How to Get Organized with Plastic Storage Bins

Sep 8, 2016

“How did I ever let it get this bad?” you ask yourself. Your storage room or work area has items strewn about and some things are unrecognizable under a thick layer of dust. You can’t find what you need and all the searching is eating up precious time. Worse yet, the inefficiency is costing you money! It’s time to get organized. Here are 5 simple steps for how to get organized and that will help you dig out, shape up, and maintain a clean, organized and efficient workspace using plastic storage bins.

#1 Declutter

The best and most efficient workspaces have only what is needed to get the job done and no more! The first step to get organized is to declutter. Get rid of anything that is not absolutely necessary to keep in the storage room or workspace. A method used in the 5S Lean process (Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) is called “red tagging”. This involves sorting through all items in the space and literally putting a red tag on anything that should not be there. All red tagged items are then removed from the area and can either be discarded or sold.

Now that you’re left with only the things that should be there, you can take the opportunity to sort those items in a way that makes sense. Placing like items together makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. Placing items in the same area that are typically used together lets you gather supplies faster for a project. This is your opportunity to make the space function the way you need it to. 

More tips on using 5S Lean methodology

properly labeled plastic storage bins

#2 Label, Label, Label

You’ve heard the old adage, “a place for everything and everything in its place”. One of the key ways to get organized and more importantly stay organized is having a place for everything and knowing where it goes. By properly labeling your plastic storage bins you help make sure the items you need are always in the same place every time and will be returned to the same place once they’re done being used. Many Akro-Mils plastic storage bins, including the industry standard AkroBin, have built-in label holders which allow you to apply large, easy to read labels to your containers.

When using plastic storage bins for organization, a great labeling technique called “One-to-One (1:1) Labeling” will ensure you always know the proper place for your bins. 1:1 Labeling means labeling not only the plastic storage bin but also the space on the shelf where that bin belongs. When a bin, or multiple bins, are removed from a shelving unit and taken to a work area, 1:1 Labeling ensures there is no guessing about which spot it needs returned to. Shadow Boards are also a great way to make sure tools are returned to the proper space. A Shadow Board has silhouettes of the tools that belong on the board. Both 1:1 Labeling and Shadow Boards not only let you know where a bin or tool should be returned, they also let you know what items are missing or out of place.

color coded small parts bins

#3 Simplify (Your Bin Selection)

When faced with the task of reorganizing a space, the tendency is to try to use plastic storage bins close to the exact sizes of the items being stored. When dealing with a lot of items of various sizes, many different bin sizes may be used. This method typically results in using so many different bin sizes that you end up with an even more disorganized and cluttered look than when you began. We recommend limiting the selection to 3 to 4 bin sizes for any given area. A “large, medium, small” approach helps to keep a clean and organized look and arranging plastic storage bins by size also helps to prevent smaller bins from getting lost or hidden behind larger bins. Limiting your bin sizes will likely result in extra space inside some bins, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

divided small parts storage containers

#4 Divide and Conquer

Using dividable plastic storage bins is a great way to keep a uniform and organized look in your storage area while taking maximum advantage of the bins capacity. A row of same-sized bins has a very appealing and organized look but you don’t always need the full size of the bin for what needs to be stored. Using dividers inside a plastic storage bin creates smaller compartments to help maximize your usage of the bin while still maintaining a neat look. Using dividable plastic storage bins is also good planning for future storage needs. When dealing with inventory supply rooms, you may need to keep more of some items and less of others. When your needs change, a dividable bin lets you easily reorganize to create smaller or larger storage spaces as needed. Akro-Mils has a number of dividable stackable storage bins, shelf bins, dividable grid boxes, and other durable storage containers to get you organized now and in the future.

warehouse organized and ready for future growth

#5 Let it Grow

You’ve finally got every last inch of the room organized and everything has a place….then a new item shows up and you have nowhere to put it! The lack of planning for future storage needs is a big reason many areas become disorganized. New items get stashed wherever they fit and not where they belong. Stuff piles up because there is nowhere to put it.

When reorganizing your workspace, supply room or even your closet, always plan for the future. Will you get a new project that requires you to hold new inventory? Will you get a new tool for the job? Planning a few empty spaces into your storage room is a good practice for sustainable organization. Utilizing dividable plastic storage bins also allows you to condense items as necessary to make room for future needs. You may eventually grow out of a space, but planning for future needs will allow you to make the most of what you have to work with and keep it clean and organized in the process.

For More Information on How to Get Organized with Plastic Storage Bins

Questions on how to get organized with plastic storage bins? We’ve got the answers. Just go to contact us or your local Akro-Mils distributor for a plastic storage bin quote. To learn how others get organized with plastic storage bins,  view our case studies.

Posted: Sep 8, 2016 by Meri Bryan | with 1 Comments

Filed under:
Storage & Organization

Larry Woods
Great blog post! Very helpful.
9/9/2016 8:22:19 AM

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