Too many containers, no matching lids?

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Blog

Do you have a cupboard filled with a selection of Tupperware containers? Does it all tumble out when you open the cupboard door? How easy is it to find the lid that fits the container? Most of us end up with more plastic containers than we need, and somehow also with lots of containers and lids that don’t belong together. Decluttering and organising your whole home can be time consuming. Why not start with a small project, which makes your kitchen look a bit better and increases your feel-good hormones? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to tackle your Tupperware and other plastic containers.

Gather ALL your plastic containers into one place

You might have a designated cupboard for all your plastic containers, or perhaps they’re hiding in several cupboards. Whatever scenario describes your kitchen, start by collecting all your plastic containers, and lids, from wherever they are into one place. This one place could be your kitchen work top, the dining table, the floor. Just remember that it needs to be large enough to hold all containers and lids. And also that you can stand or sit next to it in a comfortable position for about 20 minutes to sort through it.

A little game: match the lid with the container

Match up as many containers as possible with their lids. Put all the containers without a lid, and the lids without a container to one side.

Get rid of the lid

Doesn’t that rhyme beautifully? 😉 I can’t think of any use for a lid without a container, so I suggest to let go of all lids for which you don’t have the containers anymore. A lot of plastic can be recycled nowadays, so do a quick google search to find out if your local borough recycles this type of plastic.

I can think of uses for containers without a lid. So you might want to hold onto some of these, if you can also think of how you’ll use these containers. Later on in this blog post, I’ll talk a bit about what you can do with these containers (see point 6). However, you might not want to keep ALL of the containers without a matching lid. Let go of any that you’re certain of you’re not going to use anymore. Ones that are broken, very discoloured, flimsy, etcetera. Put the ones you might still use to one side.

Decision-making: which containers to keep/discard

Now it’s time to go through all the containers with matching lids. If you’re following the Marie Kondo method to make your decisions, ask yourself for every container with lid “Does this spark joy?”. If it does, keep it. Otherwise, let it go. The joy might be obvious at first sight when it’s a particularly aesthetically pleasing container. Perhaps it’s the colour or the shape that gives a tiny jolt of joy. For other containers the joy factor might be more in the purpose of the item. The size might be just right for certain foods, or uses. Or perhaps the joy is in the fact that it’s part of a selection of stackable containers.

Let go of all containers with lids that don’t spark joy, which probably includes the ones that are broken, very discoloured, flimsy, etcetera.

How to effectively store Tupperware

To keep things tidy, it’s usually best to store all items category by category. Your socks with your socks, all in one drawer or box, all batteries in the same place, and also….. all Tupperware together. In this way, it’s so much easier to find things when you’re looking for it. And also, to put away things when after you’ve used it. Another advantage of designating a specific storage space for every item you own, is that you can easily see when a category starts expanding. When that happens, you can easily assess the situation, and decide whether:

1) You need a larger storage space for those particular items


2) You need to do a mini declutter session to take control again

So, find a space in your kitchen where you can store all your plastic containers and matching lids. I’ve got all my larger containers in a rattan basket. And the matching lids in a cardboard box next to it. I’ve got all my smaller containers, which I use for the kids’ snacks, in a separate cupboard. This might work for you too if you can’t fit everything into one cupboard.

Containers without lids

I think there are two things you can do with containers without lids:

  1. If you’re in the process of decluttering and organising other parts of your home, or even your kitchen, you can put these containers to one side, and see if you can use them as storage containers. I love using plastic containers in drawers, as dividers so that items don’t start moving around and start mingling with items from different categories. This “mingling” usually makes drawers look messy. And once something looks a bit messy, it often becomes a lot messier really quickly. Mess attracts mess, a lot of the time.

  2. If you’re not going to use them as storage containers, you can store containers without lids together with the containers which do have matching lids. My family and I use plastic containers without matching lids for things such as:
  • Lego projects. We divide the lego bricks over several containers, to make it easier to find the bricks.

  • Any beads related project. Aquabeads, ironing beads, beads for necklaces and bracelets. We use plastic containers to separate by colour, style, or size.

A quick step-by-step guide to sorting out your Tupperware NOW

To summarise, here’s what I suggest doing with your Tupperware this weekend. It can be really satisfying to work on a small project, finish it, and feel a bit of joy every time you open that kitchen cupboard.

  1. Gather all your plastic containers and lids into one place.

  2. Match containers with lids.

  3. Let go of lids without a matching container.

  4. Ask yourself for every container, both with and without a matching lid, if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Containers/lids that are broken, flimsy, very discoloured, etcetera probably don’t spark joy.

  5. Store all the containers and lids that you’re keeping in one place.

Please do let me know how you get on with it, and how you feel every time you open your kitchen cupboard with your newly organised plastic containers. It will probably not be life changing, but I can almost guarantee that it gives you a little bit of joy.

Woman sitting at the table with her hands up in the air in a desperate manner, with a mock desperate look on her face, with lots of plastic (tupperware) containers in front of her.

"If I find one more piece of Tupperware that doesn’t have a matching lid, I’m going to blow my stack."

Paul DiSclafani

"Thank you so much. I’m going to sleep now with a grin of satisfaction on my face just thinking of all the tidy clothes in my closet!"

Michèle, Peckham

"Hester is patient but persistent. I was able to get rid of more than I thought I would and it feels great!"

Melanie, Charlton

"I can’t express just how much Hester has helped me so far. It is so much more than decluttering. It also helps so much to let go of the past and move on!"

Rita, Brockley

"I didn’t know I could achieve so much by tidying and storing items in a different yet simple way. The time spent with Hester was both very productive and pleasant. The right comments always came at the right time and the results are amazing. It never felt so easy and effortless to keep my flat tidy, even with a child around."

Maggie, Lewisham