in the kitchen

Organizing Food Storage Containers

Home Organization Food Storage
I used my jars to make pickles this summer. The fresh dill looked so pretty in the jars.

It’s the first Monday of October and you know what that means – it’s National Match-Up Day – the day when all drawers and cupboards that hold all of our plastic and glass food storage containers get cleaned out and organized.  This almost nationally recognized holiday takes place the first Monday of October, which is today. 

Why the first Monday in October?

This is typically the time when my food storage container drawer is mostly empty.  After roasting tomatoes, freezing berries, baking granola, and later this week, making pesto with my girlfriends, my food storage containers are almost all used up and the drawer is nearly empty. (I can’t wait to make pesto because my stash in the freezer has been gone for several months. How can you make a good pesto, salami, boiled egg, tomato, and onion sandwich without pesto? I also love getting together with friends to make food for later use.)

Organizing Food Storage Containers

Glass is my first choice when it comes to food storage containers because it’s inexpensive and is BPA (bisphenol A*) free. You can reuse your old peanut butter, pickle or other glass jars for food storage, but clean and disinfect them first. Running them through the dishwasher is an easy way to clean and disinfect them. When filling them, make sure to leave space at the top or “head room” because food expands as it freezes and this will prevent breakage.

Organizing food storage glass jars
Nerd alert labeling: I bust out my label maker for jars that I know I’ll be putting the same items in over and over.

While I prefer glass for storing foods, plastic still gets used around our house. It’s easier to stack in our food container drawer and takes up much less space. It also doesn’t break nearly as often. Since we don’t have a microwave in our kitchen, we’re not heating our food in our plastic food containers, which is bad to do.

When the plastic containers do crack or lids get lost, I recycle those that I can in our curbside recycling bin. The plastic containers and lids that can’t be recycled get dropped off at Far West Fibers, which accepts all sorts of odd items that can’t be recycled at our curb.

Labeling your food storage containers – whether they’re glass or plastic – doesn’t have to be fancy (masking tape and a pen are completely acceptable) but it really helps if you note the contents. I try and kid myself that I’ll remember what I’ve stored in a container but I never can. Often times, I have to open the top, smell and then ask my family, “What do you think this is?”

Food storage containers
Low-tech labeling: accepting that I can’t see without a flashlight in my basement freezer or remember what it’s in a jar or container, I use masking tape to label.

My food storage container drawer wasn’t full of water bottles this year when I cleaned it out. I’ve really tried to pass on any offers of free water bottles – you know the kind with logos on them that seem to be given away at every conference or sporting event? I don’t buy bottled water at the store and always carry a reusable water bottle or a thermos with water when we travel so we don’t need anymore plastic water bottles. We had more plastic water bottles in our food storage drawer until I just said no to plastic water bottles!

Annie Kip of Plenty Perfect, my friend and fellow blogger, is organizing food storage cabinet and having her own National Match-Up Day. She has a very clever method of using her drinking glasses as storage containers. I love the double-duty-ness of that!

Now it’s your turn.
What does your food storage container drawer or cabinet look like these days?
Have you done your part in “National Match-Up Day?”

 Go Gingham related links:

National Match-Up Day: A step-by-step on how to clean and organize your food storage containers!
Once-a-month garbage collection and our recycling routine
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
Reusing glass jars and how to get them ready for re-use
Frugal grocery shopping – without coupons – yes, it’s true!
Fruit flies be gone – with lids from glass jars
*The Mayo Clinic has article about BPA and it’s health risks.

10 thoughts on “Organizing Food Storage Containers

  1. I use more plastic than glass – I sold tupperware for a while years ago, and could probably open my own store! But, every now and then, I get tired of all of the contents of the cabinet getting all mixed up, and I sit down on the floor with a beer (or two), and pull everything out. What matches gets put back, hopefully in a more orderly fashion. I don’t know if my family’s figured it out yet or not, but generally speaking, round containers go on the top shelf (with their lids stacked somewhat neatly), and square/rectangle containers go on the bottom shelf. If I’ve got a “leftover” that is Tupperware or Rubbermaid brand, they go into a mis-matched bag or box, in the hope that I will someday find the other half of it. If it’s not a brand-name container, out it goes!


    1. Oh, Cathy, I can picture you selling Tupperware! Yes, I’m sure your family knows the method you’re talking about – just like mine 😉
      I have to have a date to remind myself to do this clean out otherwise I end up with so many mis-matches.
      Plastic containers are one item that it’s not worth it to skimp on!
      Thanks, Cathy.


  2. I just have two drawers, and I throw everything in there and find matching lids and containers when I need them. But this is a good reminder–I know there are some containers with no lids and some lids with no containers (how does that happen?) and it’s time to cull out the orphans. I had no idea it was a nearly national holiday! 🙂


    1. I have no idea how this happens, Rita, but it does! I’ve tried to stretch it without a lid by using plastic wrap and a rubber band but it’s not quite the same.
      Yes, national holiday – please join in for next year 🙂 It’s the first Monday of October.
      Thanks, Rita!


    1. Completely nerdy! That’s what my family says and yet there they all are borrowing my label maker. It never ceases to amaze me that very things they make fun of are the ones they do.
      I love my label maker! My MIL gave me one years ago and I don’t know how I lived before I had one.
      Thanks, Heidi!


  3. Thanks for starting this whole thing, Sara! It is a great idea to designate one day to take care of this – or else I would never get it done. I love the picture of your jars with the dill in them. So pretty!


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