Jun 21, 2023

The Best Under

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Hide your mess with these under-bed bins, drawers, and storage solutions.

For bedrooms, the simplest way to tuck away clutter and belongings is to simply shove it underneath your bed. Things can get chaotic when you’re adding to that under-bed space, however, and the more items you shove under, the more you’ll push things deeper, further out, and scrape up against dust.

Kicking your stuff under the bed with abandon is what high school you would do, right? Under-bed storage boxes let you organize that space, helping keep your room tidy and orderly—and unlocking a previously unused storage area. Here are the best under-bed storage boxes for hiding messes and storing items in that bedroom.

Looking for more storage solutions? Check our picks for the best cable management products, ornament storage boxes, and plastic outdoor sheds.

Some storage containers are too high to fit underneath low-height beds. Flexible canvas or cotton storage bins might smush down by an inch or two to fit, but to accommodate for a range of beds, we made sure every storage container on this list comfortably fits underneath beds with at least eight inches of clearance.

It’s hard to picture how much space you need in your under-bed storage boxes because they’re measured in liters or gallons. If you’re storing hard goods inside of a bin, it’s a great idea to measure the biggest item you’re putting away and compare the dimensions.

If you’re putting away linens, seasonal clothing, or extra blankets, consider reaching for containers with a flexible canvas shell so you can tuck more fabrics into unused space without worrying about the lid popping off.

If you’re putting fabrics away, you may want a storage solution made of soft material like cotton canvas or polyester to treat bed sheets, clothing, and towels more delicately. On the other hand, if you’re worried about moths or dust, airtight plastic may be best, though moisture and dampness can grow mold if the goods inside aren’t completely dry.

Soft and fabric-based storage boxes protect against sunlight better than clear plastic bins. Plus, soft-shell storage containers are pliable, so if you overstuff your box with bed sheets and clothes, you can still slide it underneath your bed and smush it into place. Many of the standard under-bed storage boxes are foldable, made of fabric, and extremely affordable—but we’ve found that these foldable boxes are often cheaply made.

Our tester owns an Amazon Basics windowed container bag with handles and found it poorly constructed: its fabric handle broke apart in less than a month, its zipper feels thin and brittle, and its clear window had multiple punctures and holes within a year. Cat Bowen of Best Products says that lidded fabric storage boxes present their own issues with creasing and flimsy tops that can’t find their place.

However, there are some soft-shell storage boxes worth buying. Soft-shells made from natural fabrics like wool and cotton are breathable but can get sun damaged and fade if exposed to light. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester add moisture resistance and are best for storing heavy and sharp objects, as they better prevent rips and tears compared to other fabrics. In any case, fabric-based storage bins can hang onto dust and dirt, so if you’re into a soft-sided option, be mindful of color.

On the other hand, hard-shelled storage bins call to mind those monstrous clear bins that keep Christmas decorations hidden until next year. Transparent bins offer a view of the contents while locking the air out and keeping goodies safe from dust and bugs (though it’s important to note that not all hard-shell options are truly airtight).

Aside from potential mold growth from moisture that may get locked inside, these plastic bins are not attractive. They’re usually made from polypropylene, a highly durable type of plastic that flexes under pressure. Lidded options are usually great for stacking, but too much weight can cause stress marks, ultimately blocking parts of the clear window.

Rattan, willow, reed, and bamboo are natural alternatives to plastic, sometimes mistakenly referred to as wicker, the name of a traditional weaving method. Rattan offers an elegant touch to your storage solutions if you desire to beautify your tidying and can be a great midpoint between fabric and plastic, though not as tough as the latter. This is an elevated storage material that doesn’t provide a window to contents but offers moderate protection.

These natural materials aren’t airtight, but they strike an excellent balance between the sun-blocking capabilities and natural look of fabric, and the lidded, sturdy, lightweight nature of plastic. The push-and-pull from underneath your bed can wear down this material over time or snag on high-pile carpet, but most wicker products are blended with synthetics like polyester for added durability.

To find the best under-bed storage solutions, we started with research. We checked other publications to see the most frequently recommended products, then used a combination of in-house expertise and hands-on experience to eliminate items based on specs and materials.

In the endless sea of under-bed storage boxes, we got our hands on three solid picks based on brand reputation, style, dimensions, and materials used. Ultimately, we narrowed our picks to one fabric-based box, one made of plastic, and an elegant pick made from rattan.

Due to the fragile nature of foldable fabric storage boxes, we opted not to include any on this list. Despite these sorts of boxes appearing on other product review sites, we don’t recommend them because they’re so often cheaply made and short-lived.

To find the best hard-shelled storage, we strayed from lidded plastics with snap handles from brands like Sterlite and Rubbermaid. These under-bed bins are usually long, causing lids to flex when stacked with pressure. They also tend to buckle in the middle, which sometimes builds unattractive stress marks on the plastic, which is especially cumbersome with transparent polypropylene. We got our hands on a drawer storage solution from the Container Store—it’s the most beloved among reviewers, and it doesn’t require the pull-and-push of a regular bin.

We wanted to include one elegant pick for hard storage, too. We settled on a rattan storage container, as the material is much more robust than plastic, and although it doesn’t offer a window into your stored goodies, it certainly dresses up the bedroom with a refined, natural look. We also tried out a box from Crate & Barrel due to its brand reputation, construction, and design, with a lid that fits flush with its body.

The Container Store’s under-bed storage solutions are reasonably priced, well-made, and come in so many sizes it’s tough to find a better recommendation.

We sampled this drawer and found it to be a smooth-rolling storage box for a variety of items, from rugs and sneakers to bedsheets and winter clothes. It glides open with ease and its transparent bin makes it easy to see what’s stored inside. If you’ve got a bed that’s tall enough, indentations on top make it stackable with same-sized bins, but the fact that it’s so wide may mean one or two will do you just fine.

This drawer can bend and flex, but it can also permanently curve in shape or accumulate stress marks if treated with disrespect—that is, overfilled and in a position to get kicked. It’s also not attractive, so if you’re using one of these to hide clutter, you might as well hide the drawer as well.

Otherwise, this thing is solid. It glides open and avoided our tester’s high-pile rug, and it fits about a week-long vacation’s worth of clothing.

The best part about the Container Store’s storage boxes is the number of variations. Not looking for a wide drawer? Grab the classic under-bed drawer instead. Need something easier to access? The brand sells a wheeled under-bed box as well.

While we didn’t try the wheeled or classic drawers, they’ve topped other lists from product journalists at The Spruce, Reviewed, and Wirecutter, making them as safe a pick as ours.

The most beautiful storage bin we found is from Crate & Barrel. It’s made with a wicker rattan that gives it a classy look, with a laminated sheen that protects it from light moisture. It’s rigid, natural-looking, and has an easy-off lid that hastens storage. Its handles are easy to pull, and it’s spacious enough to keep longer items like extra gift wrapping or tent poles.

Our tester, however, found that its rigidness also made moving it from underneath a bed harder. The bin’s inflexible rattan won’t let it bend or twist, so you’ll need to pull the entire basket out to pop it open. Keeping a rug near your bed, like our tester, further impedes the bin’s movement.

It’s also quite tall at 6.5 inches. While the under-bed storage solution from Open Spaces is even taller, its canvas makes it crushable to fit snugly. Crate & Barrel’s storage basket has a lid that gives it an extra half-inch of clearance you may have to sacrifice to get that right fit. No lid exposes your stored goods to more dust.

Still, it looks excellent underneath a bed and does a great job of hiding clutter and goods. It’s a great alternative to smelly transparent plastics, and it looks as natural as wood or fabric.

A frequently recommended storage solution, Sterlite’s wheeled under-bed box is typical: clear, plastic, large, and lidded.

What sets this apart from other big bins is the addition of wheels on each side—rather than scraping your floor while pushing and pulling it out, wheels glide it with ease. This gives it the slight grace of a drawer without sacrificing the functionality of a big tubby bin. It also features a hinged lid, so you don't have to pull out the entire bin with each use, just halfway.

These are the most affordable solutions to under-bed storage, but they’re also the cheapest and—if you care about this sort of thing—the blandest. While critics say this is one of the best bins for quick and easy under-bed storage, consumers say its wheels and latches are prone to breaking off. These also are prone to stress marks and plastic odor.

These vacuum storage bags are critical for small apartments, compressing fabrics and textiles by up to a claimed 80 percent. Simply attach the included hand pump or your home vacuum to the outside valve and suck the air out, and the durable plastic bag will shut closed.

They’re available in a variety pack of one small, medium, large, and jumbo size—the smallest of which fits six to eight sweaters, the largest an entire queen bedding set—or you can grab four of the same size bags. Each option is less than $30.

Users say the bags are tough enough to not easily puncture in use, and they can be slid underneath a mattress with ease. They’re also reusable, which is a plus when swapping out seasonal clothing.

The biggest downside? These aren’t built for hard goods.

After months of pushing its entryway rack into our Instagram feeds, we decided to check out Open Spaces’ products and stumbled across its under-bed storage two-pack of fabric boxes. Though pricier than multi-packs you’d find at big box retailers, the quality is clearly better: genuine leather handles, YKK zippers, a cotton canvas exterior, and a nylon-backed interior. Plus, components aside, these look great. The choice of a cream colorway fits practically any interior, and its neutrality doesn’t immediately make you think of the clutter hiding inside.

Both storage boxes are soft and packable, flattening to put away when not in use. Its plushness also gives it some flexibility, allowing you to crush inside linens and fabrics if needed.

Our tester packed six pairs of men’s shoes (size 11.5) and still had space for extra packing—a few pairs of sandals and maybe a winter jacket could tuck right in. They could also comfortably fit four underneath a queen-sized bed, one in each quadrant, and could easily it over a nearby rug.

Price aside—we think it’s worth it, by the way—its most significant drawback is also one of its strengths: color. The cream also acts as a blank canvas for the exterior (pun intended). Pushing this underneath your bed is similar to operating a Swiffer dry mop, moving dander along with it and tucking those dust bunnies deeper. Pulling it out also risks collecting dirt and, eventually, grime.

Its tough exterior does make it easy to clean, though, and a quick cold water wipe with mild detergent should do the trick.

Kevin Cortez is a Commerce Editor for Popular Mechanics, Bicycling, and Runner’s World. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He was most recently the style editor for a leading product-recommendation site and previously covered music and podcasting at Mass Appeal, Genius, and The A.V. Club. His work can also be seen in WSJ, Leafly, Input, and Vulture. He enjoys reading graphic novels, birding, and taking long, meandering walks in his spare time.

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Looking for more storage solutions? Check our picks for the best cable management products, ornament storage boxes, and plastic outdoor sheds.Best Overall: Best Upgrade: Best Multi-Pack: Best Clear Plastic Bin:Best Bag: