Sterilite storage tubs

For several years we’ve been buying the 18-gallon Sterilite plastic storage totes. They’ve offered the same grey tubs (item #1815) for years, and we’ve bought dozens of them. They sell for around $4 and are roughly 24 inches long, 18 inches wide, and exactly 15-3/8 inches tall. Because of this de facto standardization, I’ve built wooden shelves in my garage, in the basement and in most of our closets specifically sized for these tubs, with 16 inch spacing between the shelves for optimal storage efficiency. Almost everything we store is in these tubs.

About a week ago, I bought a bunch more since we’re doing some organizing. Tonight I went to put a tub of out-of-season clothes on one of the shelves and got a nasty surprise: the tubs have been slightly redesigned and are 3/4 of an inch taller. The lid is identical to the old model, and the stated capacity is still 18 gallons, but it’s now taller than my shelves. D’oh…

I’ve got a lot of shelves built for these tubs, probably about 40 tubs of storage capacity. My choices are to take the new tubs back and HOPE to find some (read: a lifetime supply) of the old ones, or do a ton of shelf rebuilding. I checked on Walmart’s website, and there are still some in stock, but not within 50 miles. Shipping is a possibility, but it’s a little pricey.

I guess there is a third choice: a grassroots effort to get Sterilite to return to the old design. Hopefully this inconsequential blog post, along with the nearly dozen people who will likely read it, will do the trick…

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  1. Update: oddly enough, I discovered that the tubs I bought weren’t all from the same mold… The brown ones and white ones were the new style, but surprisingly the dark blue ones were the old (correct) style. I wish I would have noticed that before ordering some from Walmart’s website. There is no telling when the size will change again, though, so I’m stocking up.

  2. Ok, another update. I took the “wrong” tubs back to Walmart tonight, and then I discovered that their entire stock, including the brown ones, were the right size, good old model 1815.

    So, for a while they had some mixed stock of a slightly different size (model 1731), but now they’re back to the old model. Basically, that means I blew $20 on shipping for no reason.

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