Too Many Leftover Containers! & A Little Bit About Organizing Kitchen Cabinets

{See my full kitchen tour HERE.}

Most of America seems to have a love-hate relationship with leftover containers – they love to buy them and hoard them, but hate finding a way of keeping them neat in their kitchen cabinets. When I asked on Facebook earlier this summer for problem areas my readers want me to write about, I received a resounding response that people need help figuring out their plastic container situation.

Let me tell you the truth about these plastic leftover containers: you probably have way too many!

Visualize: Look at your collection and imagine how many fridges they would fill if you used them all at once.

Fiction: You need all these different sizes for all the different things they could possibly hold.

Fact: The reality is you don’t have to have the perfect size all the time, you just need a semi-decent variety to make it all work. You do not need very many and definitely not more than would even fit in your fridge.

***Right now many of you are thinking of ways you are an exception to this rule. Hey, you may have a point, but if you also want to have clean kitchen cabinets, just remember: be reasonable.***

I’m happy to report I made the following changes over a month before I actually blogged about it and my containers are all still perfectly neat. I love how a good system takes no extra effort to keep up!

Recently I took a look at my plastic container collection and decided I had accumulated way too many! And then, I decided I wish more of it was glass or stainless steel. (I still need some plastic to send in school lunches – the schools don’t want elementary students to have glass in their lunches, go figure.)

With a baby coming, I also re-arranged my cabinets a bit so nothing breakable is in the bottom cabinet. I am easily annoyed by child locks, so I just focus on keeping things safe. I also have lived in this house a whole year and now I know a bit better about how I really use the kitchen, so I did some moving around to make better organizational flow.

Cleaning my cabinets –

Step 1) Clear out problem cabinets.

Step 2) Clean out problem cabinets. I vacuüm up the yucky bits and then wipe with a damp cloth.

Step 3) Purge what we don’t need or use. I always wonder if craft bloggers, who always seem to re-purpose thrift store finds beyond my imagination, appreciate my thrift store donations – someone has to give the stuff other people find at Goodwill, right? Ha ha!

Step 4) Put things back in cabinets. I washed some of my new glass containers, too. That white basket is actually from my kids’ bathroom. I give it a wash every Saturday with their toothbrushes.

Everyone’s favorite part: The ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots. Remember, if you don’t have too much, you can just store with lids on containers. Voila! Organized cabinets!

1. This is a prime cabinet place – easy to reach and convenient to use. This is where I decided to put the glass containers, because we use them daily.

2. This is the cabinet that used to have all of my plastic containers. Now it holds the few remaining plastic containers and my stainless steel bowls and specialty baking pans. My stainless steel bowls have lids, so not only are they useful for mixing, but double as a large food storage container. I love multi-purpose kitchen items.

3. This held all of my pitchers, Vita-Mix, and can opener. There was lots of space, so besides organizing what was already in there, I decided it made sense to put my water bottles in there too.

4. This cabinet is kind of awkward to use, being in the corner. I could still cut it down more, but this progress is good enough for me right now. I think my next move will be to get rid of those mixing bowls, since I don’t need them and my stainless steel sets (pictured above). I now have a spot (bottom left) to put the things I use for the kids lunches and to store lunch boxes over the weekend. The second shelf on the right is where all my sushi supplies are now kept. Yummy … sushi. I keep my food processor down in my kitchen island, but don’t want the blades stored within reach of children. I’m guessing that when our baby becomes mobile, this cabinet will house the appliances that are currently in the kitchen island. Remember, organization doesn’t have to be perfect overnight. It is about small improvements over time!

5. This is where my smaller baking items are kept. I keep all of my canisters inside my Lazy Susan in the bottom corner of my cabinets. You’ll notice some minor re-arranging and stuff from all the various ‘before’ shots placed in different places in the ‘after’ shots. The canister of rice is now kept with my rice cooker and the sushi stuff in the cabinet picture above, which cleared room for all the little things to fit better.

6. Noodles went right through those plastic slits in the green strainer. So, bye-bye green strainer, hello new small stainless steel colander. Some of these glass items will move before baby is mobile, but I love them here so much I want to keep them here a bit longer. I use this drawer at least a few times each day, so I like it un-cluttered and super use-able.

The awesome result of reducing my leftover container collection is that storing them is suddenly not a big problem. I can just store them all with their lids on, so the container and lid don’t get separated. I just feel like my cabinets look so much better and my containers are easier to reach!

How is your plastic leftover container situation? Feeling like an update? Now you know the update doesn’t need some organizing contraption, it just involves reducing and simplifying. You can do that today! The most elegant solution is the simplest one. And remember, don’t focus on perfect, focus on progress.

I feel like a great follow-up post to this would be about fridge organization, but I have a few other projects I’m excited to show you first. I’m putting fridge organization in my blogging queue, though … and do you want to see into my other cabinets and drawers not pictured today? Let me know. If you want to see more of my kitchen (non-drawers and cabinets), I blogged lots of pictures HERE.

Also, subscribe to this blog and never miss a thing! Enter your email in the box on the sidebar and new blog posts will arrive directly into your email inbox.

Join us on Facebook, where I share even more Organizing tips, thoughts, and inspiration.

3 thoughts on “Too Many Leftover Containers! & A Little Bit About Organizing Kitchen Cabinets

  1. 4 words…Lock N Lock Nestibles. These were the best investment ever. 20 pieces with lids fit on one cabinet shelf and all nest together and the lids are all the same size so no searching for the right lid. They have made a tremendous difference in my plastic storage. In fact, I got rid of ALL the other plastic storage containers. I got them from QVC if anyone is interested. Make sure they are the ‘nestible’ ones though.

  2. Oh that looks so great! I’m very inspired to go through and organize my kitchen now. Thanks for the tips!

    Have you blogged about where/how you store cookie sheets, cake pans, muffin tins, etc? That drawer has always been difficult for me to organize in an easy-to-use way!

Comments are closed.