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How to organize plastic storage containers

Controlling container chaos
Controlling container chaos

At this time of the year, we tend to spend less time in the kitchen and more time out and about. Instead of cooking on the hot stove and in the oven, Baltimore area residents are busy outside cooking on their barbeque grills, having picnics, or eating casual meals that usually do not require using any kitchen appliances. However, this doesn’t mean that the kitchen should be ignored during late spring and summer. On the contrary, this is the ideal time to go through some of your cabinets and pantry items to declutter and organize.

One of the most challenging items to keep organized in the kitchen is plastic food storage containers. Homeowners tend to just toss these inside a cabinet or drawer, which results in a jumbled mess. Lids go missing, containers get stained and warped, yet the items are kept anyway.

Some of the things to think about when decluttering the storage space for plastic food containers is frequency of use, condition of the item, and how many of each item is needed.

Organizing plastic food containers can be a challenge, especially if kitchen cabinet space is at a premium. Here are some organizing ideas to help organize plastic food storage containers:

  1. Stack all lids together inside a larger open clear container, or store-bought lid organizer.
  2. Store lids inside large gallon sized storage bags and stand upright. Flat bottom storage bags would work well for this option.
  3. Store lids inside a lid holder that is attached to the inside of your cabinet door, or sits securely on the cabinet shelf.
  4. Nest containers, whenever possible and train other family members to do the same.
  5. Donate the containers that you’re not using. Try not to keep more containers than you have the space for.
  6. If you have a deep drawer, try storing inside the drawer instead of on a shelf.
  7. Avoid storing containers too high. You will have more difficulty keeping them organized if they are not visible and within reach.
  8. Avoid using random containers, like margarine tubs and containers from take-out restaurants, because you will eventually run out of space, unless you create a new habit to purge regularly.
  9. Go through your storage containers and lids quarterly or twice a year, and get rid of what you don’t need.

During your decluttering and purging session, if you decide to start fresh and purchase a new set of storage containers, look for plastic storage containers that are BPA-free (Bisphenol A). It has been proven that BPA plastic is harmful when exposed to heat because the plastic melts into the food. Also, consider glass storage containers, like Pyrex glass storage with BPA-free lids. Local Baltimore are stores that sell BPA-free food storage containers include IKEA, Bed, Bath & Beyond and smaller kitchen specialty stores.

Finally, even though the spring cleaning season is coming to an end, it’s a good idea to continue the process of purging and organizing throughout the year. Getting into the habit of continually going through your stuff, getting rid of what you’re not using and making room for new things, will to keep the clutter at bay.

For more information:

IKEA’s Pruta BPA-free food storage containers

Pyrex glass food storage containers

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Bisphenol A (BPA) Information for Parents

CDC Bisphenol A (BPA) fact sheet

NIH Bisphenol A (BPA) fact sheet

Learn more about BPA, from Rubbermaid


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