Sunday, January 10, 2010

#9 Contain Yourself

#9- Today's thought on how 30 Things in 30 days might make you a bit more organized is one final big idea for your kitchen.  If you have your plasticware under control, stop reading now.  This post is not for you.  However, if the scramble for a container in which to place leftovers, tote-able lunches and homemade sauces regularly involves falling towers of recyclables, swearing over bowls without matching lids and a large pile of containers that must be completely removed from their home and then completely returned before progress can be made, then this idea will change your life.  Consider buying all one size plastic storage containers.  All one size.  Every lid fits every bowl, every top fits every bottom.  When you break a single lid, the bowl does not become useless, you can just use a lid from another one.  When you stain one container with too much tapenade, you can toss it and use another one that fits the same lid.

The image above should not be viewed as an endorsement for Ziploc, although this type of container is what we use in our home, you can achieve this goal by purchasing a single size of container from any number of retailers or brands.  I suggest that you focus on a 2 or 4 cup size as your universal container.  "But what if I have 12 cups of chili leftover?" you ask.  Who said you have to have a 12 cup storage container to hold all of it at once?  Get over it!  It is just as easy to put it in three 4 cup containers that will stack neatly in the leftover zone of your refrigerator.

With multiple containers of the same size they will all nest neatly in your designated plasticware location, the lids will  stack calmly and the 'Toppling Tower of Terror's' reign will end once and for all.  If you're not sure of where to store plasticware in the first place, consider getting a small laundry basket or tub of some kind that will fit into a lower kitchen cabinet and toss it all in there.  The basket will function like a large drawer, you can slide it out when you need to grab something and the containers will no longer spill out whenever you open the cupboard door.

My point.  Here is another place where having fewer choices makes your life easier.  You gain back minutes that you used to waste sweating over containers for leftovers and you'll barely be able to contain yourself!


  1. Nancy, thanks for this post. In our house we use glass canning jars, quart and pint size. We can a lot of our own food and so we have jars. You can by plastic screw on lids to fit the jars. These jars never stain, and you can put them in the microwave and the freezer. Also, no petroleum products . . .

    Thanks for all the great ideas. When do you sleep?

    Julie Cloninger La Valley

  2. Many of my plastic containers are reused Hillshire Farms deli meat containers. That way you can send leftovers home with a friend and not feel like you've lost a container you care about.
    I do a container purge every few weeks since my kids seem to require the use of plastic containers for art projects and toys.
    Also, splitting leftovers into smaller containers makes it easier to freeze some and eat some and bring some in a lunchbox...