Home Project Tip #4: Plastic Containers


Food storage containers defy organization.


What A Mess


The picture says it all.  There’s something about plastic food storage containers (or “Tupperware” as I typically call it) that defies storing it neatly in a cupboard.  I can spend a half hour organizing it one day and as soon as I empty the dishwasher it’s a big jumbled mess the next.  Inevitably, I’m also a missing lid or two.


Never Enough Room


In some ways, it might be better to have a big tub under the counter to hold my containers, but the chances of that happening are zero.  As is, our kitchen already seems too small.  It’s funny, but no matter how many drawers or cupboards there are we could always use a few more.





I’ve tried several magic tricks with this ongoing container issue:  I’ve tried sorting and tossing out mismatched sets.  I’ve tried pawning excess containers off on my kids when they come for dinner.  I’ve tried to get sets of containers that are all the size so they stack better.  So far nothing has worked for any length of time.  Then we went to Costco


Hey, Sweetie, Look At That


Stackable bowls: That's a great idea!

This could work. There’s no way we’ll casually toss these in the cupboard.

While shopping the other day, my wife pointed out an inexpensive (less than $15) set of glass bowls with lids.  These bowls stack neatly inside one another.  Aha, I thought!  There’s no way I’ll ever toss a glass bowl casually in the cupboard.  It would break, right?  Yes, of course, it would.  Thus, I suddenly saw a way to get rid of our old plastic food storage containers.



That Was Easy


Time to sort those plastic food containers.

The only downside we saw here is not all the bowls have lids.

This project went faster that we thought, especially after we came up with one additional idea.  You see, at first each of us kept putting aside certain old “favorites”.  Boy, it’s hard to get rid of stuff, isn’t it?  Anyway, we finally agreed we’d put most of the old Tupperware in a box and hang onto it for a month.  If we haven’t gone back to pull any of it out by then, we’ll donate it to a local charity.


So how’d it go? Take a look at the picture below—we found enough room to put other glass bowls we had on this pullout shelf, plus there was space leftover.  This could work!


This could work.

Even though we kept a few plastic containers our cupboard has much more room.

Some Food For Thought


Here are a few more ideas to consider on food storage:


1) Many people believe we should no longer use plastic in the microwave as it contains certain chemicals that may leach out during cooking and which may be harmful to humans.  If you’ve been worried about this, it may not be as bad as you were originally told it was, at least, according to this article at Harvard.edu.  However, to be sure to minimize any risk, you can always use a microwave-safe glass bowl, plate or container instead.

2) If you have a small amount of food, a plastic zip-lock storage bag may actually do a better job of keeping it fresh.  That’s because you can eliminate the excess air in the bag as you zip it up.  However, don’t microwave food in a plastic storage bag.  Again, refer to the above linked article for more information.

3) I did run across another option that may be worth trying if you don’t want to give up on plastic.  There’s a product available called The Swirl Around Carousel Organizer which is available at companies like Amazon.com for just under $20.  You may have also seen this one advertised on television.  Other similar systems are The Smart Spin Storage System and the Handy Gourmet Swirl Around Storage System.  These products basically consist of a “lazy Susan” with separate places to store containers and lids.  This concept appears to hold promise, so if you have tried any of these products and either like or dislike them, please let our readers know.


Love To Hear From You


We hope you enjoyed today’s tip.  If you have a suggestion for our readers for storing leftover food or for organizing your food containers we’d love to hear it. 

Want to make your cupboard space more efficient?  Look for the next Home Project Tip in our series: Installing a cabinet pull-out.

For a green oven cleaning alternative read:
Home Project Tip #3: Cleaning The Oven


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