February 24, 2020

Storage Container Hell

Ladies, I have a question. My wife has saved approximately 400 cottage cheese and margarine tubs and another 200 yogurt containers. The yogurt containers are the ones with the lids. Not the ones that are narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, making it nearly impossible to get the last little bit out.

Should I be concerned?

Supposedly, she has saved these to store leftovers in the refrigerator, and they do seem to be a handy size. However, when I open the refrigerator to get some margarine for my toast, I’m faced with searching through seven or eight margarine tubs until I find the one that contains margarine. I suppose this is to prevent leftovers from aging too long since it requires that every tub be inspected at least every time someone has toast or an ear of corn. But, I think this theory is flawed because I have personally opened containers that have no recognizable contents.

It doesn’t take much room to store the ones that are not in use because they nest neatly inside one another. This is another advantage of those lidded yogurt containers. It is impossible to nest the ones that look like a truncated cone. (When I learned that in geometry class, I never thought I’d use it. Chalk one up for Ms. Burnham.)

The lids are a different story, though. There’s no good way to store them. They don’t stack, and they end up in a pile that is, well, pile-shaped. High in the middle, low on the edges, so that when you throw another on the pile, it slides down and off the edge.

It’s really ugly.

You can try putting them in a cupboard, but after a while, you have to just pitch it in and slam the door. And when you want one, you have to survive the avalanche when you open the door. You also have to be sure that the lid you select matches the tub. They look the same, but they’re not. A fraction of a millimeter (is mixing of measuring systems allowed?) difference will either let air in, which is bad, or result in the tub spitting the lid into the corner of the refrigerator, also letting air in, which is bad.

It’s not as if my wife doesn’t have any other storage containers. She has lots. Some are even clear, so you can see what’s inside, and they all have lids that fit and aren’t split at the edge. Apparently, these are for the special leftovers, like when we have company or something. She may also save these nice containers for any leftovers that are sure to be used before they eat a hole through the side of the container.

There is one instance, though, where the margarine tub is without equal. Any leftover from any food that is even remotely Italian and has had tomato paste in the same room while it was being prepared will permanently stain any container composed of any material more porous than surgical stainless steel. The stain will not come out.

There are alternatives however. Buy only red containers. Don’t store Italian leftovers; live with it or pitch the container after use. Margarine tubs to the rescue. If you hold a margarine tub in your hand while attempting to decide if it’s large enough, it will become stained, but who cares, you’ve got one hundred ninety five more. It takes the decision right out of your hands. Pitch that sucker and forget about it.

So ladies, what do you say?

Should I schedule an intervention for my wife?

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