This morning I was grabbing a bowl out of the cupboard and knocked over a batch of plastic containers that we had stored in the cupboard for left-overs. It appears that we have reached that fine line that is saving for a need and hoarding.

One of the things that I noticed growing up when my mother would save containers is that she would save a few of various sizes but anything beyond that got pitched. Even though she tried to keep a limit on what she kept for plastic containers they still seemed to breed like bunnies, and had to be sorted every few months.

It appears that we have reached that stage as well and it is time to decide what is needed and used and what is not.

First, I have my limits on how much to keep. The stacks can’t be too tall that I have to pull out the whole stack to get to a container.
Second, I have to be able to see to the back of the cupboard and view all the containers that I do have.
Once one or both of these limits has been reached then it is time to cut down on what I’ve got. At this point I start my separation on what is to go.

First to go are the cracked or severely stained containers. True I could sun-bleach the stains out or even tape up the cracks, but at this stage, I have enough that I don’t NEED to keep them.

Second to go are the ones that have not been used in a while (odd shapes), ones without lids or containers that I have in triplicate already or containers with warped lids that don’t fit any longer.

Finally, I look over what is left and decide if what I have left is enough to live with. Barring left-overs from a major holiday dinner, it usually is.

Now, in my earnestness to save on waste, I have simply delayed it. Though I have used and reused the containers, I eventually still have to get them out of the cupboard use them or get of them somehow.

Here are some ways I have tried to get rid of them:

* Put them up on Freecycle
* Put them up in ‘Free’ area of craigslist
* Use them to organize items in under the sink
* Use them to take treats to work and not worry about getting the container back
* Use extra lids to put parts on if something needs to be fixed (items don’t roll with a rim)
* They are good for a piggy bank
* Use the lidless ones as scoops
* Slide a lid under a plant to catch water run-off
* Handy as a portable dog dish

What would you do with the plastic containers?


  1. Lisa2276 // Sunday, June 07, 2009 2:24:00 PM  

    I have a bad habit of doing this too, I probably have a ton of those containers.When I open the cupboard, there always falling out. I hate to throw anything out.

  2. Dawn C // Sunday, June 07, 2009 8:33:00 PM  

    You will be happier by organizing them and getting rid of the extras.

  3. LandyCostoFinancer // Monday, June 08, 2009 11:09:00 AM  

    My mom has this habit with just about everything. "Don't waste anything" she would often chastise me. Personally, I think this is a horrible attitude to have and to pass on to your children. This is probably one reason why people are packrats and overweight.

  4. Dawn C // Monday, June 08, 2009 1:40:00 PM  

    I can understand how the teaching moments from our parents can impart extreme behaviour to hoard or overeat (clean up your plate) - however we do have the responsibility to be conscious and manage it