Plastic containers are a common household item that can be used for storing food, leftovers, snacks, and more. However, they can also take up a lot of space in your cabinets, drawers, or fridge, and create clutter and mess. Moreover, some plastic containers may contain harmful chemicals that can leach into your food, or end up in landfills and oceans, harming the environment and wildlife.
So how can you store your plastic containers in a way that is organized, convenient, and eco-friendly? Here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
|Choose the right containers
|Opt for containers that are BPA-free, reusable, stackable, and transparent.
|Label and date your containers
|Use a permanent marker or a label maker to write the contents and the date of storage on your containers. This will help you avoid food waste and spoilage.
|Nest and stack your containers
|Store your containers by nesting them inside each other according to their size and shape. Stack the lids separately in a basket or a rack.
|Use dividers and organizers
|Use drawer dividers, shelf organizers, or bins to create separate sections for your containers and lids. This will make it easier to find and access them.
|Recycle or repurpose old containers
|If you have containers that are cracked, stained, or warped, don’t throw them away. You can recycle them or use them for other purposes, such as planting, crafting, or storing non-food items.
Choose the Right Containers
The first step to storing your plastic containers in an organized and eco-friendly way is to choose the right containers. Here are some factors to consider when selecting your containers:
- BPA-free: BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical that is often used to make plastic products, but it can also leach into your food and cause health problems. Look for containers that are labeled as BPA-free, or choose alternatives such as glass, stainless steel, or silicone containers.
- Reusable: Reusable containers are better for the environment and your wallet than disposable ones. They can last longer and reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate. Choose containers that are durable, easy to clean, and microwave-safe.
- Stackable: Stackable containers can help you save space and keep your storage area neat and tidy. Look for containers that have flat lids and fit snugly on top of each other. You can also buy containers that come in sets of different sizes and shapes that are designed to stack together.
- Transparent: Transparent containers can help you see what’s inside them without having to open them. This can make it easier to find what you need and avoid forgetting about your food. You can also use clear labels or stickers to mark your containers with the name and date of the food.
Label and Date Your Containers
Another tip to store your plastic containers in an organized and eco-friendly way is to label and date your containers. This can help you avoid food waste and spoilage, as well as prevent cross-contamination and confusion. Here are some ways to label and date your containers:
- Permanent marker: You can use a permanent marker to write directly on your containers or lids. However, this may not be very visible or durable, and it may leave stains or marks on your containers. You can also use a dry-erase marker, but it may rub off easily.
- Label maker: You can use a label maker to print out labels with the name and date of the food. This can be more clear and neat than handwriting, and it can also be removed or replaced when needed. However, this may require more time and resources, and it may not stick well to some surfaces.
- Washi tape: You can use washi tape, which is a type of decorative paper tape, to create labels for your containers. You can cut out pieces of tape and write on them with a pen or a marker. Then, you can stick them on your containers or lids. This can be more fun and colorful than other methods, and it can also be easily peeled off without leaving any residue. However, this may not be very waterproof or heat-resistant, and it may not last long.
One of the most effective ways to store your plastic containers in an organized and eco-friendly way is to nest and stack them. This means storing your containers by nesting them inside each other according to their size and shape, and stacking the lids separately in a basket or a rack. This can help you save space, reduce clutter, and prevent your containers from falling over or getting lost. Here are some steps to nest and stack your containers:
- Sort your containers: Before you start nesting and stacking, you need to sort your containers by their size, shape, and type. You can group them into categories such as round, square, rectangular, or oval containers, or by their material, such as plastic, glass, or metal. You can also separate the containers that you use frequently from the ones that you use occasionally, and store them in different places.
- Nest your containers: Once you have sorted your containers, you can start nesting them inside each other. To do this, you need to find the largest container in each category, and place the smaller ones inside it. You can also use rubber bands or elastic bands to hold the nested containers together. Make sure that the containers fit snugly and securely, and that they don’t damage or scratch each other.
- Stack your lids: After you have nested your containers, you need to stack your lids. To do this, you need to find a basket, a rack, or a tray that can hold your lids. You can also use a lid organizer, which is a device that has slots or compartments for different sizes and shapes of lids. You can then stack your lids vertically or horizontally, depending on the space and the shape of the lids. Make sure that the lids are visible and accessible, and that they don’t slide or fall off.
Use Dividers and Organizers
Another tip to store your plastic containers in an organized and eco-friendly way is to use dividers and organizers. These are tools that can help you create separate sections or compartments for your containers and lids, and make it easier to find and access them. Here are some examples of dividers and organizers that you can use:
- Drawer dividers: Drawer dividers are inserts that can fit into your drawers and divide them into smaller sections. You can use them to store your containers and lids by size, shape, or type. You can also adjust the size and the number of the sections according to your needs. Drawer dividers can help you maximize the space and the efficiency of your drawers, and prevent your containers and lids from sliding or mixing up.
- Shelf organizers: Shelf organizers are devices that can add more levels or layers to your shelves. You can use them to store your containers and lids by stacking them on top of each other. You can also use shelf risers, which are platforms that can elevate your containers and lids and create more space underneath. Shelf organizers can help you utilize the vertical space and the depth of your shelves, and make your containers and lids more visible and reachable.
- Bins: Bins are containers that can hold your containers and lids. You can use them to store your containers and lids by category, such as food, snacks, leftovers, or sauces. You can also use bins with handles, wheels, or lids, which can make them more portable and secure. Bins can help you organize and group your containers and lids, and make them more convenient and accessible.
Recycle or Repurpose Old Containers
The last tip to store your plastic containers in an organized and eco-friendly way is to recycle or repurpose old containers. If you have containers that are cracked, stained, or warped, don’t throw them away. You can recycle them or use them for other purposes, such as planting, crafting, or storing non-food items. Here are some ideas to recycle or repurpose your old containers:
- Recycle: You can recycle your old containers by taking them to a recycling center or a drop-off point. You can also check the recycling symbol and the number on the bottom of your containers, which indicate the type of plastic they are made of and how they can be recycled. You can also look for programs or initiatives that collect and recycle plastic containers, such as TerraCycle or Preserve.
- Plant: You can use your old containers as pots or planters for your plants, herbs, or flowers. You can drill holes at the bottom of your containers for drainage, and fill them with soil and seeds. You can also decorate your containers with paint, stickers, or ribbons, and place them on your windowsill, balcony, or garden. You can also use your old lids as saucers or trays for your plants.
- Craft: You can use your old containers as materials for your crafts, such as making candles, soap, or jewelry. You can melt wax, soap, or resin in your containers, and add colors, scents, or shapes. You can also use your containers to store your craft supplies, such as beads, buttons, or threads. You can also use your old lids as molds or coasters for your crafts.
- Store: You can use your old containers to store your non-food items, such as toys, tools, or accessories. You can label your containers with the name of the item, and stack them on your shelves, drawers, or closets. You can also use your containers to organize your cables, cords, or chargers, and prevent them from tangling or getting lost. You can also use your old lids as trays or dishes for your items.