How to Organize Leftovers


by Rebecca Jul 2nd, 2010 // Organization

How to Organize Leftovers

This is not the most glamorous post I’ve ever written, but I hope it’s helpful. Cooking with My Kid every day involves a whole lot of left overs. Leftovers were making me crazy because my fridge was a mess so I came up with a system that has been working really well. With this new system, my fridge and freezer both look incredibly organized and now I can actually find things before they go bad. Here’s how the system works…

Cooking with My Kid’s Guide to Organizing Leftovers

1) Resist the urge to purchase Food Storage Sets.
If you have them already, get rid of them. You know the kind I’m talking about with 36 pieces all of various sizes. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the different lids and you will be constantly fussing to get everything to fit in the cabinet properly.

2) Get the right size Storage Containers.
Pick two or three sizes/shapes that you feel you will use often. Remember, you can always put leftovers in two different containers if its too big to fit into one.

3) Buy multiples.
Once you’ve picked your standard two or three sizes, get multiples of those sizes only. Get at least 6 containers in each size. For example: you’d buy six 1 cup containers, six 2 cup containers and six 4 cup containers. That’s it.

4) Color code the lids.
Be sure that each size has a different lid color. For example: All six of your 1 cup containers have red lids, all six of your 2 cup containers have green lids and all six of your 4 cup containers have clear lids.

5) Start Stacking
Because the containers are all the same size you can neatly stack them inside each other both in your cabinet and in your fridge. I highly recommend you get the types of containers that allow you to stack the lids below the containers. This saves a lot of room.

6) Use Twixits
Buy a set of Twixit bag clips (details below) to maximize your space. They keep bagged food really fresh. We use them in a million different ways.  From clipping frozen and fresh veggies to removing chicken nuggets from the box and clipping the interior bag they come in. This really saves a ton of room.

Check out how organized my food storage cabinet looks! This looks organized because it is. It will also save you a lot of time and aggravation when you want to put away food.

Here’s a peak inside my fridge. See how having the containers all the same size makes it look neat and easy to find things? When I’m storing in the fridge I try to only use glass containers. I find that the food tastes better.

Here’s a shot of my freezer. We use freezer safe BPA free containers to keep the food fresh. Rubbermaid has a list of containers that do not contain BPA. Be sure to read the list before purchasing plastic storage products. BPA is nasty stuff. Note: my red lid containers are the same size square with the same size lid but one is double the height of the other. This is an excellent way to sneak in an additional size without messing with the system.

These are Twixit clips. They live in a baggie in my silverware drawer and I use them for everything.

Here’s a Twixit in action on a bag of frozen meatballs. The meatballs stay fresh and I don’t have to transfer them to a container or ziplock. Genius.

Here’s are some links to the types of containers I have.  If I were starting from scratch today I’d buy in the following quantities:
2 Sets of RED Rubbermaid 7J95 Easy Find Lid Medium Value Pack Food Storage Containers
2 Sets of BLACK Rubbermaid 7J94 Easy Find Lid Food Small Value Pack Storage Containers
1 Set of Crate & Barrel Clear Glass Storage Bowls with Lids
1 Set of Twixit Clip Bag Sealers

Check out how the larger containers have red lids while the smaller containers have green lids. The glass containers have clear lids which are neatly tucked inside the large containers.

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12 Comments on “How to Organize Leftovers”

  1. 1.) Macki
    July 2nd, 2010

    What a great post! Rebecca, your recipes and advice are amazing. Thank you!

  2. 2.) Kandas
    July 3rd, 2010

    I am filled with freezer envy. My freezer is on the bottom with a pull out drawer that is a funky shape and it is very much impossible to keep organized. Thanks for the great tips!! I like long, flat storage containers. It seems that I can fit more in my fridge with them. Thanks for your awesome tips!!

  3. 3.) sarah
    July 7th, 2010

    Very helpful post! I posted a link to this on my blog: <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  4. 4.) beth
    July 8th, 2010

    I just found your site through prudent baby. As luck would have it – one of my summer goals is to have my kids in the kitchen – and in fact, to teach them each how to make one meal – start to finish. This post is a great one – my husband is driven to drink with our storage system at the present..!!

  5. 5.) Marketing Mommy
    July 8th, 2010

    Theoretically I love my Rubbermaid and IKEA sets with all the different sizes, but you've shown me the light. My "tupperware" drawer will thank you later.

  6. 6.) Liliane
    July 9th, 2010

    That was a very helpful, could you tell me the price of the objects used to organize the refrigerator?
    thank you!

  7. 7.) Caryl
    July 10th, 2010

    Thank you so much for the wonderful post! It was so helpful! My partner and I are registering and this advice will lead us away from the large storage kits many register for. Thank you!

  8. 8.) Kathy - Panini Happy
    July 18th, 2010

    What great tips! I especially appreciate the advice to buy similar sized containers. That's a brilliant idea and should solve my Tupperware storage problem.

  9. 9.) Nhiro
    July 19th, 2010

    I bought a bag of those clips from IKEA. They really are useful.

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