
  • Freezer – separate meat from veggies (etc.) so you can see what you have and what you need
  • Fridge – corral snack items and sandwich fixings (easier to bring out the whole box than individual items)
  • Pantry – pasta, beans, rice, small packets of spices, granola bars (all in separate boxes, you understand)
  • Kitchen  – whatever small items you really need every day and that normally clutter your counter top; also under the sink to corral cleaning supplies and pull them out easily
  • Utility — spare light bulbs and batteries
  • Pets —  treats, toys and leashes (separate boxes, unless you don’t treat or play much, I guess)
  • Crafts – art supplies, sewing notions (the possibilities are endless)
  • Kids Room – small toys, kits with many small pieces, craft supplies
  • Dresser – use them to separate socks from undies in a deep drawer
  • Exercise – contain hand weights or exercise bands next to your bench or floor mat
  • Office – categorize supplies on shelves or in a deep drawer
  • Guest Room – travel sized soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries
  • Garage and Shed – small tools, gardening supplies, bird seed, insect repellent
  • Closet — contain folded clothing and accessories on shelf above closet rod

Use as drawer dividers

I took photos of most of these applications and then realized they all looked pretty much the same. So I spared you and only included a few.

What have you used shoe boxes for…besides shoes, of course…?

Please share in the comments below!

Copyright 2013 – 2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Janet Barclay on February 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Hmm, I could use a few of these around my place! I currently have a (cardboard) shoebox in my hall closet, where I store gloves and such things, the ones I don’t wear on a daily basis. A clear one would be much more functional!

    • Hazel Thornton on February 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Janet, I have so many it’s hard for me to imagine you have none! I even have some I forgot to mention, on a top shelf of my bedroom closet! 🙂

  2. hand weights for sale on February 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Very nice article. I couldn’t imagine my life without these boxes 🙂

    • Hazel Thornton on February 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks, Julia. Me neither!

  3. Seana Turner on January 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I couldn’t agree more – I absolutely love them!!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm


  4. Rachel Winter on December 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Clear, shoe-box size bins are one of my favorite organizing solutions too. Very nice blog! I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

    • Hazel Thornton on December 24, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for your comment, Rachel!

  5. Cynthia on January 23, 2023 at 11:35 am

    What are some uses for the lids?I have a ton of lids.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 23, 2023 at 4:22 pm

      Ha! Good question! I’ve used them for snow scrapers and little trays for lightweight snacks (a single lid is not sturdy enough to support, say, a hot mug of coffee). If you come up with more ideas, please post them here! Although I do use the containers without lids sometimes, I tend to keep the lids in case I repurpose the containers someday.

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