How can I make use of storage boxes once the lids are gone?

Cindy Rubin
by Cindy Rubin

I have a ton of rubbermade tubs that I have accumulated through the years... I love to organize things (even in the garage) without the worry of getting the contents dirty and dusty. The boxes are great and usually sturdy, HOWEVER. the lids always end up cracking, handles fall off etc. I'm convinced it's the manufacturers way of making you buy more containers... they surely won't sell lids by themselves.It breaks my heart to throw them in the recycle bin... especially since I still need them. Has anyone ever found a way to securely cover the tubs to continue using them as intended? Not really looking to upcycle them but continue to store items without contents getting dusty, dirty etc.

entire closet full of all shapes and sizes

  16 answers
  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on Aug 11, 2019

    The simplest thing I can think of is to cut inexpensive plywood to size and secure with bungee cords like big rubber bands. You can then write on the wood the contents of each bin and they would still be stackable.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 11, 2019

    Hi Cindy,

    This is probably not the best solution because it is not form fitting on the base, but it is one that I imagine that could possibley work-to some extent...and you probably have already thought of it. Take a piece of plexiglass (cut to size -they will do this for you in the diy store) and place it on top of your bin. That way you can stack without the contents being majorly compromised.

    Another thought that comes to mind is to contact Rubbermaid and explain that the lids are not holding up as well as the bins are and do they have any suggestions. Here comes the hard part, they will want the numbers off the bins.

    Best to you.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Aug 11, 2019

    Make a list of all the containers you need tops for. Note the manufacturer and even trace the handles for each.

    Visit the dollar stores. They often sell the lids separate from the bases and you may find the right sizes.

  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 11, 2019

    Create a plant propagation system. Fill the colored ones with rooting soil and cap with the clear. Place out of direct sun, but with blue skies above.

  • Pamela Giarolo Pamela Giarolo on Aug 11, 2019

    for under bed boxes you can staple/glue a sheet of heavy duty clear vinyl or poly along one long edge. For the other long side roll and glue a thin wooden dowel to hang over the edge, to keep the cover in place.

    You can't stack them but it will keep the dust off.

  • Greys4me Greys4me on Aug 11, 2019

    Why not use them to make a garden or flower bed. They could be placed on a deck or patio. Add potting soil and plant what ever you want.

    • See 1 previous
    • Cindy Rubin Cindy Rubin on Sep 21, 2019

      I want to use tham as storage... their original intention because I need the storage.

  • Jane Jane on Aug 11, 2019

    I’ve had a similar thing happen with cardboard bankers boxes. My solution may work for plastic boxes as well. I use cardboard from other boxes to make new lids. It’s not particularly hard and all I have used is glue and or tape to hold them together. It’s worked for me.

  • Dee Dee on Aug 11, 2019

    Lowes, home Depot sell lids. AS well as office supply but they are cardboard.

    • Cindy Rubin Cindy Rubin on Sep 21, 2019

      Here where I live, both Lowes and Home Depot tell me they don't do that.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Aug 12, 2019

    I would wrap rope around it and use it as pretty storage containers around the house .Check those ideas on Interest =plastic%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=container%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=diy%7Ctyped][]=plastic%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=container%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=diy%7Ctyped

  • 17335038 17335038 on Sep 20, 2019

    Purchasing plexiglass and having it cut to serve as 'lids' for these bins would not be cost effective. It would be cheaper to purchase brand new bins with lids.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Sep 20, 2019

    What about attaching a strip of vinyl (with brads or winged pins) along one length of one bin, and to a second bin? The strip would act as a hinge.

    Then maybe the two bins together could be used as a 'clamshell' style storage container.

  • Mary Mary on Jul 18, 2022 Make a lid out of cardboard? Lowe's also sells cheaper 'plexiglass' alternatives like lexan, optix, palsun.

  • Patty Patty on Jan 14, 2023

    I just saw this when I googled lid alternatives. I am going to Dollar tree to get poster board to make lids. If my containers stay lightweight, I will be able to stack them. I doubled poster bosrd, glued it together and civered with DT contact paper for makeshift shelf in my closet. I stack my boxes there.

  • Betsy Betsy on Aug 22, 2023

    Hi Cindy: If you sew, you can make tops out of sturdy material like canvas. Just cut it 4" longer and wider, or more, than needed, make a 3" hem all around the edge, leaving 2 open ends, and either run a piece of elastic, 3" shorter than the entire edge, and sew the ends, securing the elastic, closed , or run cording through this channel and leave the ends open and tie it off. You can even use elastic cording and tie that off.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 21, 2023

    Just take that lid-less container out of the mix and use it as an organizer. Rectangular containers work well as dividers in drawers, especially for items, such as small notebooks, that are too large for traditional dividers.

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 21, 2023

    Hi Cindy: You can use them as containers to start seeds in, if they are food safe, you can cover the food with aluminum foil.