The Clutter Whisperers
The Terrifying Tupperware Battle!
Tupperware (and other storage containers) can be very frightening. Sometimes they jump out at you when you’re trying to get one out. Other times they tumble down on your head as you open the cabinet door.
And what about the time you heard this maniacal laughter as you tried to find a matching lid to the container you need RIGHT NOW. Very Creepy.
And then - there is the collection of take-out containers that you’ve carefully washed to be used again. Except their lids fell off, and they now lie jumbled in the back of your drawer in an unholy mess. And when did you get so many of them?
I think manufacturers design different sizes and shapes of tupperware just to frustrate us. Really. Why do they do that? Why can’t there be a universal shape where all the lids are the same size? Why, oh why?
Well until that day comes, we are left with what we have. For most of us that means mismatched bottoms and lids, and collections of cheapie take home containers (BTW – DON’T ever use these to reheat food, the plastic tends to leach out).
Here are some ideas on how to Tame the Tupperware Clutter Monster!
First. Take out all of your storage containers and put them on a table. Check all cabinets,
drawers, bedrooms, garages, cars, etc. and get them all. Don’t forget mystery food in the frig and freezer!
Sort. Group them by shapes, sizes and type.
Seek out. Find which lids belong to which containers and put them on.
Orphans. Make a pile of orphans that are missing their tops or bottoms. Then put aside for later.
Review. Look at the ones you have that are fully functional, in good shape and with lids. Ask yourself:
· When do I use this?
· What do I use it for?
· Do I need this frequently or only for special occasions (like sending leftovers home with guests, or to bring something to a party- I’m looking at YOU, cupcake containers!)
· Is this in good shape, or is it bent, scratched up beyond repair, holey, or smelly.
· Is this well-made from a name brand (Rubbermaid, Container Store, Tupperware, OXO)?
· And how much room are you willing to devote to containers?
Discard. Let go of anything that-
· You never have used
· Is in bad shape, smelly or has mystery stains
· Is an orphan (no, you really won’t miss them, you’ve already matched everything up)
Evaluate. Look at how many take-home containers you have and estimate, realistically, how many you think you actually will use. Discard the rest. Be honest!
Decide. How much room you want to spend on storage containers? Where is the most convenient place for the frequently used ones? How many do you estimate to use in a 2-week period?
Is there a magic formula? Unfortunately, no. This is a very subjective decision, based on how many people live in your home, if you need to pack lunches or snacks, and how you use leftovers. And also, what room you have in your kitchen, and how much are you willing to designate for storage.
Now. We’re ready to organize. There are two schools of thought – group bottoms and tops separately, or attached. Personally, if you have different sizes and brands I prefer to attach them and store them whole, eliminating time and frustration trying to find a matching lid.
The down side, is that takes up more room, so you have to decide what your priorities are – ease, or space.
Or bite the bullet and purchase a new set of matching containers, like this one from GlassLock (favored by many professional organizers) or OXO Pops that will serve all of your storage needs.
OK, you may need two kinds – glass ones for frig and freezer storage, and vacuum-sealed ones for the pantry.
You can designate a drawer for storage – utilize dividers if you want to store bottoms and tops separately. Or get a wide container that fits your cabinets, and sub-divide into sections according to size.
Of course there are customized storage solutions for your cabinets and drawers that divide, organize, and offer full accessibility.
Here are some low cost ideas (thank you Budget Decorator), or check out the Cadillac of
shelving, Shelf Genie (actually adds to the value of your home for re-sale).
Special Occasions. Some people have containers for special occasions, like bringing a cake or casserole to a dinner party or picnic.
It’s OK to store these separately from your everyday stuff - those high cabinets over your frig or oven are perfect places for these. Accessible when you need them, out of the way when you don’t.
Bottom Line - you want to be able to choose the containers you need quickly and without stress! And also be able to put them back easily.