Friday, June 17, 2011

Storing Food Containers

Hi there! It's been a while since I posted; we've had a week of Internet Drama. Don't you just love those weeks?? ;-)

Today I opened my cupboard to find a container to put the left-over chicken in, and this is what my "containers basket" looked like. Eeek..

Close-up of the mess-

I keep my "tupperware" or containers for food, in this basket which I LOVE. It has handles so I can easily bring the whole thing out to look for what I need. I also use one of these for my "baking things"-

Anyway- back to the food containers, and the disorder. Aargh!! I hate this! Especially when I'm in a hurry, it's a nightmare. And this isn't even that many containers- I am using quite a few in the fridge at the moment.

I do try to keep on top of keeping my food containers organised, but it's definitely one of those never-ending jobs that needs a little constant attention.

SO- time to organise the containers basket.

One way I do this is to sort out shapes- "like with like". So round ones together, rectangle ones together.

Then stack.

I then put all the lids together into another container (this one is missing a lid so it's not very handy otherwise).

It's pretty obvious that I have more lids than containers- but I can't bear to throw them away in case the containers turn up one day (and Murphy's Law suggests that this would happen should I throw them). The spare lids are also handy for when I'm painting or doing crafty things.

I like this system when I have a lot of containers, because I can still fit them into the basket neatly by stacking matching shapes and "like with like".

Another system I use when I don't have a lot of containers, or I have extra shelf/drawer space, is storing the containers with the lid ON. I really like this system because it cuts out searching for the matching lid! It's not very space-efficient but BOY is it handy.

Here is my basket organised this way, with the lids on the containers.

If I won the lottery and if I didn't care about cutting down on plastics for environmental reasons, I would start afresh with food containers. I would use this wonderful system I heard about from a very organised lady I know. The colour of the lid is specific to the size and shape of the container. BRILLIANT. So for e.g. all small round containers have red lids; all large square containers have blue lids, and so on. Wouldn't that be wonderful- instead of searching through all the lids for the right fit- to be able to quickly pick out the right one by colour?? Love it. But alas, I cannot afford and I doubt our environment can afford, for me to start this system by scratch. I very rarely buy any new containers these days, I just recycle the ones that food comes in or Shane brings a few used ones home from work. And of course from the odd occasion we get an Indian Take-away, I always keep those.

How do you store your food containers? Do you have way more than me and how do you keep on top of it all?


  1. I threw out or put in the sand pit alot of my real tupperware containers, I know the world loves tupperware but it smells and plastic that smells make me scared about the food I am putting in them...I use glass IKEA jars for storage...and left overs I have bought glass containers with plastic lids. They freeze, oven and microwave ( if you really have to) without the lids of course...
    I store the few plastic things I have like you, one for the lids....and all the different shapes inside one mum had a tupperware cupboard that we were too scared to open as kids, as it all fell out on us and then it was our job to put it all back. I vowed NEVER to inflict this on myself or my future you are going to store your baby food...dont forget to check the plastic it is going into... :)

  2. Hi Suzanne! Love your glass system, yes its so important especially for baby's food. Lol at your mums cupboard- I think we could all relate to your memory in some way or another :-)

  3. I too stack mine pretty much like you do except I do not have a handy basket to place them in. I will have to check into that!

  4. Love your basket idea to keep them all neat and tidy! We have 2 places for ours; one is a deep kitchen drawer and the other is the cupboard directly under the sink. The deep cupboard has only the food storage containers that i use for the kids when we travel places. It's the Sistema lock containers. I like them because some of the lids interlock in the same size which is handy. They also stack neatly inside each other which means I stack them together and then lie their lids down next to them. I got them on sale a while ago at Coles - they were worth it for our fam :-) In the cupboard under the sink, I store all our containers that we use for left over food etc, our thermos and travel mugs along with some electrical appliances. With these containers, I stack them with lids on just because they stack better in that space like that. Plus like you said you can find both the container and the lid quickly!
    I loved reading about your system and seeing how it works for you :-)
    Much love!
    Lus x

  5. I store mine almost exactly the way you do. I have a large cardboard box that holds lids, sorted by round, square and rectangle. Most of the smaller containers are sorted by shape and will fit in the same cabinet space as the lids, but some of the larger bowls with lids have to go elsewhere in my kitchen, with large serving bowls.

    While I'm aware there are concerns about using plastic. I use quite a few glass canning jars for food storage, but I do still use some plastic. However, I don't microwave anything in it; I put the food out onto non-plastic plates before I heat it. At this point, it seems to be a "good enough" compromise for me until I can afford and make space for glass containers with lids.

  6. Hi,
    your Tupperware looks great, nice and sorted.
    You've given me inspiration. My Tupperware is all over the place and I'm going to sort it, which is much needed.
    Have a great weekend.

  7. Sarndra, if you saw my container cupboard at the moment, you'd divorce the family and run into the hills. I'll have to clean it up because now I've seen yours, I feel guilty.

  8. My cupboard with containers all awry makes yours look neat, even at its messiest. My Tupperware stays behind three doors over the counter. It is an avalanche when I open it. Then, there is a Tupperware container that holds 4 oz tiny cups for my lunch. Yes, it all real Tupperware. Then, the assortment of Rubbermaid and yogurt containers live elsewhere in my cabinets down low and some up high. I have given up. I just cannot continue to But, congratulations on your organization. But, never, ever, look in my cabinets! It is dangerous and would be soooo embarrassing to me.

  9. I sort and stack in a similar way to you Sarndra but the basket idea is new to me, thanks.

    My main containers are 1L/750ml that I use for freezing meals of soup (for the four of us), pasta sauce etc. Tony screwed a container onto the wall of the cupboard that hold those lids, it makes a big difference.

    It's good to see your post, I began wondering about you yesterday.

  10. Is it just me?
    All my containers are poached by my music man for all sorts of "treasures" in the garage! The straw that broke the camel's storage system was when I found a VERY expensive tupperware lunchbox used as a mini bin to put the lint from the clothes dryer in! I have to keep mine under lock and key, LOL.

  11. Hi Lusi! Thats such a good idea keeping the kids containers separate. I can imagine it would help u alot and make it easier for the little ones to help u too!

    I'm with you, Annie. I put food to be microwaved into a bowl first too. I cant stand the thought of eating melted plastic chemicals :-P

    Hi Monique!
    Hope your sorting went well :) Its quite fun if u have the time. (Is it terribly sad that i think its fun to sort tupperware??)

  12. Hi Rhonda
    Your house is beautifully organised. I love what u did with your tea towels. I wish I had that many to organise- we only have about 8 :-)
    Love to you and Hanno. Xxoxx

  13. Hello Sarndra - just like you just have, evey so often I have to stop mand organise my storage containers again. They live in a cardboard box in my storage cupboard in the living room.

    Now the empty containers are tidy again I just have the other 3 1/2 shelves of the big cupboard to sort out! ( it contains my ample overflow from the incy wee kitchen)

    So delighted to read your blog (I've come here via the amazing Rhonda)

  14. I store 'like with like' however I don't ever use round containers. They take up too much space!

  15. You don't want to see my container cupboard if you thought yours was bad! But in my defence, SJ dries and puts the dishes away, so the chaos is entirely his fault. ;)

  16. Hi Sarndra,
    I use probably the same system which would probably benefit from a big container to put them all in as the cupboard is quite deep and lids get pushed to the back!

    I would also love a colour coded container system (why on Earth do takeaway containers 3mm wider or small??). I feel like I should clean them all out and only have a certain type and size, but I know it would be wasteful.

    (I have the idea one's too, it's so handy!) :)

  17. I used to be a Tupperware lady, only stopped a few months ago, so I went from a few lonely pantry containers to slowly building up my collection over 2 years - not just getting everything (impossible!) but pieces that would help reduce our waste. My husband was "trained" so well, he even requested a few specific sized pieces for when he goes away for work!

    When our son was starting solids, we used the "snack cups" set all the time for his baby food and now are up to 3 sets of 4, because they are handy for so much - taking butter on a picnic, portions yogurt for daycare or work, etc.

    We use no plastic wrap anymore and I know the plastic is safe - though I don't use the microwaveable ones either, because those do have BPA in them - um, and we don't have a microwave :)

    We keep most of it in the deep drawer for it, but it too needs a clean occasionally, though we do have all the lids in one container, which helps. I usually know its time to go grocery shopping when all the freezer and fridge containers start migrating to the drawer after washing - and yup, we'll be low on frozen meat and on veggies!

  18. love your baskets Sarndra....I only have cardboard boxes in place....but they are way over packed...I don't think I have seen the bottom of them for a few years now....I got inspired from one of your posts when doing up someones kitchen draws .....and cleaned out my kitchen drawers....It's not as fancy as the ones you did either, but it sure works better....thanks for the great advice, keep up the good work.

  19. Lovely basket! Although, the material of such basket attracts critters in your cabinet to nest, and would contaminate your kitchen utensils. I suggest using one of those utility or bus boxes used in restaurants. I have one at home. I love it because it’s dishwasher safe! I could just easily place the whole thing in the dishwasher together with the plates. Easy as 1-2-3! ^___^

    Skylar Cox