Review: Rubbermaid Bento Boxes and Toppers + a giveaway

Bento Boxes and Toppers in paprika, photo

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.

Open Bento Box storing magazines and postcard, photo

Instead of plastic boxes, 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.

Closed Bento Box on a shelf, photo

I tested these storage boxes and trays in the living room, office, and guest room, and I found handy uses for every size box.

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.

Open Bento Box with guest amenities, photo

The small or medium Bento Box makes a fabulous guest amenities tote.

Snag the unused fancy hotel freebies the next time you travel. 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.

Open Bento Box and tray with knitting supplies, photo

The extra large box comes in handy for hiding knitting/crocheting supplies. And the Topper makes a nice size tray.

Bento Box organizing office supplies, photo

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

Bottom of the Bento Boxes. photo

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.

Flexible dividers, photo

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.


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


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.


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.


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!

UPDATE 10/14/12: And the winner of the random drawing is comment #32. Amber wrote: “I LOVE the idea of these boxes!! I just recently went through my apartment and decluttered a TON of stuff. Now that there is less, I have been on the hunt for a fun and pretty way to display the cherished items I kept. I would love to use the medium size boxes for the living room, great to close up and store while cleaning or needing some extra space, but also wonderful to open it out and let my friend browse through the things I love! I also LOVE that there is already built in dividers! I have been looking for something like the smallest box for my bathroom!”

Congratulations, Amber! Thanks to you all for reading and commenting!

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

Crafty Nest Bento Boxes and Toppers, photo

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