Awesome Garage Bins for Decorations, Recycling and Tools

Garage bins are a great way to organize your garage and keep it clean. But what is the best type of garage bin to store decorations, recycling, tools, compost, seasonal items or garbage? Let’s look at the types of garage bins and help you choose the right one for your needs.

Use clear plastic bins with latching lids to store wrapping paper. Put Christmas ornaments in a sturdy box with separators. Get the largest garbage bin you can find; ensure it has wheels, and you can find bags for it before buying. Use open-topped hanging bins for nuts and bolts. Flip-top stackable recycling bins work well so long as you don’t recycle wet items that attract bugs and animals to the garage. If you must store food in the garage, use latched storage to keep the animals out.

The Best Garage Bins to Store Christmas Decorations

The best type of garage bin for storing Christmas decorations is a clear plastic box with a latching lid. Plastic storage bins are durable and can be stacked on top of each other, which is great for maximizing space in your garage. Use transparent bins so you can see what’s inside without pulling bins out from their stacks. Use latched lids to keep mice and bugs out of your decorations.

The Best Garage Christmas Tree Ornament Bins

Here are two ornament boxes that look almost alike. But one is all wrong for the garage, and the other is perfect.

This Norlight is a nice Christmas ornament box, which I would definitely use indoors, but I’m not sure it’s good for the garage. On the plus side, this box is transparent, and makes the ornaments easy to retrieve. This box stores 64 tree ornaments in separate containers, and has zippers on the top and bottom flaps. On the downside, the Norlight is a soft-sided container that will not protect the ornaments in a crunch. As long as you do not stack or squeeze this container, it’s a nice solution.

I’d much rather see tree ornaments protected with sturdy plastic and a latching lid. Homz offers 31 qt. and 62 qt. transparent bins you can safely use in the garage. It stores 36 ornaments which a properly divided within the storage container. The 64 qt. container includes dividers and safely stores 64 Christmas tree ornaments. Homz bins are available at Target and Amazon.

The Best Garage Gift Wrap Storage Bin

A good gift-wrapping bin for the garage is sturdy plastic, clear, is long enough for wrapping rolls, and has a latching lid. I love the Iris Clear Gift Wrap bin because it properly protects gift-wrap even in the garage. The sturdy 33-inch long clear plastic container can hold nine rolls of wrapping paper. The lid snaps to keep out pests and moisture. The Iris is available at the Container Store.

Long and clear plastic gift wrap bin
This gift wrap bin keeps out moisture but is clear so you can see what’s inside

The Best Tool Organization Bins

There’s a big difference between storing tools and organizing tools. Storing tools puts them away in a safe place. Organizing tools protects and sorts them while still allowing easy access.

The Best Garage Tool Storage

The best type of bin storage for tools is a rolling drawer toolbox. It is self-stacking and portable. The drawers protect tools from dirt, but the tools are still easy to reach. These organizers usually come with two wheels and a built-in handle. They’re made of rigid plastic and metal. The storage drawers slide out for smaller items, and tilt out for larger tools. Some have accessories on the outside such as cord hooks on the handle.

To learn more about tool storage, view our article: Organizing Your Tools: The Comprehensive Guide (opens in a new window)

Storage Bins for Washers, Screws, Nuts and Bolts

Open-topped wall-mounted storage bins are one solution for the little fasteners that populate the garage. Just be aware that these will not protect your screws and nails from dust and webs. I like Akro-Mills as a brand because their products are sturdy and cut to tight tolerances. You can get open-topped bins that stack on a table or workbench; or you can get a louvered steel wall mount to hang the bins on the wall. They’re available on Amazon and Global Industrial and Grainger Industries.

Lockable Bins for Tools

Tool weights add up when you use a large bin for storage. You could get something like the Planto Sportsman Tote from Cabella’s. It has tie downs and is lockable (you supply the lock). If you go any larger than this 24 in. x 24 in. x 15 in. box, it will get awkward to carry.

The Best Type of Garage Bin to Store Dry Recycling

To make recycling sorting easier, you can get different colored recycling bins. Suncast sells their flip-top recycling in blue, green and yellow. You might use blue for paper, green for bottles, and yellow for cans, for example. The one below is a clone of what we’ve had in our closet for thirty years. We have a recycling bin for glass bottles, for plastic items, and for aluminum cans. The paper recycling in our house is under the sink.

Blue recycling bins stacked with lids open
Access the lids on these recycling bins even when the bins are stacked.

Flip-top recycling bins are stackable but still accessible. The lids sit outside the stackable part. This design is flawed, though, in that the lids are not airtight. If you have any issues with bugs in the garage, use an airtight and watertight lid on your wet recycling. That’s why the best type of garage bin for storing wet cans and bottles is a plastic storage bin with a latching lid. A plastic storage bin with a lid prevents pests from getting into your recycling.

It’s always best to dry cans and bottles before putting them in recycling. The excess moisture will drain to the bottom of the container. It will either pool their, or drain through a drain-hole if provided. In either case, soda, beer and milk will accumulate, and then get old and disgusting. Just let the cans and bottles dry on the counter for 24 hours before placing them in storage.

The flip-top stackable recycling bins are available at Uline, Amazon, Target, Home Depot and the like.

Blue flp-top recycling bins with lids closed
Suncast recycling bins that stack

The Best Type of Garage Bin to Store Compost

Composting is the process of fermenting household food waste into garden fertilizer. The process requires incoming oxygen and occasional spinning or tossing. If you don’t let in the air, the contents turn to slime. If you do let in the air, then you let in the bugs, too. I know people disagree with me, and so if your heart is set on composing inside the garage, find more articles about garage composting. I’m of the opinion that composting is not a garage activity.

What is the Best Type of Garage Bin to Store Garbage

We still drive our garbage to the town “transfer station,” but some neighbors have hired “garbage companies” to do that work for them. Each week they roll their garbage cans to the bottom of the driveway. Inevitably — and I do mean inevitably — there is more garbage than there is garbage bin. The trash is blossoms out the tops of the bins, and the lids are useless with that overflow. When the wind picks up the garbage flies around and lands on neighbors’ lawns.

How Many Garbage Bins

If you think you need three garbage bins, buy four. Never let your garbage see the light of day except when actively throwing things away. Garbage is too attractive to bugs and raccoons to allow it loose like that. And it’s just rude to let your garbage fly around. And speaking of flies — an overstuffed garbage bin is one fantastic method of attracting dirty flies.

Garbage Bin Sizes

We like to use heavy-duty can liners, but it’s hard to find the right size for our very large bins. If you are looking at 32-gallon bins, you’ll find liners. Make sure you can get liners for bins that are 33-gallon or larger.

Plastic Garbage Bins Win Over Metal

Plastic bins are better than metal bins. I know because I throw the dog poo in a metal bin without wheels, and I don’t like it. It’s loud, hard to wash, and holds onto the smell surprisingly well.

Best Garage Bins for Storing Food

Food is attractive to bears, raccoons, bugs and flies. If you must store food in the garage, make sure the container is sturdy and well sealed. That means using a sturdy plastic bin with a latching lid, and absolutely no air vents or drain holes.

Below are two nice bins for food, but the clear one beats the black and yellow by a mile. That’s because the clear one, although not as sturdy, has a latching lid. The yellow lid snaps into place. I’ve met several raccoons and a few bears that would have no problem opening that yellow lid. The clear box’s latch lid is not completely animal-proof, but it’s much tougher for an animal to open.

Summary About Garage Bins

The best garage bins are those that are sturdy, have a latching lid, and are either clear or plastic. Food should be stored in a bin with no air vents or drain holes. Composting is best done outside of the garage. Finally, garbage cans should be rolled to the bottom of the driveway and never left out in the open. Overflowing garbage cans attract bugs and animals. There should be enough garbage bins so that garbage never has to be left out in the open. Liners should be used for all garbage bins. Metal bins are not as good as plastic bins because they are loud, hard to wash, and hold onto smells. Plastic bins are better because they are easier to wash and do not hold onto smells as much. The clear bin is the best option for food storage because it is more difficult for animals to open. Black and yellow bins have a lid that snaps into place, which can be easily opened by animals.