If you have no idea how to organise your food storage containers, and your Tupperware cupboard or drawer is out of control, then these tips from Peter Walsh will help.
Whenever I work with someone whose kitchen is disorganised, the first area I tackle is the area that holds all of the plastic food storage containers.
You know what I’m referring to: Those plastic takeaways or cheap plastic food storage containers, the mismatched sets you use to store leftovers, the seemingly endless supply of plastic drink bottles and whatever else spills out of the ‘plastics drawer’ in your kitchen that you hate to open.
If you can relate, then today’s the day to tackle that one specific area of your kitchen and get those plastic food storage containers back under control.
1. Let go of what you don’t need or use
Accept the fact that you have to get rid of a lot of containers.
Yes, even if you’ve hardly ever used them. The truth is that most people have far too many food storage containers than they’ll ever need.
The first step to dealing with the clutter is to take stock of what’s there and ditch what you don’t need.
That includes anything you’ve never used, anything that’s broken or discoloured or has lost its shape, anything that’s missing a lid or is from a set you no longer need – or worse, any piece that’s taken on some kind of strange colour or smell! And, those takeaway containers can go (there’s more on that below).
2. Try a consistent look
Once you’ve whittled down the amount of Tupperware you own, group what’s left into like-sized items.
I’m a big fan of sticking with just one type of system for food storage products. While it might mean an initial investment, having a consistent look and one type of storage container will make your life simpler and easier.
Things just go together more easily. Containers nest, lids match, colours look alike.
Having different brands and different sized lids and containers makes it a frustrating exercise to get that area organised or to easily find what you need.
Once you’ve decided which type to keep – or which style to invest in – let the rest go to an opp shop or the recycle bin.
3. Create a system
Now, before you just throw the good stuff back into the cabinet, rummage around your house for some things that you can repurpose to use as a new organising system for your plastic food storage containers. Some of my favourite ideas are the most simple and effective.
Store items vertically
Vertical storage helps, so find an old dish drying rack, or invest in an adjustable drawer divider, to store the lids.
Vertically storing lids in a row makes them easy to see and easy to access; you don’t need to upset the entire pile just to take a medium-sized lid, for example. Also, a rack is easy to pull out of a cabinet and put back in.
Magazine holders are great for storing lids as well. They’re also great for things like plastic water bottles and odd sized containers.
Keep like things together
Keeping like items together immediately creates order and helps you to quickly and easily locate what you’re looking for.
Use bins to create order
Any kind of storage bin can work great for your tupperware drawer or cupboard.
Most people think of bins for their clothes (socks, undies, scarves, etc.). But, bins that easily slide in and out of a kitchen cabinet or can be placed easily in a drawer make it really easy to find the exact plastic container you’re after.
Bins also help you keep a limit to the number of storage items you have.
Get as fancy as you wish
If you want to get super fancy, you can invest in a set of adjustable drawer dividers. With these, you can turn any drawer into separate compartments ready to take on any sized plastic containers or lids.
Again, the great thing about these is that you’ll know where every item lives; and, by establishing clear limits, you’ll be less likely to hold onto items that just don’t fit.
4. Avoid takeaway plastic containers
Finally, a note about all of those containers you’re keeping from takeaway meals or the grocery store… stop doing that.
And get rid of the ones you already have. Recycling them is actually better for the planet than it is for you to keep them.
Look, if these are your only plastic storage containers then I might give you a pass, but an inexpensive set of food storage containers (I prefer glass over plastic) is a small investment for an organised space.
And let’s be honest – they look a lot better than those ugly and cheap clear plastic containers that held your sushi takeaway. Yes, they’re perfectly good for your child’s art projects (keep a few for that, but ONLY a few). Besides that, do me and the planet a favour and start getting into the habit of recycling them
See more: How to plan your kitchen
Keeping food storage containers and Tupperware clean
What do you do with leftover Bolognese? You store it in your Tupperware containers. But when the dreaded task of washing out those horrible stains comes around, it becomes the bane of your existence.
If you love leftovers (who doesn’t?) then you’ll want to keep your food containers odour-free and sparkly clean. There are loads of hacks to help your Tupperware situation, including scrubbing your containers with a toothbrush.
Originally published as How to organise tupperware and food storage containers by Peter Walsh. Author at realestate.com.au.