Getting Organized: Taming the Plastic Containers

{End of the Year Clean Sweep} *Get organized BEFORE the holidaysThis post is part of an organizational series put together by my amazing friends and colleagues in collaboration with Melissa & Doug. Follow along each Thursday from now till the New Year as we tackle a new project each week.

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I have a bit of a problem when it comes to taming the plastic containers in my kitchen.

Ok, let’s be honest … it was more than a bit of a problem. It was actually a three-part problem. You see, I’m a bit of a hoarder (not a hoarder per se, just a “hoarder”), but I’m also a sucker for cute tiny containers (what, tell me I am not alone in this useless obsession?!), AND I’m trying to do my part to wreak less havoc on the environment …

Hmmm. did you hear my conundrum there?

A mom of 3, with a penchant for collecting cute storage containers (i.e, plastic), and a closet environmentalist

what’s a girl to do?

Well, it took some internal searching and coming to grips with letting go of some of those cute plastic containers (most of them I donated to better homes), but the real secret I discovered lied in finding the right gear.

We love those bags & containers --> Make packing lunches easier on yourself by finding the right gear for your family

The right gear — meaning, not the cheap dollar store stuff that looks “just like” the fancy kind I had been collecting all summer. Cause 4 weeks into school and most of the clasps have broken off and the seals are already missing!

I chalked that costly mistake up as a lesson learned and donated and/or recycled those pieces from our cupboards. They made space in my cabinets for the things I was finding that really worked.

I found a home for everything — crackers, cookies, fruit, sandwiches, roll ups, snacks all the possible combinations of lunches my kids might like and made sure I had enough for 3 lunches (simple math: I have three kids)

Then I purged. A serious purge.

Lunch Cabinet Before & After: Great tips here

Tossing all the broken, mismatched, never used, just not for us pieces and figuring out what really worked for us.

I learned the right lunchbox was important. The ones we had last year were cute, but they didn’t hold our new larger storage pieces quite as well. I found a simple rectangular, one compartment lunch box works best for just about any combo of containers I could throw at it.

We have 2 of the ones from Melissa & Doug and they are just perfect for our new containers, I have my fingers crossed they come out with some styles for boys soon.

You can find all of the products we have in our cabinet in my Luvocracy shop, I scored most of mine from Zulily during discount sales.

Tip #2: Find a kid-friendly location

By the time I was done decluttering, I was on a roll. I moved all of our lunch supplies to a two-door cabinet on a bottom shelf. This not only gave me room to keep all the items we needed for lunch prep and even storage for juice boxes, waters, and ready-to-go snacks, but also meant the kids had direct access to the cabinet and their gear.

The results have been fantastic! Things are so organized now the kids practically pack all their own lunches, and they have a say in what’s going in them so they are eating more while they are at school. We have zero waste, which is huge for me, and after a few months that gear that was just right for us will more than pay for itself. Psst, I know you eagle eyes spied those ziplock bags in that photo down there … those there till we run out.

Getting Organized: Taking control of container madness

Stacy

Stacy is seeing the world in a whole new way – through the eyes of her children. She writes about the little things, the big things and all the “stuff” in between at Kids Stuff World.

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  3. Brittni says

    Like you, I also have a penchant for the teeny, cute, colorful, pretty, yet utterly useless containers. After having two kids in school full-day last year (and one more who won’t start kindergarten for another four years!), I had cluttered cabinet that practically exploded with stinky plastic pieces every time someone had the audacity to open it. I tried organizing it all last summer (with those *ahem* dollar store plastic crates), and found that it still didn’t really ‘work’ for me. I am in the process of re-organizing it, and I love your ideas of keeping the snacks and snack-holding supplies all together! While I’m not sure my kids are ready to pack their own lunches yet (4th grade and 2nd grade? I think they’d pack chocolate chips and GoGurts every day!), I like having a system that will allow them to do so in the next few years! Can’t wait to go re-arrange some cabinets now! Thanks for the motivation!

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