10 Clever Ways to Organize All Your Food Storage Containers and Their Lids

updated Aug 25, 2020
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Raise your hand if, despite your best efforts, Tupperware and other plastic — or even glass — food storage containers always seem to take over your entire kitchen. Especially the lids?

Having that kind of mess cluttering your kitchen cabinets and drawers sure puts a dent in your day. A piled up mess of lids will make it a struggle to pack away your meal prep on a Sunday. And you might just want to forget about saving the plentiful dinner leftovers when you can’t find a container to put them in. Trust us, organizing your food storage containers is going to pay off handsomely in the long run, saving you time and money.

Good news: There are plenty of easy ways to keep your food storage containers from ruining your entire kitchen organization system. And the even better news is that you might have several of these supplies already at home. Which means even more money and time saved. (See, you’re already killing it!)

For your inspiration, here are 10 ways to get your food storage containers under control.

1. Stack Lids Vertically in a Plate Rack

You can see how easily food storage lids can be organized with a plate rack — arranging and dividing them by size makes it easy to find exactly what you need. You can source a a bamboo dish drying rack for less than $10, then just place it inside your kitchen cabinets — or on top of the counter if you want to keep it within easy reach.

2. Use Bins as Dividers

For a super simple solution to keep plastic containers of varying sizes neat and tidy, turn cloth book bins on their sides and use them as dividers. You might already have soft-sided book bins that you can borrow from the kids’ room, or buy some book bins new. But really, any kind of basket or bin will work here (we used these drawer organizers in the photo above) — as long as you can fit it in your cabinet or drawer with the opening-side up, you’re in business!

3. Keep Lids in Check with Tension Rods

Small tension rods are a smart way to keep lids from getting out of hand, as they can be extended to fit just about any size drawer. Stretch them across the width or depth of your drawer, all the way to one side, leaving just enough room to prop up a stack of several lids on their side. If you don’t have tension rods already at home, you can score a six-pack for less than $15. (Save the extras to create bonus shoe storage in the closet or prop up baking sheets somewhere else in the kitchen.)

4. Separate Lids and Containers with Drawer Dividers

With the help of some drawer dividers and some smart stacking, this drawer is now totally organized — and super satisfying to look at. We used this $15 adjustable organizer from Bed Bath & Beyond that has dividers working in two directions, but really any kind of tension drawer dividers are going to help make sense of your mess.

5. Use Pegboard to Keep Containers in Place

Adding pegboard to drawers or slide-out cabinet inserts is another clever way to keep different food storage containers separated and tidy. You can pull this together with simple hardware store supplies, or buy a ready-made pegboard kit for $20 and assemble it flat inside your drawer. If you want something really turnkey, Umbra makes an adjustable pegboard-inspired kitchen cabinet organizer that you can buy.

6. Store Lids in a Hidden Magazine Rack

The cure for out-of-control lids? Add a magazine rack or file sorter to the inside of your cabinet door for hidden, easy-to-reach storage whenever you need to put leftovers away. You can make it happen with any narrow wire organizer and stick-on Command Hooks (make sure the organizer has holes big enough to accommodate the hooks). Or find a file sorter that’s designed to be wall-mounted and fasten it to your cabinet door with short screws for a semi-permanent solution.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Hack a Cereal Box

This might be the quickest, cheapest solution (at least if your family eats a lot of cereal, pasta, or really anything that comes in a box). Grab a box destined for the recycling and cut off the top and one corner to create a magazine-style organizer practically out of thin air. If you want to dress it up, wrap it like a gift with pretty patterned paper, tucking and taping the paper around the cut edges.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

8. Create a Lid Organizer With a Drying Rack

If you’re already storing your food container lids in a small bin, but wish the solution was a little tidier, consider this: Snag a roll-up dish drying rack and unroll it across the top of your bin to give your lids neat little sections to slide into. You can buy a roll-up rack like this for $8 online — but they’ve been known to turn up in the dollar store or bargain sections of your favorite stores, too. See this trick in action here.

9. Buy an Off-the-Shelf Solution

If all this hacking and DIY isn’t your style, you should know that almost every organizing solution company makes their own version of a food storage lid organizer. The YouCopia organizer has adjustable sections and comes in a few different sizes to fit whatever space you have to sort out. And this one from mDesign is simple and solid, and the acrylic look might match your other organizers perfectly (if not, they make a bamboo version too).

10. Invest in a Heavy Duty Storage System

If you have a lot to store and you’d prefer to just shell out for a ready-made storage system, the Cadillac of food storage organization has to be this Food Storage Pull Out Pantry from Rev-a-Shelf. It fits a standard 21.5-inch-deep cabinet and comes in two widths, and you can find it for sale on Amazon or Wayfair for around $250.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 10 Clever Ways to Organize Tupperware and Food Storage Containers