Sometime around when I left for college, my mom overhauled her plastic storage container stash. I came home one weekend to find her plastic containers neatly stacked and their lids meticulously organized. Although it took a little more time to keep things organized her way (as opposed to, you know, just tossing them into the cupboard after I pulled them out of the dishwasher), I liked the sense of order and I loved always being able to find the right sized lid every time.
Motivated by her method, I have tried to keep our plastic containers equally organized. Here are 5 things I do to keep the storage container cupboard tidy:
1) Buy only one kind of storage container.
This is really the secret to my organization. Having a dozen different types and sizes of containers makes it hard to establish any kind of organizational system.
Our one kind of storage container is the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid sets. I put these on our wedding registry because I was entranced by the price (less than $20 for 40 pieces) and the fact that the lids were interchangeable with different sizes of containers. I also liked that they were BPA free. It seemed like this style of container would be around for awhile, too, and so I thought I could easily replace my containers as they went missing over the years. Recently I did just that, and now I keep a box with new, extra containers so I can replace containers as they disappear.
For Lena’s snacking needs, we bought the Gerber Graduates Bunch-a-Bowls that are also BPA free and come with lids. Recently I also bought sets of IKEA’s colorful cups, bowls, and plates for Lena (and any young visitors) to use at mealtime. Bonus: these make great stacking toys!
2) Organize all your containers by size.
We have 6 different container sizes but only 3 different lid sizes. I can nest my shorter containers inside deeper ones, which frees up a lot of cupboard space and helps me see at a glance what is in my cupboard.
3) Store your lids by size.
I put my lids inside larger, inexpensive containers that I probably won’t ever need to use. You could also use containers that have lost their lids. I looooove having all my lids organized so that they can’t go slipping and sliding all over the cupboard.
4) Store seasonal or little-used items in the back of the cupboard.
I keep my plastic drink pitchers out of the way right now. One of them stores all our sippy cups that are not in use. In the summer I might rotate these pitchers to the front of the cupboard (or just keep them in the fridge full of limeade!).
5) Keep a stash of giveaway containers.
When you want to send some extra soup or leftovers home with a friend, or when you’re providing a meal for a family, it’s nice to have some containers on hand that you don’t mind never seeing again. Plus, a new mom loves not having to keep track of your Pyrex (or your nice Rubbermaid containers!) to wash and return to you.
I keep my giveaway containers stored on the top shelf of a kitchen cupboard, tucked up next to the teapot we hardly ever use and the cake storage container that, sadly, I use even less frequently than the teapot.
And that’s how I keep my food storage containers organized! I’d love to know if you have a system. Do you have any tips or tricks to share?