Let’s Talk Plastic Containers

Dear Sharon,

I’ve helped several clients lately with organizing their plastic containers, and I’ve also been redefining how I use mine. So this seemed like a good time to address this topic.

Helping my clients with their containers has brought the following four principles to the front of my mind:

Don’t keep more containers than you have use for.
While it’s tempting to save every plastic container that crosses your threshold, it’s unlikely that you will ever have a need for all of them. They will just become a storage problem.

Rectangular containers are more efficient than round ones.
A rectangular or square container is a better use of space than a round one. This is true in your refrigerator as well as in your cabinets.

Containers are practically useless if they don’t have a lid.
There are limited uses for a plastic container that doesn’t have a lid. And needless to say, a lid is useless without its container. Match all your containers to their lids, and then dump the rest.

You are wasting too much space if your empty containers don’t nest.
Having too many different types and shapes of containers results in a very inefficient use of space. If you can’t nest them in the cabinet, they will take up way more room than necessary.

I will confess that I have an ongoing love affair with Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids™ containers. I first wrote about them in 2009 in “You’ll Flip Over These Lids“. I just reread that post, and I still feel as passionate about them 14 years later. Here is why I love them:

  • In the cabinet, they nest inside each other, and they are easy to stack on their lids (which also nest with each other).
  • They stack beautifully in the refrigerator.
  • The lids are interchangeable. For example, the 5-cup container has the same footprint as the 3-cup container — it’s just taller — so they both use the same size lid.
  • The lids snap on securely but are easy to remove.
  • They are transparent so I can easily see what’s inside.
  • They are dishwasher safe.

If you need to up your plastic container game, I recommend checking out the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids™ containers. Even if you aren’t ready to purchase new containers, see how your existing containers stack up against the four principles I discuss above.

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