“Put a Lid On It!” – How to Organize Those Pesky Plastic Food Containers

Declutter and organize your kitchen cabinets plastic food containersIt happens to the best of us.  After enjoying a great dinner surrounded by your family, you get up to store the leftover portions that you plan on taking for lunch tomorrow.  As you open the kitchen cabinet your mood quickly drops as an avalanche of containers and lids in come stumbling out of the cabinet only to hit you in the face before finally landing sprawled all over the kitchen floor.  Ouch!! That’s when your favorite game of “Does this lid match this container?” begins.

Between food containers purchased at the store, to the barrage of free containers we keep from grocery stores and restaurants, it’s no wonder this untamed pile of mismatched lids and containers creates a ticking time bomb ready to explode from our kitchen cabinets.

This mishap could easily have been avoided and the following tips will help you steer clear of a rain of these pesky containers from falling on you as well.

  • Empty your plastic container cabinets and lay out all containers and lids all in one place. Locate the matching cover for every container you have.  Unmatched pieces are not worthy to take up space in your cabinets and should be recycled or reused elsewhere.
  • Toss any containers that have holes or burnt areas in them. If one of your favorite containers is discolored, you can try to clean them out with hot water and a little bit of bleach. If after you try this cleaning trick and the container remains stained you should toss it.
  • Eliminate the numerous Chinese food and butter containers that have crept up over the years. Seriously think of how often you actually use these free containers.

Once completed –  here are a few suggestions to store the remaining lids and containers.

  • To optimize you cabinet space – Group (or Nest) the remaining containers by size without their lids on.
  • Place all the remaining lids in a small basket. This will keep them nice and neat in a contained area.
  • Number each of the containers and lids so that they correspond, eliminating the time spent trying to locate the container to its correct lid, or use a colored sticker dot to match up pieces appropriately.
  • Reuse the containers that had no lids to organize junk drawers or to contain smaller like items in cabinets.

Not only will this process make future elimination sessions quicker and easier, but will ultimately help “Put A Lid” to stacks of uninvited food containers from taking over your cabinets forever.

Until next time, I wish you an organized and clutter-free day.


  1. coby says

    Everything You wrote is correct, now I just have to start doing this. Greetings

  2. says

    Make it a “fun” project while your waiting for dinner to cook or just spend 15 minutes quickly clearing them out…you’ll have them done by no time :)

  3. says

    Some really great tips here, I often find it quite hard to be organised. It’s a fault of mine that I’m working on.

  4. says

    I love reading about de-cluttering and organizing, since I’m always needing inspiration in this area! I have a little box that I keep all my plastic containers and lids in, and if I get more than will fit in that box, I TOSS! Or at least that’s my intention! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. says

    Michelle, happy to hear that you found my tips useful. Be sure to check out my blog post on decluttering and organizing your kitchen, cabinets and pantry. Good luck organizing y our kitchen…let me know if I can be of any help :)

  6. says

    Hi Amy, thanks for sharing such an awesome tip. I love how you keep them organized and decluttered at the same time :)

  7. says

    I must tell you Genie, you described my kitchen and my life perfectly… I had this issue until i started putting each lid into the containers so that when i remove the container, the lid is automatically there! Voila! problem solved :)

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