By sorting like items together, I can easily see and grab the small portable bins that I need. Seeing everything I need makes it easy to change up the look from last year without having to dig through huge totes or boxes.
Last January I had a few clear bins on hand and bought a bunch more at a half price sale. Over the summer I picked up a few more so I will have all my small pieces in bins this January.
This system works for us partly because we have a full finished basement with a large storage room. I'm not sure you would be wanting to haul shoebox size bins from a remote garage if that is your storage space :)