Rubbermaid Bento Boxes

I tend to hoard craft supplies. Glue, duct tape, wood, carpet samples, lamp parts—you name it. I keep all of it neatly stored in labeled boxes and bins so I can access everything easily and often.

I’m also kind of anti plastic bins. Partly because they look cheap. Partly because they’re see-through, which makes visual clutter. Partly because plastic storage boxes tend to not be square. They have ridges or are angled on the sides to make them stronger but that diminish the effective storage space.

Large Bento Box & Topper

Instead I use wooden crates, galvanized metal bins, fancy cardboard boxes, etc. But accessing my supplies regularly means wear and tear. Some pretty boxes don’t hold weight or last long. So, when Rubbermaid asked me to review their Bento™ Boxes and Toppers, I agreed because they looked handsome and strong. I tested them in the living room, office, and guest room and found handy uses for every size box.

Watch the video and read the review after the jump!

Storage ideas

The storage possibilities of Bento™ Boxes and Toppers are endless—especially if you have as much craft supplies as I do. Here are a few ways to use them in other parts of your home. For more ideas, visit Rubbermaid’s Adventures in Organization blog.

Small Bento Box

Bento Box guest tray The small or medium Bento Box makes a fabulous guest amenities tote. The next time you travel, snag those fancy hotel freebies. And save the giveaways from your next dentist appointment. Then stock a Bento Box with lotion, shampoo, conditioner, soaps, cotton balls & swabs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. So next time a houseguest checks in to Hotel Chez Moi, they’ll feel like a VIP.

Extra large Bento Box & Topper

Knitting station The extra large box comes in handy for hiding knitting/crocheting supplies. And the Topper makes a nice size tray. (The Oxford Square Anywhere Table and Kenilworth Indoor/Outdoor Hooked Area Rug are from Home Decorators Collection.)

Medium Bento Box & Topper

Desk organizer The medium Bento Box and Topper is a no-brainer as a desktop organizer and letter holder—whether stacked or used separately. (The white stapler, tape dispenser, and scissors are from Poppin.)

The pros

Bento Box feet

Materials and construction The Bento system is made of sturdy particle board wrapped in fabric and elegantly stitched. They’re classy enough to hide in plain sight. No need to relegate them to the closet. And the boxes have built-in feet, which enables them to stack well and also reduces the wear and tear on the box corners.

Bento Flex Dividers

Dividers Bento’s Flex Dividers allow you to customize the inside of the box, creating different organization solutions based on your needs. Flex Dividers pop open when needed, pop back when not, and can be opened or closed separately from the others.

Toppers Bento Toppers™ can be used in two ways: as a tray to contain items you frequently use, or as a lid for the Bento Box by flipping over the Topper. This way you can hide things (such as ongoing projects) that you do not want everyone to see but are needed for easy access.

The cons

Limited colors While “Paprika” (shown in these photos), “Loose Linen,” and “Lombard” (sold at Jo-Ann Stores) are lovely, I’d prefer a dusty turquoise or pale green for my craft room.

Lack of labels As a consummate labeler, I can’t help but note the utter lack of a labeling system. Maybe some kind of clip-on binder label would work.

Price At about $216 for the entire set shown here, Bento Boxes are rather pricey. But considering the quality, beauty, and durability of the product, I think it’s worth it. Like they say, you get what you pay for.

The giveaway

Rubbermaid and Jo-Ann have graciously agreed to give away one set of Bento™ Boxes and Toppers in “Paprika” ($216 value!) to one lucky Crafty Nest reader. To enter, leave a comment here telling us where or how you plan to use your Bento Box set. Sorry, this giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canada residents. The deadline is Friday, October 12, 2012. One commenter will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Sample provided free of charge by Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. and Rubbermaid®. Please see our legal letter for additional details.