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Home Pros Reveal the Best Ways to Organize Containers With Lids — In Whatever Space You’ve Got

You don't want to miss their genius cereal box tip!

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It’s universal law, as tried-and-true as the force of gravity: Plastic food storage containers are destined to get mixed up, mismatched or simply lost. “Tupperware containers are notorious for getting disorganized because they have multiple parts that can get separated easily,” confirms organizer Lucy Milligan Wahl, of LMW Edits. “Factor in the various different sizes, shapes and brands, and food storage containers become very difficult to keep sorted.” Luckily, we’ve gathered some of the best-kept storage secrets to help you learn how to organize Tupperware and outsmart food-container-chaos once and for all. Just find your pantry style to discover the solution that’ll work best for you.

How to organize Tupperware if you have pull-out drawers

vertical Tupperware organization
2014 Annie Schlechter

1. Store lids easily by setting them on end

While keeping each lid attached to its container is the best way to prevent compartments from getting lost, that simply doesn’t work for most drawers which aren’t deep enough to allow you to stack containers. The solution: Simply slot lids vertically in drawers. This makes them super easy to grab and can fill in the gaps between nested containers. “You can also file the lids all together in one of the larger open containers — simply sort them from largest to smallest,” suggests organizer Regina Lark, of A Clear Path.

2. Create space with shelf dividers

These versatile tools can help you cordon off space for each of your Tupperware pieces — not only will this keep everything neat and sorted, it also makes it clear where each container should go when putting them away. And while you can buy shelf dividers online, it’s easy to make your own at home say experts: All you need is some sturdy cardboard or foam board and double-sided tape. Check out a quick how-to from DIYer @ZebsArtbeat here:

How to organize Tupperware if you have narrow shelves

1. Pretend they’re nesting dolls

Simply place smaller containers inside bigger ones. This makes it easy to pull out the large bins to access whichever receptacles you need, then place them back on the shelf. “The size of the larger bins doesn’t matter,” says Wahl. “Use whichever size fits your space best — just make sure the sides of the larger containers are high enough so that the lids won’t tip and fall all over each other.”

2. Corral lids with cereal boxes

Tupperware lids in cereal boxes

Simply cut open some small cereal boxes and place lids inside! The boxes keep them contained while sliding easily into more narrow spaces.

Another option? Magazine or file dividers. Just turn dividers on their side to fit narrow shelves, suggests Lark. They create the perfect place to sort all those lids while you nest the containers on the other shelves. “Keep the lids sorted by size or color so they’re easy to keep track of.”

Related: The File Folder Hack That Keeps Your Linen Closet Organized + More Brilliant Tips

How to organize Tupperware if you have wide shelves

1. Tap the stack strategy

With wide shelves, you can take advantage of the extra vertical space by keeping lids attached to their containers and stacking same-size pieces on top of each other. “This is one reason cabinets can be ideal for storage containers,” says organizer Eileen Roth, author of Organizing for Dummies. “Everything stays together, so lids don’t get lost.” She advises sticking with modular brands (Buy from Amazon,$31.99) that will balance neatly, so stacks don’t tip over and turn into a pile.

2. Get creative with cooling racks

If your cooling racks have longer legs, they can easily double as extra shelving in your cabinets, helping you take advantage of that precious vertical space. “Store smaller pieces underneath the racks and larger ones on top (or vice versa, depending on how high your racks are),” says Roth. “This way, you can easily grab and go, without upending any stacked pieces.”

Another genius way to use an oven rack to organize Tupperware?

How to organize Tupperware if you have a corner cabinet

1. Make your own lazy Susan

The biggest hurdle with a corner cabinet is often reachability, especially if the cabinet wasn’t designed with spinnable or pull-out shelves. If that’s the case for you, try creating your own lazy Susan. Simply take a large round baking pan, place a handful of marbles or large sturdy beads in a single layer in the bottom, then lay a second round pan on top. The marbles will allow the top pan to spin, giving you 360-degree access to whatever is on top. You can also glue a larger round plate to the top pan to give you extra space, as seen in this easy how-to video:

Now place your lazy Susan in the cabinet, stack your Tupperware on top of it, and turn the pan to access whatever you need. 

Watch this video from @OrganizedtoSave to see a Tupperware organization before and after!

To make *any* space Tupperware-friendly

1. Leave some wiggle room

Whether you use a drawer or cabinet, leave a bit of empty space, suggests Kathi Burns, CPO, author of How to Master Your Muck. “This is the spot where you can stash that random container from when your mom brought you leftovers, or that takeout box that’s too nice to toss,” she says. These are the items that often tip an organized storage container drawer into anarchy because they rarely fit into whatever system you’ve previously set up — but if there’s a dedicated space for “outsiders,” they won’t disrupt your system.

2. Skip pricy container sets

If you think getting one of those sprawling, multi-piece storage container sets will solve your organization woes, you may want to reconsider. “This is a common strategy people try, but it doesn’t seem to be sustainable because most sets don’t meet everyone’s needs, so you wind up with a lot of small or oddly shaped containers taking up space that never get used, and not enough space for the ones you do,” explains Wahl, adding that most people would be better off buying the individual shapes and sizes they need from the same product line.

Related: The Tension Rod Shelf Secret — and 8 Other Genius Ways To Organize a Small Pantry

For more organization tips, click through the links below:

The File Folder Hack That Keeps Your Linen Closet Organized + More Brilliant Tips

10 Small Closet Organizing Hacks From Pro Organizers That Will Change Your Life

The Tension Rod Shelf Secret — and 8 Other Genius Ways To Organize a Small Pantry

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