Before & After: How I Finally Organized My Food Storage Container Drawer

published Mar 19, 2015
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(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

Establishing a drawer just for food storage had me smitten with this deep drawer space when I first organized my home’s kitchen. Now, it’s become quite the jigsaw puzzle of containers. Finding a lid in one try happens occasionally, but getting the drawer to actually close takes a Tetris high-score skill level of container stacking.

Lots of things have found a new home during my kitchen organization project, but unfortunately, food storage containers are here to stay in this exact spot. I had no idea where to start, so I did just that — started.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

Breaking Down the Pile

I’ve learned that if a project seems impossible or just overwhelming enough that I keep putting it off, it’s best tackled with a series of intentional steps. Breaking down the process helps me get the project going, and each step feels like a mini-success (which I often celebrate.) Here’s a good way to go about it:

  1. Discard damaged or unmatched pieces: Remove any damaged parts and pieces without a matching lid or container. I was quite surprised at the almost dozen lids without containers I had hanging around!
  2. Take an inventory: Match lids with containers and evaluate to get a clear picture of what you have.
  3. Evaluate: Which pieces do you use most often? Which pieces cause the biggest storage issue in your space? What restraints does your storage space include (height of nested stacks, width of containers, lid containment)?
  4. Consider purchasing new or replacement containers: If your most-used containers required discarding, you may consider replacing those. Consider the restraints of your storage space. Purchasing containers with interchangeable lids might be more helpful (keeping things manageable and tidy) than a collection of various-sized containers. Glass containers offer the bonus of working double and triple duty, as food storage and for use in the microwave and oven.
(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

After breaking down the pile, I realized that round and rectangle containers, and a tangle of lids were the biggest problems. I discarded or repurposed the rectangle containers, with the exception of two large ones for marinating. (Try a large, rectangle one to hold your kid’s dinnerware.) I kept a few round containers with twist-top lids, used often for on-the-go meals, but separated them out into their own round-only stack. The lid problem was resolved by purchasing a deep and shallow set of square containers with interchangeable lids. A few stain-resistant containers for yummy spaghetti leftovers and sauces are stacked inside the marinating containers.

Now that I’ve whittled this drawer into a happier place, I’m ready to find a new area to test my step-by-step method!

What other areas of kitchen organization frustrate you? Or have you found a unique way to tackle your food storage container war?