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These food storage containers are driving me crazy!

You know the containers I'm talking about -- they come in all shapes and sizes, Glad, Rubbermaid, Ziploc and others. They're supposedly priced so as to be disposable, or of limited use, but I can't bring myself to toss them. But where/how to store them is an ongoing challenge. There are a gazillion containers and just as many lids, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's a lid for every container, or vice versa. The storm-related power outage we experienced last week left me having to toss the contents of containers full of stuff from the freezers, so now I have more containers than I know what to do with.

Does anyone have a system for storing these containers? Where do you keep them? What do you do with them when they overrun their designated spaces? If I don't find a solution soon, I may just selectively toss them out. Help!

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  1. I keep them in a big lower cupboard that doesn't seem to work well for anything except a jumble of containers and my large wooden salad bowl. Once a month, I sort through them all. Any lids and containers that don't have mates get moved to the kids' play kitchen or (depending on size) the drawer where I keep their plastic plates and bowls. From there they migrate outside to the sandbox, garden, etc.

    Then whenever we do yard cleanup, the ones outside get tossed.

    If you don't want to throw them out, you might contact a local preschool, daycare, or kindergarten. They can re-purpose the widow plastic containers into all sorts of things!

    1. I have made the decision to only buy two sizes/shapes--round with screw on lid and rectangular with snap on lid. That way there is no confusion about what goes with what. I also now store them with their lids on and that has ended the clutter.....any more than will fit in the deep drawer is more than I need.

      16 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        +1.... I buy 3 sizes that are different shapes. Long rectangle, small bowl and large square. No more lid confusion.

        1. re: escondido123

          I second this - store them with their lids on, and don't keep more than will fit. I keep about 6 at any one time and recycle the rest. I call the drawer they are in The Tupperware Ghetto - it can be a really rough neighborhood....

          1. re: Lotsofscots

            THERE is the solution -- "...and don't keep more than will fit. I keep about 6 at any one time..."

            But then, what do I do when I make a huge pot of chicken stock and need about a dozen pint-size containers? Answer: I go out and buy more containers!

            1. re: CindyJ

              I use canning jars for freezing things like stock. These plastic containers will crack and break if you freeze them a couple of times. I know they are free, but they may not be the best choice for storage.
              I had to clean out my mother's estate this last summer. Imagine hundreds of plastic containers crammed into every nook and cranny of her cupboards, plastic clamshell packs from any baked good she purchased, and foam meat trays all neatly washed and dried. Toss the stuff, recycle it, purchase from the bulk bins to avoid purchasing too much packaging that you just can't throw away, otherwise your children will be moaning to complete strangers that her mother saved garbage!

              1. re: Lotsofscots

                I don't save the free containers from salad bars, olive bars, etc. They go right into the recycling bin.

                I use canning jars in various sizes for storing dry pantry items, but not for freezing. I also buy the screw-on plastic lids, both wide mouth and regular mouth, to use in place of the two-piece lids that come with the jars. I have my Mason jars pretty much under control. It's the plastic ones I'm struggling with for now.

                1. re: Lotsofscots

                  reminds me of cleaning out my mom's house; she had saved the "dinnerware" from the first plane ride she ever took: cup and saucer, dinner plate; and used in microwave,,,i guess living through the Depression makes one wary of throwing things out!

                  1. re: betsydiver

                    Ah............but did she have the drawer that had old bag ties, bread tabs,bits of string, and other almost useless stuff? I swear, some of those bread tabs were probably antiques!

                    And Cindy, I have long since given up on the containers that are stashed in a lower drawer. Making itt even more frustrating is that it seems some of the manufacturers altered their molds at some point and tops don't always fit tight! The Recycle bin in Popcopson is looking better and better

                2. re: CindyJ

                  Ball makes freezer "jars" that are actually freezer safe plastic. They are nicely weighted and the lids screw on. I get mine at the local grocery store. Available in a variety of sizes.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    I try to stick to one brand. I nest them and store the lids like files in a box beside the stack.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      i reduce the stock, portion out into ziploc freezer bags, and freeze the stock flat.

                    2. re: escondido123

                      I like my containers, but not so much that I'm willing to give them a drawer of their own. And, how in the world do you store them with their lids on? If I did that, I'd need an entire shelf-lined walk-in closet.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        Nest all the containers of the same size together, then stack their matching lids on top. It's the only way I can get mine to behave!

                        1. re: iluvcookies

                          I can see that part of my problem is that I've acquired a collection of too many different brands. Similar shapes and sizes but not compatible with each other. That was one of the things I liked about Tupperware, back when I was buying Tupperware -- the same lid would fit several different containers.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Some of the Ziploc lids fit several of their containers... I think the square ones fit all the squares in their line.
                            I weed out my collection a few times a year, tossing the tomato-stained ones and the "misfits" that I acquired from my mom or friends.

                      2. I store them in the recycling bin. Problem solved. No reason to keep something you don't use.

                        1. I feel your pain. I threw out the whole affair more than once. I have resolved to buying only one brand.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: cleobeach

                            I put a lauindry tote in the bottom corner cabinet. Try to keep lids on, but if I find a lid/bottom seperate I date it...After 12 months I take it to goodwill...

                            1. re: annfaulkner

                              I basically buy one brand. Glad, because their tops stick together. I date them and throw them away a year later. Problem is, I am having problems finding the Glad containers in myocal stores. Kroger is carrying more of their own brand and few of the other brands. Walmart just does not have many Glad brand ones. Don't know why.

                            2. re: cleobeach

                              Exactly. Whole colelction and the different sizes tend to stack well into each other. But I switch to this a few years ago when I needed to replace all my old plastic ware.

                            3. First of all, find a brand you like and stick with it. That's the only way you know the large bowl lids really will fit the large bowls.

                              Weed out and recycle the ones you're rejecting.

                              For the ones you are keeping, check for stains, split lids (these containers get very brittle and break when frozen if you're not super careful) and other evidence of wear. Toss out the worn or damaged ones.

                              Now start matching lids to bowls. Recycle the extras. Do not keep any unmated pieces. You will not use them.

                              Once you've got your happily wed sets, stack the bowls one inside the other. Stack like with like, keeping the lids all in one pile, largest on the bottom. Straighten this drawer every week or two.

                              (If you really want to be anal, use a sharpie and number each bowl and lid, making sure to match them every time you use them.)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Isolda

                                You sound like a good organizer, Isolda. Would you like to come over and help me whittle down my various collections of seldom-used items?