General Purpose Tools

Monoflo Nestable Totes


Heavy duty storage totes

These Monoflo storage containers, most commonly seen in the back of grocery store delivery trucks, are the best solution I’ve found for moving, shipping, and storing stuff. Every other system I’ve used previously had a fatal flaw. In particular, the Rubbermaid and Sterilite totes I’ve tried all cracked, failed to stack well, and had lids (when I could find them) that never seemed to fit properly (especially if you came close to loading them to full capacity).

Manufactured here in the USA by Monoflo, a company that specializes in industrial storage and delivery solutions, these totes are really well made and far superior. Originally designed for light industry, they work just as well in domestic settings.

I own ten of the 16-gallon nestable totes. Five went to a project that required the distribution of kits filled with educational materials to local schools, and the other five I use at home for storage. While they aren’t exactly a sight for sore eyes (I keep them tucked away when at home), everything else about them sings with utility.

They stack efficiently and safely (I’ve stacked all ten with weight inside and they barely budge when shoved). When empty, the two halves of the attached lid fall to the side allowing the containers to nest perfectly. They have reinforced holes moulded into the handles for zip ties that secure the lids shut when needed. Unlike others I’ve tried these crates don’t buckle or crack when moving (I’ve filled one with as much water as I and a friend could lift, and it held fast). And despite being made of a hard plastic they are fairly comfortable to carry.

Speaking of which, they’re made out of a high-density polyethylene resin (reminiscent of milk crates) that is far sturdier than alternatives like Rubbermaid. A testament to their durability came when I shipped them across country via FedEx (the heaviest weighing 80-lbs) and everyone arrived without failure; no cracks, chips, or broken hinges, despite what was clearly rough handling over a 3,000 mile journey.
monoflo lid.jpeg
Not everybody will love the criss-cross “multi-fingered” lids, but I find that they work well, stay closed when moving, and create a uniform flat surface for stacking. The biggest problem emerges when trying to access anything when the crates are stacked.

Overall, I have found the 16-gallon size to be perfect for my needs. Anymore, and they’d be so big I wouldn’t be able to move them myself when fully loaded. And while they aren’t the cheapest storage solution around at $15 a piece, I know they will last far longer than all the others I’ve tried. Highly recommended.

-- Oliver Hulland 12/5/11

(I believe they are eligible for a volume-discount and free ship-to-store at Ace Hardware. And check out this PDF for more information and sizing. --OH — editors)