I’m Purging My Food Storage Containers

posted by Andrea | 07/26/2011
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I’ve wanted to write a post about getting rid of old, nasty, food storage containers for several weeks now — but I figured that I should probably “practice what I preach” before I preach it!!

And since my food storage containers were getting  a little bit out of control, I decided to quickly tackle that project this weekend — and honestly, it only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish {including the time I spent taking pictures!} So you can totally do this!!!!

If your food storage containers are anything like mine, then they magically multiply without your knowledge. I think they breed with each other when the doors are closed… and then when I open the doors, I see a scary mess of storage containers and lids.

Sound familiar?

The picture above is after I pulled everything out of my cabinet and paired similar containers together. Then I purged anything that didn’t meet my criteria below…

A Few Reasons To Purge Your Food Storage Containers:

1. They don’t have a lid — or the lid doesn’t fit tightly

2. They are chipped, broken, melted, stained, or damaged in some way

3. They are actually disposable containers you’ve been using for 4 years :)

4. They are old Cool Whip, sour cream, butter, or cottage cheese containers

5. They don’t stack or “nest” nicely inside  each other

6. They are too big or small and never seem to get used

While I can honestly say that I did not have any storage containers that fell under #1, #3, or #4, I definitely had a few containers to get rid of.

Below are the only containers I kept — aren’t you proud of me!

Tips for Organizing Your Food Storage Containers::

1. Keep ONLY what you need and use. Period!

2. Store larger, seasonal containers in the basement or on a top shelf.

3. Remember that squares and rectangles take up less space than circles

4. Group smaller containers inside of shoe boxes or other larger storage containers {see picture above}

5. Keep all the lids in a separate container — this will make them easier to find and keep organized.

6. Store smaller containers towards the front and larger containers towards the back


My Before and After Transformation:

After about 30 minutes of sorting, sifting, and purging — this is what I accomplished.

I know it’s not a HUGE transformation {and the lighting was horrible for taking pictures} but it has seriously made such a difference when we’re searching for food storage containers. Plus, it’s nice not to have anything fall out when I open the doors!

So, if you’re looking for a quick, simple project to tackle this week, maybe you should take a look at your food storage containers.

What are your best tips for containing your container clutter?

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  1. Christie


    Hi Andrea!

    A while back, I accidentally requested your personal account on Facebook before I realized you had a Simple Organized Living one.

    I’ve just realized that you have your security settings set so that, even if you haven’t accepted someone’s request, certain things you do show up in their newsfeeds. It just told me about people you are now “friends with.”

    Just thought you’d be interested to know this in case you want to change the security setting!


  2. kama


    I am about to clean out my cabinet. I just ordered some new Rubbermaid containers when they were on sale from WM the other day. We don’t use containers all that often really, so we really don’t need the 100 or so containers we have!! 😉 Just the essentials and the rest will be used in the “classroom” to help with organization in there possibly.


    Andrea Reply:

    You’ll love having all the same containers! And glad to hear you have found a way to reuse your old containers too!


  3. joelyne


    fabulous! love it!


  4. Everything in its place (and time) | Smart Living Blog


    […] Plastic food-storage containers are something with absolutely zero sentimental value, so why is it that they’re so hard to part with? I have spent hours reorganizing my cabinets to only find them messy again within 1 week – frustrating. Andrea Dekker says she finally bit the bullet and organized her collection of plastic containers in 30 minutes flat. Her before-and-after shots are pretty inspiring, and I like her six tips for making the most of your storage space. (Simple Organized Living) […]

  5. Molly @ Duchess of Fork


    I once tried to number each piece (lid 1 corresponds with bottom 1), but that didn’t work out so well…the numbers got washed off over time, or pieces would miraculously go missing.


  6. Debbie Siegel


    The only containers I use are this made by Rubbermaid. The tops click on the bottoms for easy storage. They go from freezer to refrigerator to dishwasher to cabinet.
    I have a cabinet specifically for those items. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t keep it. If I take something home from a restaurant I finish the food and make sure to place it in the re-cycle bin afterward.

    Summertime is best for taking time to clean out and throw away things I haven’t used during the year. We have lived in the same home for thirty years. I don’t want my daughters to be responsible for going through our clutter I put off getting rid of.

    Secretly, my husband told me he threw out old receipts I swore I was going to get to, “I knew you would never miss them.” When you come down right down to it, all the scraps of paper get shoved in a draw or the bottom of a purse. Get yourself a smart phone and keep an electronic version of a note pad. You’ll never lose that quick shopping list, must have new book title, or medical record you need at a moment’s notice. Be sure to password your phone for those items meant for your eyes only.


  7. sharon


    Love this post, my cabinet is so messy and yes containers have been known to slide out! I am going to do this project today…and I have been slowly moving to mostly glass containers anyway as plastic for microwave heating is unsafe…this motivates me to do it a bit quicker!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yay — good luck. Hope your organizing project was a success!!


  8. Bev


    You’ve inspired me to get to work on cleaning out my containers too. I’ve been wanting to replace some of my old plastic stuff with glass containers. I’ve gotta stop procrastinating and just do it!


  9. Sunday Link Love #16 » Snob on a Budget


    […] Simple Organized Living makes  great suggestions on how to organize your food storage containers.   […]

  10. L.L.


    Do u know of a good place for *cheaper* (we are both unemployed) glass container;s? I love pyrex but it seems like I can’t find them anymore!


  11. Eva


    I love the plastic containers in a drawer. It really works better than a shelf. And keeping unbreakables low and breakable things on high shelves works for our family with little ones:)


  12. Cindy


    I love the containers from the deli…1 cup 2 cup & 4 cup rounds & best of all is 1 lid fits all sizes! Purchase in 25 pkg sizes from GFS & I have enough to share. I bring extras to Thanksgiving get togethers & it’s easy to divvy up leftovers!


  13. Jeanne


    Just a quick note on throwing out containers….
    If the container is something you use often and is either missing a part, or is damaged and is Tupperware, contact your local consultant or Tupperware directly and you can get a replacement part, or if the damage is covered under warranty (lifetime warranty for Tupperware) you can either get a credit for new Tupperware or a comparable replacement for free. It’s worth the call!
    Also on getting storage containers cheap, when I go consignment shopping I always keep a look out for these storage gems. They always seem to come in handy for kits for the kids.