Plastic Treasure

Here’s the Deal

At least once a year everyone should cull their plastic storage container hoard.  Everyone.  Once a year, at least.  Not only that national brand synonymous with plastic storage containers but all of the containers and lids ferreted-away.

That’s it, get in front of that pantry closet or down on your knees in front of the bottom cupboard cabinet and drag them all out. That includes the plastic containers we all keep. The ones that delivered sour cream, cottage cheese, or pitted dates. The ones we thought, when empty, would be just the right size for something or other, sooner or later.   Inarguable truth because we’re all thrifty (cheap) and don’t want to buy that national brand or any of the usually even yet more expensive alternatives.

All of them.  Get them out and piled on the floor or on a convenient countertop because you’re going to clean house.  Get them all out. Tops and bottoms and that’s the point.  While you’re about it, make sure you get all the odd pieces sitting in the dish drainer, or in the dishwasher.  Toss them into the “collection.”  Survey.  Amazing, no?

Here’s the idea.  You see it coming.  You either have more “tops” than you have “bottoms” or more “bottoms” than “tops.”  There will be bottoms that have no tops, tops that have no bottoms.  The odd-men-out are not halves of an estranged pair fated to be reunited.  Give it up.  Even if you have three of a particular top or bottom and five nearly corresponding bottoms or tops.  Stay with me here.  By logic, matching (or nearly so) tops and bottoms in equal counts are requisite for “pairs,” “pairs” are requisite for beneficial use.  No matter how certain you are the other “half” will turn up – isolate them and brace yourself for what’s coming!

You might ask yourself, “Where did all this junk, um, treasure come from?”  Complete sets or not, you remember with a smile Aunt Ester’s Fourth of July potato salad five years ago. Or with a grimace, the top half of the bottom half you appropriated to mix the fiberglass patch for Timmy’s canoe.  The endpoint, the aim, the raison d’etre is to take all the “odd’ pieces and pitch them into the garbage bin.  However environmentally unsound that is.  Prepare to mourn (a bit) when missing mates show up fresh from duty in the bathroom holding bobby-pins (I can explain “bobby pin” if enough people ask) or from the hothouse workbench doing duty drying pumpkin seeds for next spring’s garden.

Prepare to recover pantry or cupboard space.  So much space you might consider letting a room. Or allowing Uncle Sue to finally move in as part of your full-time and in-the-church-registry-photo household.  No longer will last summer’s canned tomato sauce languish on the pantry floor or at the back of the highest and most awkward shelf in the cupboard.  Canned tomatoes from last summer (or the summer before or the summer before that) might make it into pasta sauce before they are perilously near a never-recorded “best before” date. 

Don’t worry that you’ll not have enough containers to store last night’s leftover green beans or the bobby-pin detritus.  Those containers breed, they multiply.  They’ll be back.  They’ll not be back in matched pairs, but they will be back.  With a vengeance.

The purge completed; you will sleep better.  You will be admired by friends and family alike.  It is cathartic almost of Greek epic proportion.  Let us not venture into late-breaking news that plastic is less than healthy for food-storage.  Rumor.  Just rumor.  The jury is out, except at my house.

Getting through this, consider the wire coat hangers in the mudroom closet for next weekend.  That’s a dare.  (Maniacal laughter…   Ask yourself, “Was that me, or was that the coat hangers?”)

Next time…

© S P Wilcenski February 28, 2017

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