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!

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One is Enough

This morning in the shower I was using my shower cap, the only shower cap I own. I started thinking about how I only needed one shower cap, since I can always find it (it lives under the sink with the towels), it’s unlikely to fall apart any time soon, and I could walk to the drugstore in five minutes to get a new one if necessary.

That got me thinking about how people often feel the need to have backups of things, in case something gets lost, breaks, or just runs out (in the case of consumables). And I wondered what other things I only have one of. I’m not talking about big-ticket items like a house, computer, or car. But I’m thinking of the kinds of things that someone might be tempted to own extras of “just in case.”

So here are some things I only have one of:

  • Purse
  • Pair of glasses in my current prescription (I save the most recent old pair as backup)
  • Pair of sneakers
  • Nail clippers
  • TV
  • Wristwatch
  • Comb
  • Bathmat (although I’d like to get one more so I could have one in the laundry and still have one to use)
  • My iPhone has eliminated the need for a digital camera, alarm clock, notepad, and GPS (can I have negative numbers of things??)
  • Cat brush (for two cats)
  • One face powder container, one mascara brush (I have two eyeliners but I mostly just use one).
  • Floor mop
  • Fever thermometer

I’m sure there are more, but that’s just a few things off the top of my head. I’m curious to know what you only have one of, even though a person might easily have multiples.

[Later edit] I’m thinking about the psychology of “only having one,” and I think it comes down to a matter of trust in the universe, and in your own strength.

When you put all your eggs in one basket, you become vulnerable. If you lose that one thing, you lose it all. But the important question is, “and then what?”

Being completely out of toilet paper really sucks, especially if you discover this while on the toilet. But doubtless it has happened on more than one occasion to the people reading this, and life has gone on. Your source of strength is your self, not your stuff. Also, to have only one of a thing implies a trust and faith that after a thing is lost, broken, or runs out, that it can then be fixed, recovered, re-bought, (without damaging expense), or re-found.

If something is vital to one’s survival, then of course having some extras makes sense. My daughter’s diabetic friend recently misplaced her blood sugar testing kit at our house, but she had a backup one at home that she could use until we found it. Anyway, moving on….