tame your plasticwareYou can keep your wire hangers -- the one thing that triggers my inner Mommy Dearest is a messy, overflowing cabinet of plastic storage containers. NO! MORE! PLASTIC! CONTATINERS! Forget the perfectly coordinated, cute Tupperware collection -- for most of us, the dreaded plasticware cabinet is a mess of takeout cups and mismatched tubs and lids. How do you tame the madness? We've got some ideas that will let you keep storing your leftovers without losing your mind.

1. Sort the plastic now. Before you start with your ingenious new plastic storage solutions, gather ye all the plastic-ware together. Make sure there's a lid for every container and a container for every lid. Any strays must depart from the container community and join the recycling bin. Also toss anything with cracks or other damage. Keep only your best containers.

2. Separate lids from containers. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, once you've sorted out your sets. But keeping these separate will save space.

3. Stack the lids together. And if you can keep the lids stacked together in something, all the better. Some cool ideas I've seen: Napkin holder, dish rack, pocket organizer, storage web, even a zip-lock bag will help save your sanity. 

4. Nest what you can. If you have sets of the same sized and shaped container, nest those all together. However, if you're like me, you probably have a hodge podge of random pieces. Sort everything by size and nest smaller pieces inside larger pieces. 

5. Keep containers in plastic bins. I know -- more plastic containers! But keeping your containers corralled inside bins give your cabinet a tidy appearance.

6. Vow to be more selective with your plastic-ware. Resist the temptation to hold onto every single takeout container that enters your home. Promise yourself that you'll toss your Gladware as soon as it cracks or a lid disappears. 

What does your plastic storage collection look like?

 

Image via Hugh Whitaker/cultura/Corbis