Plastic Leftover Containers

It’s a rare home that has all its plastic leftover containers neat and tidy. Why is this?

First of all, most people way overestimate the number they’ll need. To find out if you do, I’ll ask you a question: Have you ever run out of clean ones? Perhaps you had to make do with a less-than-ideal size or shape, but I bet there was always a container in the cabinet for you, even with a sink and dishwasher full of dirty dishes, and a fridge full of leftovers.

Having too many is the first problem; the second is the never-ending search for matching tops and bottoms. Unless you buy only a certain brand of container so they all nest together, the best way to eliminate this problem is to store them already assembled. “What?!” my clients say. “But then we’ll be able to fit so few in there!” Well, see problem number one. You probably have too many.

Take 20 minutes and play the plastic container dating game. Match them up, tops and bottoms together. All the “plastics without partners” go in the recycling bin or trash. See what you have left. If it’s too many for the space, then stash some emergency back-ups in a labeled container in the basement. (You can also place down there the sizes and shapes that you only use once in a while, like the containers made for deviled eggs, or the lemonade pitcher that you only use in the summer.)

I’m curious to hear about your experience with plastic leftover containers. Oh, and P.S., I know there’s controversy over whether it’s safe to store food in certain types of plastic, but that’s beyond the scope of my blog!

2 thoughts on “Plastic Leftover Containers

  1. It looks like the restaurants we use for take-out/delivery have all adopted the same style that all uses the same lid. Tall for quart, short for half-pint, and the pint is in between. They nest really well (as do the lids) so I’ve been saving many of them… though I’m pretty sure I have enough now and have been recycling the rest. But I still have a lot of the “gladware” style reusable containers. I have a single spot for all of them, and some are useful, but others I could probably get rid of. I’ve been doing so after large meals with friends; they become take-home containers and I don’t care about never getting them back.

    Now I need to figure out how to deal with the “take-n-toss” baby food containers. They’re currently out because I would make my son lunch every day and they were good to know how much to give him: fill one with pasta and/or meat, another with fruit, and another with veggies. But with the new daycare, I decided I’d rather buy his lunches through their caterer than prep stuff every morning, so I suddenly don’t need so many. I suppose what I should do is offer them up to the parent-centered local mailing list … or see if one of my friends-with-kids wants ’em. Or maybe they’ll be given away with portions of gravy after this year’s Thanksgiving. 🙂

  2. We pay my son once a year to match the lids to the containers. It’s a good extra job for a kid who’s pretty thorough and methodical. Then we toss (into recyling) all the ones without lids.

    Recently got some glass ones from King Aurthur Flour, so we don’t have to worry about reheating food in them.

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