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How to Organize Food Containers

Food containers are great for packing up leftovers for later use and taking lunches with you, but they sure can fill up cabinet or drawer space quickly. You need to keep your collection in check by organizing Empty the drawer or cabinet where you normally keep your food containers. Sweep, vacuum, or wipe out the crumbs and put down fresh shelf paper or drawer lining, if you wish. Take a good look at your containers while they're spread out on a counter or table.

Recycle any food containers you can't or don't use. Discarding is always a good first step toward organizing because it means you will have fewer left over to organize and store, and because items you can't or don't use aren't in the way of the ones you do. Treat your empty food containers and lids as carefully as you can.

Firstly, sort through your set and recycle any lids or containers that don't have mates. Put them together, if it helps, so you can see exactly where something comes up short.

Secondly, recycle any containers that are broken, split, stained, smelly, or melted beyond the point of usability.

Thirdly, recycle anything you don't use. If it's too small for your regular portions, too big for the lunch box or the shelf in the fridge, let it go.

And fourthly, decide how many containers you really need, and how many containers you need in any given size. Chances are, your supply of food containers never runs down to zero. If you have a stack of ten identical boxes, do you ever see the bottom two or three? Your answer might be yes if your family of five packs lunches in them each day.

Remove anything that's not a food container and either discard it or store it somewhere else. Measuring cups, mixing bowls, and drinking glasses (even the plastic ones) should all go in some other, appropriate place. Put them with other items that function similarly.

Get a matched set. If your budget and space permit, consider getting food containers that are all the same type, with multiples of commonly used sizes. Often, a matched set will stack more compactly and more easily than assorted, unmatched containers.

Choose a suitable drawer or cabinet. A large drawer works well, if you have one. Regardless of which area you choose, dedicate a specific area and make sure the space is ample for the contents.

Nest and stack. For the food containers, nest them in stacks that are as tall as your space. Start with the largest on the bottom and work upwards to the smallest. Make multiple stacks as necessary, keeping round food containers with round, square with square, and so on.

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