Does organizing your Tupperware cabinet make you crazy? Do you automatically cover your head every time you open the door to protect yourself from falling food storage containers?
I get it. I’ve totally been there.
I arranged and re-arranged and organized and re-organized that space so many times. It seemed that no matter what I did, the mess re-appeared.
How did I solve my tumbling container problem?
Short answer: I started storing my Tupperware and other food storage containers with the lids already on the containers.
Long (like, really long) answer: I accepted I had a Clutter Threshold. A clutter threshold isn’t the point at which stuff irritates me. It’s the point at which totally useful things turn into clutter.
Food storage containers are totally useful things. My husband (thankfully) lives off of dinner leftovers for his lunches. I can turn one meal into two (sometimes, three!) using these totally necessary kitchen items.
Once upon a time, however, I had too many of them.
I didn’t realize it was possible to have too many because they were useful. Because they were useful, any time I saw pretty ones at a garage sale or on deep discount at a store, I bought them.
Which increased the frequency (and the painfulness) of the tumbling.
My (hard-learned) definition of clutter: anything I can’t keep under control easily.
When I had way too many food containers, I had to get creative with how I stored them.
Lids here, sorted by size, and squeezed into some fancy contraption to keep them standing up straight.
Bowls together, nested inside one another, stacked as high as possible.
But then, I always needed the container in the middle of the stack.
And I never (like, ever) needed it in a slow and easy moment when I had the time or desire or energy to methodically pull out the teetering tower of containers, gently remove the one from the middle, and then neatly replace the slightly-lower tower.
And I was never patient about analyzing which single lid was the one I needed before pulling it carefully from its vertical home without sending the other 67 lids flying across the kitchen.
I’m a grabber, a finagler, an I-need-this-thing-right-now-before-I-run-to-do-something-way-more-interesting-than-maintaining-the-neatness-of-a-Tupperware-cabinet type.
How does storing food storage containers with the lids on help me live below my Clutter Threshold?
- The cabinet naturally stays neater. (I’d say “neat” but we’re still talking about me.) I reach into the cabinet and in one step grab the container I need. No digging, no matching, no need to rearrange.
- I’m forced to limit the number of containers I keep. Because significantly fewer containers fit in my cabinet when they are stored with the lids on them, I can’t live under the delusion that there’s no such thing as too many totally-useful containers.
- My home, overall, stays under control more easily because I have fewer containers. Because I don’t have an endless supply of containers for leftovers, I can’t keep shoving them into the fridge to grow science projects while they wait for The Big Fridge Cleanout to happen. Because I don’t have as many, I’m forced to wash them consistently and keep things moving.
I totally understand why the naturally organized person would never consider leaving unmatched pieces strewn and shoved in the cabinet in complete disarray when she spent hours perfecting her system for maximum-storage-in-minimum-space.
But I’m not naturally organized. I’m pretty much the opposite of naturally organized.
So I have to go with what works for me. For my unique brain in my unique home.
That’s what matters. What works. Not what should work. What does work.
And I’ve heard from so many of you who function better this way, too.
I’d love to hear what works for YOU, that might be contrary to what works for others!
Helpful stuff (some referral links included):
If you suspect your brain might be closer to mine than to that of a naturally organized person, you need my book. It’s called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and it’s available wherever books are sold. Go here to read more than 100 reviews that will let you know if it’s for you.
If you’re desperate to declutter, but fear the fizzle of that determination, sign up for 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration and get 30 days of ridiculously practical decluttering strategies delivered free to your inbox to keep you going.
I’ve actually now switched almost exclusively to glass food storage containers. I feel better about using them in the microwave and they don’t stain. These are similar to the ones I have.