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food containers a jumbled messAre you tired of finding the right container for leftovers but its lid is nowhere to be found? Are your food containers a jumbled mess, wasting valuable space in your kitchen? Do you toss them haphazardly wherever they’ll fit?

Would you like to get your containers under control, once and for all? Follow these simple steps.

Take stock

For at least two weeks, track which containers you use and don’t use. Put aside the ones you don’t use until you finish organizing.

How to organize containers

  • Gather all containers and lids (in cabinets, pantry, lunch boxes, fridge and dishwasher), match containers with their lids, sort by size, and repurpose, recycle (according to local regulations) or trash those without their mate or don’t need.
  • Discard single-use food storage and takeout containers or those in poor condition.
  • Designate a specific home for all containers (such as a shelf in the pantry or revolving shelf in a corner cabinet); add a second home, such as small containers in a bottom drawer for kids to pack parent-approved snacks.
  • Stack smaller containers in larger ones and put shorter containers in front of taller ones.
  • Keep lids with their containers as best as you can.


  • Buy sets that nest to save space and they’ll be super easy to keep organized.
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows and follows your new system – or it’ll fall apart and your food containers will again be a jumbled mess.
  • Separate locations for plastic and glass containers, if you like.

Pictured is my Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids set of containers. Lids snap together and fit different size containers. They’re clear and don’t stain. I bought this set many years ago; they’re still available along with newer options. Click here for information.

For more clever ways to organize containers, see these tips from If you’d like to organize your food after organizing your containers, here’s a post I wrote at the start of Covid-19 in March, 2020: 17 Smart Ideas to Organize Food in Your Kitchen During Coronavirus.

Take a little time to organize your containers and I predict you’ll love how your new system looks and functions!

Adriane Weinberg

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