How to Organize Food Storage Containers – 3 Expert-Approved Tricks to Banish Toppling Towers

Discover the simple way to organize the dreaded tower of containers

kitchen storage with well organized shelves
(Image credit: Paul Massey)

No matter how organized your home is, there will always be that space that seems impossible to order. For many, that neglected area is the cupboard of storage containers. I, for one, have ignored the problems for too long, but that's all set to change.

Part of a polished modern kitchen is organization. For the most part, our kitchens are well-audited and have a sense of order, but there's one area that brings this persona down - your collection of food storage containers. Until now I was convinced these items were impossible to store and there was no other option other than towering lunch boxes that are forever toppling over. However, it turns out the professional organizers have a well-kept secret about the best way to put them away. Here are three tricks they swear by that promise to switch up your kitchen storage for good. 

1. Be selective with your collection

A kitchen with open shelving build above the kitchen cabinets displaying decorative objects

(Image credit: Read McKendree, styled by Matthew Gleason, for Wolf in Sheep Design)

One thing that contributes to this kitchen storage nightmare is the sheer amount of containers. We're all guilty of holding onto tubs and pots well past their best and continuing to save things that are actually useless, but being selective in what you keep is the easiest and quickest solution to the problem. 

'By and large, everyone has too many anyway so remove what's not needed,' says professional organizer Kim Corey. 'To start, edit out ones in bad condition or that don't match then store them with their covers on.' Once you've streamlined your collection, you'll have a better idea of the space needed for what remains. Depending on your kitchen style, a deep drawer or cabinet might be more appropriate.

2. Try nesting containers if space is limited

If you're anything like me your food containers are all haphazardly balanced on top of one other, making a tower so precarious that it could all come crashing down at any minute. To combat this Lisa Ruff from The NEAT method advises nesting your containers. 

'There are two ways we recommend storing your food storage containers, nested or paired,' says Lisa. 'If space is limited, opt for nesting bottoms together and storing lids upright in a separate bin.' This will instantly fix the current game of Jenga you play every time you need a container. 'If you have a small collection and available space, you can pair lids and bottoms together and arrange them in small stacks by size.,' Lisa adds. 

The way you arrange your food containers will vary depending on their size and the space available, but the same general method will apply. Combine with other generic kitchen cabinet organizing tricks to maximize space and instill order.

3. Store lids separately in drawers

kitchen drawers in off white kitchen with tiled backsplash

(Image credit: Eymeric Wilding Photography. Design: Mera Studio)

If you have a very mixed set of containers the nesting solution might not work for you but fear not - there is an alternative solution. 'Start by containing them inside a drawer instead of a cabinet so they can only go so far,' says Darla DeMorrow from HeartWork Organizing. 

Darla advises grouping similar shapes and sizes together and then utilizing a pan lin divider to organize all the lids in size order. 'A storage tray with deep sides and adjustable partitions works well (like this one from Amazon),' she says. This will make it easier to see all your lids to easily match them with their respective base, as well as up your kitchen drawer organization game.

That's all there is to it - your dreaded food container storage is now ordered in a way that's both practical and satisfying to look at. To ensure it never gets to become disordered again, conduct regular audits of your collection and ensure every member of the family knows where things go. 

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.