With all my sporting interests and limited storage space it’s vital that I keep stuff organized. That way I can pack my garage efficiently, but still get out what I need without a lot of hassle. The mainstay of my organizing system are Rubber Maid Action Packer bins. I use the large and medium sizes which will stack with one another. They are tough – having endured many months of Baja abuse [ie. being used as cutting boards for cleaning fish!] and UV on the beach. They hold enough to be useful without holding so much you can’t carry them. They’ll slide in the back on a pick up truck so you can reorganize them on the fly. I’m building a bed in the back of my truck that uses these bins for support. They are strong enough that I can use 4 of them to sleep on and then lift a piece of plywood and grab what I need from a bin during the day. The plastic used doesn’t get brittle in the cold and they’ll dent or bend if you stress them rather than crack. If you ever do thrash one [I haven’t yet in 15yrs+] you can easily recycle them. They aren’t cheap, but they do go on sale and they are a long term investment. My pro tip buy as many different colours as you can then mix and match lids for an easy to spot identifying system. You can also write on them with a thick sharpie marker.
BTW – in case you are thinking clear plastic would make spotting what you need inside a bin so much easier keep in mind that clear plastic is brittle and will shatter if dropped from say carrying height at room temperature or banged around in the cold
Another Rubber Maid product I use a lot is their laundry baskets. They make great short term storage bins for wet and dirty gear like your MTB shoes and pads after a ride. They mostly keep the nastiness in while letting the gear breathe so it doesn’t get crazy stinky if you forget it in the car for a day or two! They sit nicely on top of the Action Packer bins shown above. When you don’t need them they’ll stack with another basket for easy storage and you can use them for dirty laundry as well…=-)
For some storage jobs you need smaller bins/boxes. Sadly buying them new is expensive since the price doesn’t come down to reflect the size of the box…sort of like women’s lingerie…=-) Using random boxes that come your way is cheap and works, but it has the downside that you end up with a ton of mismatched non-stacking boxes. Stacking is key for efficient storage use or you end up with a frustrating game of Jenga in your garage! Happily I found that one brand of cat litter my kitty likes comes in plastic stackable boxes. It even comes in a few sizes. I go through a large box every month or so which means I am slowly organizing my bike parts more effectively as time goes on. I currently have larger bins with several types of items in it. Great for storage, but hard to find what you want without unpacking half the bin. Using smaller boxes I’ll be able to home in on what I need faster.
If you’ve got a cunning storage tip for bike parts please share in the comments section.