Product Type: Really Useful Products household products
Newest Review: ... to use. They don't dent or crack easily, you can barely damage the plastic by hitting it or smacking it, and dropping them does very li... more
Does Exactly What It Says On The Box
Really Useful Boxes
Member Name: collingwood21
Really Useful Boxes
Advantages: Durable, Stackable, Strong, Huge choice of sizes, Secure lids, Designed with users in mind
Disadvantages: The handles to clip the lids on can be a bit stiff at first
The basic idea behind Really Useful Boxes was to produce a range of plastic boxes that were created from the user's viewpoint; they claim to be the first company that manufactured plastic boxes from this perspective. It all started back in 1999, when an accountant at a plastics company wanted strong, transparent, stacking boxes to archive his records in, but couldn't find anything suitable. Being a resourceful chap, he instead designed the sort of box that he wanted to fill the gap in the market. This initial idea has since expanded into the World's largest range of such boxes, currently standing at 46 sizes of box between 0.2 litres (suggested for business cards, tacks, pins and paper clips) up to the enormous 84 litre box (suggested for storage of clothes, blankets, duvets, etc), and including extra strong and collapsible versions of some of the larger models. The range regularly has new sizes, shapes and innovations added to it.
But what is so great about these boxes? Well, the description I gave above holds the key - they don't just produce boxes, they produce boxes with a specific user purpose in mind. For example, the 3 litre and 18 litre sizes are the perfect size to stack CDs in; the 4 litre is A4 sized; the 22 litre holds exactly 22 DVDs; the 2.1 litre works as a card index, and the 24 litre box is intended to take foolscap suspension files. They are also really strong. The promotional literature boldly states that they will take " a person's weight", and while I don't feel brave enough to do a practical test of this, they did withstand my house move with no sign of damage to them or their contents, despite having a load of other heavy objects piled on top of them in the removal van. The next good thing is that they have separate lock-on lids, and are stackable (with or without lids), which makes them amazingly versatile and the ideal thing for the storage, archiving and movement of goods. I had actually first come across Really Useful Boxes when I worked in museums; the quality, durability and range of sizes made them great for the long-term storage and protection of artefacts in museum stores, and the fact they were transparent meant you could seen what was in the box without having to constantly move them around, open boxes up, and handle delicate objects. The same features meant they quickly sprang to mind when I was considering how best to pack up my things to move house.
Although the full range of Really Useful Boxes is available online and at a 10% discount from the recommended retail price, I unfortunately had to do things at short notice - which meant offline shopping. One of the major retailers of the boxes is Staples, and my nearest branch happened to stock a good selection of sizes (although at what I now realise were uncompetitive prices). After careful consideration of (a) how much crap I had to pack, and (b) how many boxes would fit into my little car, I decided upon three 5 litre boxes (which cost around £4 each) for loose stationery and other odds and ends, two 18 litre boxes for our CD collection (around £9 each), and three huge 42 litre boxes for kitchen items and other breakables (about £16 each). This would have come to a much more reasonable £58.40 including delivery from the Really Useful Products website (www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk), so I would recommend using that as a source of these boxes in future - you even get to choose different colours if you want something funkier or a dark colour to protect light sensitive objects inside the box. Had I the luxury of time or a bigger car I would have bought more, as the packing process proved them to be far superior to other boxes we used. Other (cheaper) plastic boxes we had broke, chipped or dented en route (though fortunately the books they held survived unscathed), while the cardboard boxes were in no real state to be used again, so proved to be expensive in relation to the time span of their use.
The Really Useful CD boxes were the first ones to be tried out. Being specifically designed for this purpose meant that packing became a doddle; I knew exactly what was going into the boxes, knew they would fit perfectly, and when the box was full you simply use the handles to lock the lids securely onto the boxes. The handles were a bit stiff at first (especially on the bigger boxes), but this also meant that the lids were never going to come loose in transit. The smaller boxes proved ideal for taking up the sorts of odds and ends you might otherwise lose during a move, and the large boxes protected delicate objects such as our cups and glasses perfectly. One of the large boxes has since been transformed into a recycling box after unpacking, while the others store things we don't use very often (like camping gear) in our store cupboard, so they will be getting ongoing use over the next few years.
I think these boxes are brilliant and really deserve the name Really Useful Boxes! Although they were quite a high initial expense, the extended and varying use of them means I think I will get long-term good value, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy more the next time I have to move house or store goods.
Other suppliers: Staples (www.staples.co.uk), Ryman (www.ryman.co.uk), Hobby Craft (www.hobbycraft.co.uk), Argos (www.argos.co.uk), and Woolworths (www.woolworths.co.uk).
Summary: As it says - they are Really Useful Boxes!