These Costco Bins Solved My Small Shared Basement Space Problem

published Jun 12, 2023
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Basement with wood paneling.
Credit: Martin Deja / Getty Images

Anyone living in an apartment building is acutely aware that shared-space politics is a real thing. And that scenario only gets dicier if you have unregulated spaces, like a basement that can be used for first-come-first-served storage. If you’re the type of person who dreads seeing a curt, anonymous note taped to your pile of holiday decorations and furniture, then you’re probably conscious that you can’t take up too much space. 

That was my scenario. We have an apartment sheriff that leaves notes on people’s piles when they start taking up more space than is fair. Because I was trying to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, I decided the best course of action was to take my storage vertically rather than horizontally. 

My answer to that dilemma was stocking up on these storage bins from Costco. They are much bigger than the ones available in big-box stores, clocking in at 27 gallons. At 30 inches long and 14 inches high, they also ensured I could store a great deal of items in each bin. (If you don’t have a Costco membership, you can also get similar ones at Home Depot.) 

Credit: Marlen Komar

As any organizational maven will tell you, it doesn’t do you much good if your items are scattered throughout many different boxes across the basement. It’s much easier to consolidate them, so you only have to look in one spot. 

These ones are also notoriously thick with a reinforced lid, which ensures they can handle some weight stacked on them. This is important, as I planned to stack four to five boxes on top of one another. And because this is a damp basement, durability was essential to protect the things inside, whether from moisture or wayward pests. Plus, if I had something I worried about being stolen, the lids have holes that allow you to thread a lock through them. 

I bought 10 altogether and could fit all of my belongings in a tidy six feet of space. (It would probably take up triple that amount if I didn’t use uniform containers!) The system is also easy to navigate. Each box is dedicated to its own category: Heavy and least-used items, such as holiday serving ware and planters, are on the bottom, whereas more fragile and frequently used items go on top, such as retired home decor and holiday ornaments.

These bins turned out to be a simple and functional solution for a tricky storage problem. 

Buy: HDX 27-Gallon Tough Storage Tote, $10.98 (originally $11.98)