Taming Your Plastic Container Jungle

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

Ever open your kitchen cabinet to get a container for your leftovers and 15 plastic lids and bins come tumbling onto your counter? It’s not fun, especially when your leftover containers are stored next to your sink. Mine used to fall on my dirty dishes. I couldn’t find the right container, and I had more dishes to do. Oh, this was gonna’ stop!

What got me in trouble was buying container sets. One package gives you 4 to 6 sizes of containers for less than the cost of buying the pieces separately. You can save money this way, but most package sets don’t stack well in your cabinets. Also, the next time a set is purchased, the sizes may have changed or another company has a better selection. Now you are up to 8 or more sizes that must be stored in your cabinets, plus all the oddball containers you have from when people send you things.

Here’s how to beat storage container clutter.

  1. Pick 2-3 container sizes and give away the rest. Companies offer many sizes, but they aren’t necessary. Choose a few you use, and stick to them. Limiting your sizes makes it easy to find a lid and remember what you have.
  2. Be sure each same-size container can stack inside itself. I prefer square/rectangular containers over round ones to maximize space, but not all are stackable.
  3. Buy enough containers the first-time around. Nothing is more frustrating than finding containers you love, then realizing the company no longer sells that style.
  4. You may find you need different containers for freezing and reheating. That’s fine. Just apply tips 1-3 to your selections, and you’ll be in great shape. In my cabinet I have 3 sizes of freezer containers (large, medium, and liquid), 2 sizes of Pyrex storage bowls for reheating, and 2 sizes of plastic refrigerator containers. That’s it.  This covers all my family’s needs.

If your kitchen containers are a plastic jungle, try taming that space with some container streamlining.

Simplicity Tip of the Day: Just because it’s a good deal, doesn’t mean it’s useful. Know what you need and eliminate the rest.

This entry was posted in Kitchen Tips, Organizing and De-Cluttering and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Taming Your Plastic Container Jungle

  1. Great idea Cynthia! We tend to have that problem. We’ll pull out a container that works for the amount we need to store in the fridge or freezer and then can’t find a lid that fits it because we have so many lids of various sizes. Some go with containers we’ve gotten rid of.

    One thing I might add: giving away the containers or lids that you no longer need to a non-profit agency in the community will always be appreciated as they always have need of these things.

  2. C.C. Owens says:

    Great idea about the non-profit agency, Ellen. I know the Humane Society loves to receive old towels. Are there non-profits you know that particularly like receiving storage containers?

  3. Cathy Baker says:

    Have you been peeking in my kitchen cabinets? Great advice — once again. 🙂

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