Best Ways to Organize Your Food Storage Containers

'Produce Saver & Berries' photo (c) 2005, Rubbermaid Products - license: in a series on food storage containers.

Part I: Introduction to Food Storage Containers 

Part II: Choosing the Best Shape for Freshness and Convenience.

Most of us have a messy drawer or cabinet—or two or three–devoted to plastic storage containers.  Plastic containers are light and slide around easily. The different sizes and shapes can be hard to tell apart. Worst of all are the lids, that seem to disappear altogether.

Here are my favorite tips for keeping storage containers from taking over your kitchen:

  • Stick to a few sizes and shapes.  Most containers are a translucent and are hard to tell apart and find the right cover. Instead of buying a matching set with different sized containers, stick to a few containers of each size, in a unique style and color. A set with containers of different sizes, but identically sized covers, works for some.
  • Avoid large storage containers. They are usually not necessary for storing leftovers, since the contents will take a lot of time to freeze and defrost. And they take up room in your refrigerator or cabinet.
  • Choose containers that stack. This saves a considerable amount of space.
  • Use a permanent marker to label matching containers and lids, or if the containers are meant for particular items. You might know which is the sugar container, but your family won’t.
  • Store lids separately from the matching containers. You can stack them on their ends in a dishrack, napkin holder, or box.
  • Be vigilant about getting rid of containers that are smelly, badly scratched, missing a cover or don’t close properly.
  • Keep a couple of old containers that you can spare, like ones used to store bought foods. Use these instead of disposables ones when bringing food to neighbors, like someone who just had a baby.
  • Recycle old containers for storing small items like socks, makeup, or medicines.

What tips can you share for organizing your storage containers?

Part I: Introduction to Food Storage Containers 

Part II: Choosing the Best Shape for Freshness and Convenience.

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  1. Thanks for the interesting tips. Would be nice to see tips on storing jars and containers that come with foods you buy like large-size yogurt. How to choose which ones to keep, how to store, etc.

  2. Mrs Sparkles says

    Among my containers: 3 sizes of container with a common-sized cover. As the contents of the container decrease, I switch down to smaller size container (keeping the cover), saving space in the cupboard or refrigerator.
    Rectangular shapes use the space as efficiently as possible. Choose containers that stack efficiently – in my system, two of the smallest containers fit side-by-side on the medium sized one and two of the medium sized one fit side-by-side on the largest.