Once upon a time there was a kid, me. And I was asked to empty the dishwasher by my mother. It was one of my jobs. My least favorite part of emptying the dishwasher was putting away the clean dishes, namely the tupperware. You see, our tupperware cupboard was a total disaster. Lids were stuffed every which way and each time you opened the door something came shooting out at you. The worst thing was that on top of it being a hassle to put tupperware away, it was even more of a hassle to find the tupperware you wanted. Oh can this story possibly have a happy ending?
Yes, it can. But not right away. I ended up adopting the same chaotic tupperware cupboard as my parents when I lived in apartments in college. But one day I had an epiphany. Tupperware cupboards do not need to be chaotic. They do not need to be booby-trapped. They can actually be organized. My roommate and I thought of a clever idea for the lids one day and so we decided to tackle the tupperware once and for all.
You can organize your tupperware too! It isn’t a lost cause. I will outline here today a step-by-step process you can follow to get rid of unneeded containers, sort and stack your tupperware more efficiently, and ultimately make your cupboard more accessible. Never be hassled again. Always find what you are looking for. Rejoice, it’s a thing of beauty.
Step 1: Empty your cupboard
If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet with my step-by-step organizational posts, I’ll clue you in right now that I almost always start the process with step one involving some kind of emptying of whatever it is you are trying to organize. You can’t really get anywhere if you don’t start from scratch in my opinion. Anyways, I digress.
So, pull out all your tupperware, whether it is a top quality Rubbermaid container or an old sour cream container you decided to save. Also be sure to take into account any tupperware that you are currently using (i.e. check your fridge or dishwasher).
Step 2: Match containers with lids
I will tell you up front that this step might be a little frustrating. But it is necessary, so march onward. What you need to do is sort all your tupperware containers and make sure that every container has a lid that fits. If you find a container that does not have a lid or a lid that does not have a container, then set those items aside for now.
Step 3: Get rid of containers you don’t need
Now that you have all your containers matched with their lids sitting out before you, it’s time to make some decisions. It is VERY easy to collect random containers over time so it is likely that you have a few, or maybe even a lot of containers you don’t really need. Assess your needs, be honest, and start pitching (don’t forget to recycle!). Also be sure to decide what to do with the unmatched lids and containers left over from step 2.
Step 4: Stack similar shapes
It is time to begin the organizing now that we’ve taken care of a little clutter. The best way to organize your tupperware within your cupboard is to stack similar shapes. Put all the round containers together, all the square containers together, all the rectangular containers together, and so on. Be careful to stack by size and eventually you will have a few nice and neat piles. What’s that you say? You have a container that doesn’t nicely stack with anything else? I hear ya, I have those too. Let’s not worry about them just yet.
Step 5: Arrange all the lids
Now that the containers are all stacked neatly, it is time to move on to the lids. You shouldn’t have any extra lids in your pile if you followed Step 2 correctly. The clever idea my roommate and I came up with to deal with lids involves taking some kind of box container to hold all the lids (a large shoe box or an old cake pan you don’t use anymore will work just fine). The trick is to arrange the lids by size in a row so they are kept in one place instead of scattered every which way. The beauty of this system is that you can easily remove and replace lids from this box since each lid has a particular place it belongs.
Step 6: Return everything to the cupboard
Don’t worry if everything doesn’t fit exactly on the first try. But I guarantee what you did will at least be an improvement over an ‘anything goes’ system. Experiment with how containers are arranged and try to find the best fit. Keep in mind that you want everything to be accessible, so don’t stuff small stacks way in the back. And now is the time to figure out what to do with those strangely shaped containers…don’t be afraid to be creative!
Step 7: Stick to the system
Just as I start with some ‘emptying’ in step one of every organizational process, I always end with a note about sticking to your new system. If there is one thing that can easily become chaotic again after only a few days, it is the tupperware. But if you put everything back in its proper place, keeping the lids evenly arranged by size, and keeping the containers neatly stacked, then you will not have any problems. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS STEP. Trust me, I know.
I am itching to hear other clever ways to organize tupperware. For example, has anyone found a way to capitalize on the number system (i.e. lids and containers have the same number, thus making it supposedly easier to match them together)? Please share!