Week 2 of the 15 in 15 in ’15 Challenge: Plastic Containers and Tupperware

Are you ready for Week Two of our Challenge?


You knew it was coming. Let’s just get this one out of the way early in the challenge.


15 in 15 in 15

 Plasticware and Tupperware



If you were with me for last year’s organizing challenge, you know this one is a tough-but-necessary one. And one that is probably still a good idea to revisit, even if you did it last year.   Now, I know you might not come up with a FULL 15 pieces on this one, but you may decide to throw in some other plastic goods into this one (like plastic “silverware” or durable/reusable plastic cups…)


Keep in mind a few key reasons why diving in and UnShopping in your plasticware stash is a good idea:


1) Most people have more than they need of at least one size. Just because you CAN use something, doesn’t mean you will.  Sound familiar? You know who you are. You can hear yourself saying it now: “But this is a perfectly good container.  I am sure I can use it.”

2) Most people have either lids without bottoms, or bottoms without lids…  and who knows where their partners escaped to, but they’re likely not coming back.

3) Good plasticware isn’t as rare as it used to be… Decent and usable plasticware is a lot more replaceable than it used to be. If you let go of something, some good takeout comes in your home, soon enough.


So, here’s what I want you to do (besides taking before and after pictures to post on my Facebook page):


1) Take all of your plastic ware out of the cabinets or drawers or closet or wherever you keep them.  Put them all out on a table or the floor so you can see what you have.


2) Separate out shape and sizes (squares, rectangles and circular) into different piles with their own kind. Separate out the lids in the same way.   As you see any that are obviously cracked, bent, melted (yes, really) or stained, let’s just agree that they’re probably not going to be keepers, okay? Pull them aside before sorting them with the better-condition items.


3) Match each bottom with a lid.  I *know* some brands have lids that work with multiple sizes.  I’ll spot you that and we can move on to the rest of the pairing. But, ideally, each bottom has one lid.


4) For bottoms without lids, or lids without bottoms, PUT THEM ASIDE.  (Spoiler alert: They might be visiting the recycling bin or the donation pile very soon, so make sure your goodbye is a meaningful one.)


5) What’s left?  Well, now, we go through and analyze what we have left.  

  • The right size: Think about how you use the different containers and how often you really have that need.  “This is great if I make a gallon of soup.” Okay, that’s absolutely true. When’s the last time you used that container? I’ll be generous here; if you can’t remember using that size regularly in the past year, you probably don’t need it any more. You’re either not doing that thing you think it’s great for, or you’ve found another solution for it.
  • The right number: imagine what a FULL CAPACITY fridge would be.  Let’s imagine it’s after Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve got leftover turkey, and 4 or 5 sides, and a few ingredients that you used part, but not all, of, and you’ve packaged up a few meals for your guests to take home.  That’s, what? 12 containers total? Maybe?  Go through and really scrutinize the sizes you have, vs the sizes you need.  The super small baby food sized ones are a great example.  Unless you’re actively making baby food these days, you’re  probably not using more than one or two of these occasionally, for things like condiments. So, you probably don’t need 6 of them, right?   I know this one is tough, but we’re only making more work for ourselves to get to what we really need when we’re loading up the cabinets with the extra stuff that gets in our way. 


6)  Hopefully, you’ve pared down the supply.  Now you can either nest like shapes in like shapes, with lids in their own area, or pair each lid and bottom together and stack.  In any event, all that should be going back in the cabinet are:

  • Bottoms with Lids, or Lids with Bottoms
  • Items that are in good shape
  • The right amount of each size that you realistically need and will use

All the rest?  Lots of it will be recyclable.  If an item is not recyclable in your area, consider donating branded items (not takeout containers) to a shelter or other organization that takes useful items for household goods.


7)  Place back in your cabinets, and sit back and marvel at the order you’ve created in your life… well, in one or two cubic feet of your life!


And remember to take that “After” photo, and a photo of all the pieces you are parting with, to post on the Clever Girl Facebook page. 




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