Fabulous 15 Minute Organizing Fix: Corral Food Storage Containers

posted by Jennifer McClure on January 31, 2014 4 Comments

Fabulous 15 Minute Organizing Fixes: a blog series from simplify 101

This week, we put the finishing touches on our self-paced Organize Your Kitchen class to offer it on-demand! Revisiting all that great content inspired me to take action in my own kitchen. I’m happy to say the organizing systems I created for my kitchen still work great! (Thanks, Aby!) But like any space, ongoing “tweaks” were needed. So I decided on a Fabulous 15 Minute Organizing Fix with my food storage containers, which were about to drive everyone in my family crazy.

A while back, I decided to use Aby’s approach of organizing food storage containers with the lids on. I really like it this way! Sadly, the rest of my family couldn’t adapt. The result was a big old mess of some stacked, some nested, and some toppling over onto the floor every time the cabinet was opened. Every. Time. I tried it for well over a year. Every so often I’d have a “gentle talk” with my family. Other times I’d open the cabinet and have a little freak-out while I put all the lids back on the containers and stacked them nicely and neatly. I tell you this because it brings up two very important points when it comes to organizing in real life.

  • One size does not fit all. We say that a lot around simplify 101 because it’s just so true! It’s really important to find the right solution for you, your circumstances, your lifestyle. If you’re like me, maybe you love the idea of following someone else’s steps and then living with that perfect solution happily ever after. But really, when that doesn’t work we feel like we’ve failed to stay organized (yet again) like it’s a personal shortcoming. It’s not you, friend! It’s just the wrong solution for you!
  • If you live with other people, your way is not the only way. Believe me; I like to think mama knows best, too! But if the people in your home cannot adapt to your system, it really is time to rethink it. It’s obvious my family prefers to nest the containers, so I’m not going to keep trying to “retrain” them on this anymore!

Instead, here’s what I did. I pulled out all the containers, made sure each container and lid had a match, and then purged a few that were mismatched or broken. I nested the containers and put them back in the cabinet. I used a white, plastic basket to hold tiny containers that we use for things like salad dressing or cookies in the lunch box. Because these are so small, I kept them matched with lids and stacked inside the bin. Whether they get nested or stacked, as long as they make it in that basket, this will work. Ah, everything is so nice and tidy again!

Organize your kitchen - food storage containers

Now… what to do with the lids? I checked out my organizing stash and decided this over-the-door hanger was just the thing. I picked it up a while back at a thrift store without a specific purpose in mind because it looked very multi-purpose, plus I liked the bright green color.

Use an over-the-door organizer for container lids

 I am pretty sure it’s meant for magazines and books, but tacked to the back of the cabinet door it is just right for my container lids. I’d love if it were clear, but this was on hand. I think I’ll add labels to the pockets to remove some guess work for everyone. I did see another over-the-door organizer on Amazon that might make a better solution.

Oh, I also want to mention that I keep my aluminum foil, plastic bags and such in a drawer above this cabinet. If I did not have that space, an under-the-shelf bin would be my solution. Another idea I’ve seen around Pinterest is to use a magazine holder to store the boxes upright. Genius!

OK, I shared about my organizing freak-out, and now it’s your turn. Is there an area or system in your home that isn’t working (and possibly causing you to freak out a bit?) Leave a comment!

Happy Organizing!

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  • February 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I want my lids on my bowls too. But the fam likes to nest, and not bother taking the extra step of putting on the lid before the bowl goes back into the cabinet. What they don’t realize is that they now have to hunt down the matching lid when they want to use that bowl. I will have to come up with a different solution also like you did, one for easy lid finding and matching. Thanks for the ideas.
    Connie @ http//:bradhsawshouse(dot) blogspot(dot)com

    February 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Connie, such a great point about having to hunt down the right lid. When you said that it made me realize that I am the one putting stuff into these containers 90% of the time. That probably explains why my family doesn’t buy into the lid-on storage! Ha! Thanks so much for your comment.

    • February 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I have dealt with this for over 40 years. I finally decided to solve it in my cabinets! I purchase two large tubs. T
      he sizing is to fit in lower cabinets at my house. The lost area if you have large lower cabinets as I do.
      Sizing would be to fit between any wooden door frame in an open cabinet. Mine are 15-24 inches side to side, 12-15 inches front to back and 4-5 inches high. These are similar to rectangular wash tubs.
      I stack the plastic containers inside with most nesting. The lids are on the edge nearest them standing. I put it on the top shelf of the lower cabinet with chips in front.
      NOW…I just pull out the tubs find a container and lid. I have been known to number the lids and container they fit…sans..Tupperware. Over the years this has been the best. I just don’t have to watch them slip and slide in the cabinets. I use 2 one larger and one small.
      You can keep chips, cereal and other snacks in front of the tubs. They are easily removed for access.
      If this isn’t clear, let me know.

      February 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Shelia, what a great solution you’ve worked up. Thanks for sharing!