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November 22, 2017

The Great Annual Plastic Storage Clean Out

The older I become, the more quickly Thanksgiving comes out of nowhere. Or maybe that’s because it’s staying nice and warm well into November? Either way, I’ve started my preparations for the holidays which includes a step that some may find unusual, but useful.

I like to get my plastic food storage containers ready before the big food holidays come rolling in for several reasons:

  1. We’re about to use them a lot

  2. To assess what I have and

  3. To assess what I need and no longer need

 

For those hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners or parties, think about all of that potential food you’d like to send home with people but also don’t want to lose your nice pieces in the process. Or how about needing to store seven servings of mashed potatoes and only having enough to store four containers’ worth? Or needing a really large flat one to marinate something in but there’s no longer such a piece anywhere to be found in the cabinet or the entire house? All of those scenarios have happened to me, as did a groan of frustration following the realization that I was up Tupperware creek without a lid.

These days, I just make it a yearly chore to either clear off the kitchen table or spread a sheet on the floor and dump every plastic piece I’ve got on it and get to work matching lids and bodies.

For it to stay, every lid has to have a body. I can have more lids or bodies, but I can’t have a lid that goes to nothing, or vice versa. Those get set aside for later inspection. Everything else gets inspected for general non-grossness and durability. Then the pieces that pass muster get put back in their former state of organization, which is to say, shoeboxes, cause I’m classy.

 

The rogue pieces that are broken or don’t have a partner get inspected for the plastic number (or the resin code) and the ones that can be recycled are, and the rest are removed to the trash. Luckily, most plastics these days are recyclable (http://learn.eartheasy.com/2012/05/plastics-by-the-numbers/ ) but check with your county’s pickup service for more details on that.

Lastly, I make a list of pieces that I anticipate needing. If I’m hosting, I buy extra inexpensive pieces in both large and smaller sizes to send people home with that I have no desire to get back. I also think ahead to anticipate if those larger size ones will be needed this year that I don’t already have. Looking at these photos too, I also see where I’d like to get some stands and dividers to help what I do have stay more organized to avoid the “pulled out one piece and four others flew out at me too” scenario. It probably wouldn’t hurt either for me to try some of these stain-removal tricks (https://foodal.com/knowledge/cleaning/11-ways-remove-stains-plastic/) as well. Before you end up  marinating vegetables in a pitcher, get down and take an honest look at your plasticware collection.

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