Which food storage containers are the best?

by Kristen on March 5, 2014 · 73 comments

in Frugal Basics, Reviews

Which Food Storage Containers are Best?
I’m kind of a container nut.

I don’t know what it is, but I just really, really love containers, especially if they’re beautiful and durable. I could seriously spend waaay too much money on them.

Because I’m a container fan, I’ve tried out quite a few different varieties, and so I thought it would be fun to put together a comparison/review post.

To-Go Ware Sidekick Stainless Steel Containers

I have several To-Go Ware sidekick containers, which I mainly love for lunch-packing purposes.

to-go ware sidekick containers

They’re fairly expensive, but they’re 100% stainless steel, which means they’ll last pretty much forever and won’t absorb any odors.

However, since they’re opaque, I prefer not to store refrigerated food in them, because if I can’t see what I have, I’m way more likely to waste it.

Spencer Stainless Steel

I splurged and bought a set of these when they were on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.

pottery barn kids stainless steel set

For the price, you’d have thought they’d be super-duper awesome, but I am sad to say that the lid on the smallest container has split in three places, and we’ve had this set for less than a year.

IMG_9937

The other lids are holding up so far, and maybe that’s because with a bigger container, less stress is put on the corners during the opening process.

Still, I’m pretty disappointed in these, and I can’t exactly give them a hearty recommendation.

GladWare

There are several different brands of these semi-disposable containers…I think Ziploc makes some too.

glad ware

Because these aren’t designed to last forever, they’re not my first choice for food storage.  However, they are WAY less expensive than glass or stainless steel, so if you’re on a limited budget and are looking for something less disposable than plastic wrap or plastic bags, these are a good first step.

They’re handy to have for divvying up leftovers after a large meal (I don’t want to send my stainless steel containers home with someone!) and I’ve also used them to freeze things like applesauce.  You do have to be careful with these when they’re frozen, though, as they’re a little brittle and prone to cracking when they’re that cold.

The Gladware variety is BPA-free and recyclable, so when these reach the end of their useful life, you can at least recycle them.

Rubbermaid Food Storage

This is pretty much what I exclusively used when I got married and first had my own kitchen.  It’s changed a lot since then, so I’m not really qualified to speak to how the quality of the Rubbermaid stuff is now.  However, I’ve had my containers for well over a decade, and they’re holding up well.

Rubbermaid Food Storage

They’re plastic, though, and they do have melting issues in the microwave.  I mostly use mine for freezing purposes these days (like when I make applesauce or freezer jam.)  As with the Gladware, though, you have to operate with care while the container is frozen, as it gets a little bit brittle.

Rubbermaid is very affordable, and since their containers are plastic, you might like these if you and your household are prone to dropping things on hard surfaces.  ;)

Mason Jars

Mason jars are especially great storage containers for things that are liquids.  I use mine to hold my homemade yogurt, of course, but I also store leftover soup in them.

Mason Jars for storing food

Ball makes some great plastic storage caps, which I dearly love (that’s the white lid in the photo), and if you have narrow mouth jars, you can use the lids from grated Parmesan cheese containers.

(I know. That isn’t very high-brow cheese, but my kids do love to sprinkle it on their pizza!)

And if you’re using the jars for storage and not for canning, there’s nothing wrong with just reusing a regular band and lid.

Pyrex Glass Storage Containers

I’ve saved these for last because they are pretty much my very favorite.

small Pyrex food storage containers

They’re glass with plastic lids, which means that I can see what they hold.  For that reason, they trump stainless steel food storage for me.

pyrex food storage

Also, they come in a ridiculous array of sizes and shapes, which means I can use them for almost any food storage need.

Pyrex lidded rectangular dishes

I store leftovers in them, use them to pack Mr. FG’s lunches, take them to the store to buy packaging-free chicken, and store baked-goods in them.

I also love to use the small rectangular containers to store cheese once it’s been opened (as you can see in the photos in this post, I store ‘em upside down so I can see what’s inside.)

Note: Anchor Hocking makes similar containers, but I’ve had terrible luck with their lids…they keep cracking, while my Pyrex ones have had almost no splitting issues.

If you’re looking to get into Pyrex storage, I’d recommend this 10-Piece Set Pyrex set as a great starter.

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Since this isn’t a comprehensive post (I haven’t tried All Of The Containers In The World.), I’d love to hear from you.  What food storage containers are your favorites?

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie March 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

This is a very helpful post. I also love the pyrex storage containers. I would love to replace more of my plastic but it’s not in the budget right now. Our chinese take out place uses pretty heavy plastic rectangular containers with nice tight lids, so I tend to use these to pack lunches or store leftovers.

I would love a post on how you store and organize all of these containers, as that is one place I struggle. I have a drawer – that is a disaster! The lids drive me crazy and the drawer is always in disarray. Not sure I have cabinet space to spare right now, but some inspiration on storage might help.

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2 Anne March 5, 2014 at 7:56 am

Mum has heaps of plastic containers.
She keeps the containers themselves on a shelf as she only has 2 large drawers in her kitchen and her pots and pans fill those, the lids are stored separately in a large shopping style plastic basket.
That solution may work for you, she stores all sorts of containers like that, from Tupperware with it’s life long guarantee to plastic margarine, cottage cheese, and yoghurt tubs.

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3 Angela March 5, 2014 at 9:39 am

I keep mine in a drawer but with the help of a hurricane that took out our kitchen several years ago, I concluded I don’t need as many as one might think. My #1 rule is, everything gets stored with the lid ON. I have a family of 4 and I have 6 rectangle ones that I stack 2-3 deep in the drawer and the rectangle ones fit nicely side by side (again…with their lids on)I’ve found that having less of them helps avoid food waste because if they’re all in my fridge and I need more, that means it’s time to clean out my fridge and eat what I’ve already stored in them before fur starts growing. That’s what I call “leftover night” where everyone picks their fave leftover out of the fridge. I also have 3 round ones but I never use them. I like to go from oven to fridge with them and I’ve just never found anything that I like to cook in the round ones. Everyone loves my pyrex drawer. With the lids on, it always looks so neatly organized.

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4 Sher March 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I also store all my containers with the lids on them in a big bottom drawer in our kitchen. If it doesn’t have a matching lid it goes to the basement pantry in a catch all bin just in case the match makes an appearance :)

I also try to keep my collection to a minimum…if it doesn’t fit in the drawer we have too many containers!

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5 Marianne March 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

I think I fall into the I collect containers category.
What I lack is one that holds up in the freezer. I do not like to put my Pyrex in the freezer because of the lids. I am afraid it will ruin them. I currently use Ziploc to freeze in but they frequently crack.
Thanks for the cheese lid info!! Those fit great on the Ball jars-Yay! I was going to buy some of the plastic lids as my metal ones are getting yucky. I have tried a number of other lids and none fit well (like mayo lids). Those cheese lids will work great on the puppy biscuit jars-just pop the top instead of unscrewing it. The dogs will be pleased…

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6 Angela March 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

I use mason jars, ziploc freezer bags, and Vacuum Seal for freezer storage. Mason jars to freeze soups or sauces, ziploc freezer bags for short term freezer storage, and I use my Vacuum Seal for long term freezer storage of non-liquid type items. I’ve never experienced a ziploc freezer bag cracking in the freezer.

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7 Not Beehive March 5, 2014 at 8:03 am

My favorite containers are made by Lock & Lock. The lids are very airtight — my kids bring lunch in them and they’ve never leaked. They have some sets that nest; others don’t. WOOT used to sell them quite frequently but it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them there. I’ve bought some at QVC (I was desperate!) but the sizes are more limited and the prices higher than the old WOOT sets.

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8 Pseudo March 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

We also LOVE the Pyrex containers (as somebody very amazing and awesome got us our first starter set!). However, the only gripe I have with them is I have noticed they aren’t the best to bring leftover soup (or other liquids) to work as they tend to leak when they’re not always upright. Any suggestions/advice (other than to keep them upright :-p)?

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9 ann a March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

We have a couple of Pyrex No Leak Lids. I wish we had more. I don’t know if they can be purchased separate from the containers. They have a removable inner ring that makes them more air right than the other Pyrex lids. They also have a steam vent. Some things that help keep the regular Pyrex lids fitting well are not putting the lids in the dishwasher, and not sealing them closed when using them in the microwave. If I use them in the microwave, I just set them loosely over the top, off center. Otherwise they get sucked down into the container. Another tip for packing them is to wrap the container in a tea towel before putting in a waterproof bag. That way if it leaks a little, at least you don’t have a giant mess on your hands.

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10 Angela March 5, 2014 at 9:25 am

Pyrex has the no leak lid option but I found that the lids are so tight that I end up spilling the soup trying to get the lid off. I’ve found mason jars are best for soup.

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11 Jenessa March 5, 2014 at 10:06 am

I have several Glasslock containers that so far seem indestructable and completely leak proof. I got a set of them at Costco several years ago and have been amazed at how well they work. They are also great for using in a cooler since they also don’t let in any water from melted ice.

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12 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm

What about Pyrex’s new snapping line? I think it’s called Snapware, and it looks like it would be more leak-proof than regular Pyrex.

I do send regular Pyrex in Mr. FG’s lunchbox, but his is semi-rigid and it’s usually packed so full, a soup container couldn’t possibly tip over unless the whole lunchbox went upside down!

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13 Valerie March 5, 2014 at 8:33 am

I use most of what you mention, although I guess I don’t have the pyrex sets although I do have another brand that is similar that I got at Home Goods, it was 2 large round I think they are 2 qts each, they weren’t terribly expensive I bought them to hold homemade ice cream.
My mom bought me a round set of the Lock N Lock (QVC-she is obsessed!) and they are OK, I would never spend that kind of money for plastic and the tops aren’t the easiest to lock on cause they are round. I also have another that I got at Home Goods that is glass, square and the lock and lock style lid. I like that one. I prefer glass over plastic (really for no reason other than I LOVE LOVE LOVE glass) but for certain things I need to use the Gladware/Ziploc.
When I make soup (I refuse to buy soup) I put it in the wide mouth Ball pint jars and freeze them and then my husband takes them to work. I also make big batches of Spaghetti and freeze in 2qt Wide Mouth Ball Jars (also bigger batches of soup for dinner meals) and I do the same with homemade broth.
I tried pressure canning Soups, broths and spaghetti sauce and it changed the flavor of the contents so I just freeze all that.
I also make up a batch of steel cut oats about every 5 days and then divvy them up into the 1/2 pt jars and 1/4 pt jars and put them in the frige. Then every morning I just pop out my premeasured 1/2c amount and mix it with my peanut butter, coconut, coconut oil and maple syrup. Hubby uses the 1 cup and only adds sugar and milk. Steel cut oats reheat much butter than rolled.
I have over 300 jars (about 180 came from one person on CL for $170 which included a whole set up for canning EVERYTHING-he was in DIRE STRAIGHTS and we didn’t even try and bargain) and I use them as much as possible for- Holding dry goods, freezing everything, refrigerating, mason jar soap dispensers, and even kinda display them in my kitchen (where else does one keep 150+ unused jars).
Mason jars are so nice, I even will put a half an onion in one (Oh and I chop them and put them in the freezer too until needed) they are better than plastic since they won’t hold flavors or leak flavors. The first time I chopped a bunch of onions and froze them I put them in baggies and my freezer smelled like onions for a few weeks. The jars solve that problem.
My only complaint about the Ball jars is those plastic lids are NOT water tight, so i don’t put liquids in unless it is something like BBQ sauce that I know will be sitting up at all times. In other words I don’t put soups in there since my hubby takes them and puts them in a bag and I’m not sure it stays upright on his way to work.

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14 ann a March 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

I agree–we use jars for onions, too! Plastic for onions literally stinks :-)

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15 Janknitz March 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Ditto for me–I LOVE mason Jars and they come in so many sizes. I use them to carry my lunch to work, and heat things in the microwave there, as well as storage. Aftermarket vendors make a small cup that fits inside a wide mouth mason jar to keep something like dressing separate from the salad below. And you can get lids with pour spouts, too. My second choice is the pyrex containers. they’re great!

I am trying to make my kitchen as plastic free as possible. Even so-called “BPA free” has plastics that may still be harmful. The jury is out on whether BPA is really harmful or not, but my take on it is the fact that BPA compounds are showing up in our bloodstreams, urine, and breastmilk and they do NOT belong there, harmful or not.

Instead of plastic containers, my daughter has stainless steel “LunchBots” to pack a bento-like lunch. They are pricey but wear very well. I also purchase “tiffins” from Cost Plus for my lunches–these stacked, stainless steel containers are very cute and useful and their prices are reasonable.

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16 Chelsea March 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I just encountered a brand called Intelligent Lids for Mason jars. They have storage and drinking lids and both have a rubber gasket in them to make them better for liquids. Perfect for taking soup for lunch! I’m loving the drinking lid, especially since it closes to prevent big spills. (Due to the air hole, the drinking lids aren’t completely non-spill.)

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17 Alica March 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

I’ve become a big fan of the Rubbermaid square containers…the ones that look like glass, and don’t stain when used for leftover spaghetti, for example. I like the squares because they’re easier to store in my cupboards. Those Pyrex containers look really nice too!

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18 Diane C March 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I use these, too. I inherited them from my DH when we got married. I generally prefer glass, butI love that these don’t stain or hold odors, plus they seal really well.
However, I’ve noticed that we have a number of lids with no clear containers. Does anyone know if Rubbermaid sells replacement parts for the Premier series? I have three of the 7″ red lids but nothing to put them on. They are too good to throw away, so I’d love to find a source for replacements.

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19 ann a March 5, 2014 at 8:58 am

My husband uses a Pyrex to take his lunch every day. I used one for years, but I am a big snacker so my bag was getting pretty heavy with all that glass. :-). I also carried milk in old salad dressing jars, cereal in old jam jars, chutneys in old baby food jars, etc. Heavy. And noisy in my desk droor. :-). Now I use the glass containers for storing leftovers in the fridge, and I still keep some things in glass at work, but I try to avoid carrying them to and fro. So I transfer my lunch to plastic containers to take them in my bag, and then heat them up in a ceramic bowl I keep in my desk (if they need to be heated). I reuse plastic cheese containers for this: we buy Parmesan and feta in little round containers with snapping lids. I have maybe seven total. The cheese costs a little more when packaged that way, but I’ve used the containers several times a week for a few years. We also buy yogurt in large containers (we go through one a week) and reuse those for sending leftovers home with people. The lids work on the cheese containers, too. All do great in the dishwasher. (I don’t use the heated dry option.)

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20 ann a March 5, 2014 at 8:59 am

Droor = drawer. :-)

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21 Lucy March 5, 2014 at 9:07 am

I switched from plastic to Pyrex about 5-6 years ago, and I have been a big fan ever since. With a coupon or on clearance, the sets can be very affordable and last forever (I bought two sets years ago and am still using them). I have lost three lids due to cracking, but I don’t think that’s too bad of a track record for products these days.

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22 Lucy March 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

Oops, that was just supposed to be a comment on the original post! :)

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23 Emily M March 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I have the snacky problem too! I always bring a little thing of this and that, and my purse gets pretty heavy!

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24 Danielle March 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

I am making the switch to glass food storage. I was given an excellent 34 piece Pyrex set for Christmas and I love it! It came with a great variety of sizes. I noticed that the Pyrex containers were on clearance at my local Target yesterday, but I wasn’t sure what is considered a “good buy” on the individual ones so I passed. How much would you say is average to spend on them?

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25 Angela March 5, 2014 at 9:23 am

If you can get them for $5 each or less, you’re getting a good deal. Otherwise, they typically run $8+ each. The best prices I’ve found is online with Samsclub (10containers/10lids $20) ; Amazon (5 containers/5 lids $18) and if you have the prime membership, the shipping is free. And I found a set at Big lots for $15 (5 containers/5 lids). Rectangle stores easier than round but the starter sets typically have a couple of each. Also, I’ve never found a use for the really small ones. I’d rather use a ziploc baggie for something that small.

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26 Danielle March 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Thanks!

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27 Angela March 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

My faves are recycled jars (from salsa, jelly, etc), the glass pyrex with the rubber lids, and freezer gallon/quart baggies. I like all three first, because you can see what’s in them. My food waste always increases when someone uses a non-see through container to put leftovers in. In my house, if they have to open it to find out what’s in it, it goes unopened and next thing you know it’s growing fur. I love the jars because they’re air tight. I like the pyrex because they stack easy and you can see what’s in them. I especially like that I can put them in the oven and then straight to the fridge when they’ve cooled off. I love my quarter/gallon freezer baggies because not only can you see what’s in them but, they store easy in the fridge when you’re at capacity and just have a crack or crevis here and there left on the shelf.

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28 Battra92 March 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

My kitchen right now is mostly Pyrex, Rubbermaid and Ball/Kerr/Golden Harvest (all the same company) canning jars.

The Rubbermaid set is good but is seeing some wear and tear. It’s nothing that affects performance but the plastic is a bit scratched. I also will not put anything tomato related (e.g. pasta sauce) in the Rubbermaid because it will stain.

The Pyrex are my favorite as well (though I think the Rubbermaid glass set stacks better and would try that first if cupboard space was a premium.

I too use canning jars for yogurt (probably because I learned how to make yogurt from you) and I use them for homemade peanut butter and freezing homemade chicken stock. They are great also for storing stuff like cocoa powder, non-diastatic malt powder, popcorn kernels etc. They are great but I would hate to have them be my *only* choice.

One great thing that I didn’t see mentioned is that all three of these products are made in the USA and not in China. That means a lot to me.

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29 Jo March 5, 2014 at 10:02 am

I LOVE glass for food storage. Sometimes, I find that the Pyrex lids don’t seal very well, but I did notice that they have a leak-proof version in stores now. I have some plastic stuff, but I refuse to buy it anymore. I’m really trying to not use plastic for food storage, and certainly not for heating. A few of my oldest pieces have been repurposed to storing dry things like jar rings or smaller bags of dry goods. What I’d really like to find are affordable bulk canisters that aren’t plastic for flour, etc.!

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30 Charlotte March 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

I like to keep jelly jars and the gladware-like storage containers that sandwich meat comes in. They are handy for storing things, and for sending food home with people. I wrote this blog about it a while back:http://charlottesempire.blogspot.com/2013/08/reusable-containers.html

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31 Maggie March 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

I’m a big fan of my collection of old yogurt/butter/sour cream containers. They seem to last forever, and I have enough shapes and sizes that I can fit pretty much anything into them. I’ve also found that they hold up better than the Ziploc/Rubbermaid/Gladware ones when thrown in the freezer.
For freezing larger amounts of leftovers (like when I make a double batch of hot dish and want to freeze half for a quickie dinner), I can’t beat gallon size plastic bags (washed and reused! I’m pretty sure I’m still using a few bags my grandma used). I love that I can lie them flat, freeze the contents, then stand them up like little soldiers in my freezer.
And finally, we reuse glass and plastic jars from things like jam and applesauce. I prefer putting extra meat into glass containers, and sometimes we’ll even put our morning coffee in a jar to go (they’re great for me, because as a pilot I have yet to find a cup that’s truly leak-proof in the face of takeoff and turbulence! Glass jars do the trick). Just wrap a sock around the jar to keep from burning yourself, and you’re good to go!

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32 Pamela March 5, 2014 at 10:37 am

Someone gave me a set of Lock n Lock containers a few years back and I reeaaallly like them. I won’t ever send leftovers home w/someone in them! They do not leak at all, even upside down. I am reluctant to use them in the microwave, just me being weird. I like glass for that. Several years ago, I decided to do battle with the storage containers and bought a giant tub at Target. Everything is in there now and I can organize them inside of that. Much better!

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33 Lili@creativesavv March 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

Best lunch-bag, plastic container I’ve used — I send a lot of liquidy items (fruit sauces, soups, yogurt parfaits) in lunches with hubby, and 3 kids, 5 days/week. These items go into backpacks and get tossed around, a lot. Ziploc has a round, 16 oz. screw on lid, plastic container that is awesome. It doesn’t leak. The screw-on lid works very well. We’ve used the same batch of containers for about 7 years now, and I’ve only had one crack (it got smashed).

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34 Barb March 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

I love the white lids for the mason jars, but definitely find that my yogurt does not last as long in them as it does when I just use the band and lids on them. Weird!

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35 HeidiC March 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

I love using mason jars to store all sorts of things in (from popcorn to soup to candy) and have recently found one-piece metal lids for them available in all sorts of colors at http://www.fillmorecontainer.com. You can get plain metal or plastisol lined so they are more watertight. They even have some that can be used for home canning! I can’t wait to try that as I’ve always disliked the 2-pc lids. Then, after they’ve been used for canning, they can be reused for storage and will look great on the counter!

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36 Shawna March 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

I bought a set of children’s silverware from Pottery Barn Kids a few years ago and they broke very easily. I called them and they sent me another set at no cost. You might try calling them and letting them know and see what they will do. 😊

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37 Emily March 5, 2014 at 11:40 am

How do you buy packaging-free chicken? Have you written a post about this?

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38 Stephanie March 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I love my Pyrex containers! We’re really making an effort to get away from one-use plastic. I do use the Glad containers, though, for packing my lunch for work. Our parking is about 6 blocks away from the office and carrying heavy containers isn’t going to work for me.

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39 Becky Miller March 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I love my Tupperware Modular Mates for organizing my cabinets. They are pricey, but I’ve had mine over 10 years. They go on sale in January.

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40 Katy @ Purposely Frugal March 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I have a couple of glass pyrex containers and love them! I mostly use tupperware, and I even have a few plastic containers that sandwich meat came in, I use them a TON!
I also do the parmesian lid trick! :)

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41 Chelsea March 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I love using Pyrex storage and Mason jars for my food storage. Long-term dry goods storage is all done in Mason jars and sealed with a vacuum sealer attachment used with my 2nd hand Seal-a-Meal. We also use a lot of Bormoli or vintage flip-top glass jars with rubber gaskets for dry goods that we get into every day. Most of those I’ve picked up at the thrift store and just ordered new gaskets for (look for ones that say “Italy” or “Made in Italy” for best quality). I’ve also seen them very reasonably priced at places like Home Goods and TJ Maxx. I pair all my storage with LabelOnce labels, which makes them so easy to label and keep track of.

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42 Jessy M March 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I bought a whole bunch of the glass Ziploc containers with coupons about a year ago and now all of the plastic lids don’t fit on the glass bottoms anymore. Very annoying. I did use them in the freezer so maybe if you kept them out of very cold temperatures they would be fine. Just a warning!

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43 Suz March 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I love my Pyrex… I also just tried Anchor Hocking’s new True Seal lids (I had the same splitting issues with their normal plastic lids, but the glass containers held up fine, so I wanted to put them to use) – anyway, have had them for several months and so far they’ve held up great!

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44 Sarah March 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I LOVE my pyrex containers. Besides storage purposes, I like that I can use them to serve of sides at the dinner table (we are all fairly light eaters in our family of 4). I also use rubbermaid, and those are pretty good too, but they do tend to stain with tomato based foods.

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45 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Yes! I like that Pyrex is beautiful enough to use as a serving dish…with the lid off, it’s simple and classy.

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46 Tina Barrett March 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I love storage containers, too! Lately, I have been buying vintage glass pyrex bowls and lids at thrift stores. They are usually a couple dollars. They come in fun colors or designs, and they pretty up the dinner table on leftover night. ;) The draw back is that the lids on vintage pyrex do not snap on tight for storage, but a rubber band slipped across the lid and over the handles of the dish solves that problem. I have also discovered that the lids from plastic peanut butter jars also fit on regular mouth canning jars.
It makes me happy when I can reuse a peanut butter lid vs. throwing it in the recycle bin.

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47 WilliamB March 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Summary: TellFresh!

I have stringent requirements for kitchen storage containers. Ideally they are:
- rectilinear
- lids that don’t stick out from the container
- stackable
- not heavy
- not very breakable
- freezer, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher safe
- clear or translucent
- stain resistant
There is nothing that fits all these requirements. Glass is stain resistant and doesn’t offgas in the microwave, but it’s heavy and breakable, stacks very poorly, and takes up a lot of room for the container itself (ie the walls are thick).

My favorite is TellFresh, which I buy at The Container Store. The bottom pix of a guest post I wrote for The Mrs, is a pix of my TellFresh cabinet. (I have a lot of cabinet space; the TellFresh could take up half the space if necessary.)
http://www.themrs.ca/2012/03/guest-post-how-to-organize-your-pantry.html
It’s BPA-free rather than glass, so tomatoes stain and not as easy to wash as glass. Other than that it meets all the requirements. They’ve done well by me for over a decade and I expect the trend to continue.

Anchor Hocking, on the other hand, is not doing well by me. I need to rattle some cages (to put it politely) to find out why they’re not honoring their warranty. They may want to tell me, 3 years after purchase, that the warranty doesn’t cover lids and that the lids need special treatment. BUT … I have the original packaging and can prove that there are no such instructions for the lids and that the warranty has no such exclusion.

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48 WilliamB March 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm

PS – for food I give to others, whatever comes in the door free or repurposed is perfect.

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49 Diane C March 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Hi WilliamB, I just checked out your great article at The Mrs. I noticed that Adventuresindinner has the same question as I do, but I don’t see the answer. What are the “standing thingies” you use for your baking pans and accessories? I need (okay, want) something like that. Is it something that you bought at *The Container Store* perhaps?
P.S. Last night we went out for my birthday. We walked past TCS after dinner. It was closed, alas, but I could actually feel the money I was saving as we passed by.

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50 WilliamB March 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Why yes, Diane, I did – how did you guess?

A solution was surprisingly hard to find, but eventually these came in stock:
http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/pantryOrganizers/shelfOrganizers?productId=10000707&N=74108
There are two in that cabinet.

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51 Bernadette March 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I am with Emily. Do you take your containers to the store? Have you done a post on this? I would love to cut down on the packaging and buy from the deli but I have not gotten bold enough to bring in my containers and ask them to put my sliced ham, chicken, etc. in my containers. Have you done this? Thank you for all of your wonderful posts. I thoroughly enjoy your site.

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52 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I’ve only done this at our small, locally owned organic market. They just weigh my container and subtract the weight when they ring up my chicken. I’ve never been brave enough to ask at a conventional grocery store!

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53 WilliamB March 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

I wonder if sanitary regulations would allow but if anyone tries, please report back.

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54 Elizabeth March 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Have you ever used Lock-n-Lock containers? I love the large ones for storing flour and sugar. I recently found some glass lock-n-lock containers that I love. The bottom is glass but the top has locking tabs on the sides so it’s great for things that might leak.

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55 Beth March 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Just wanted to say that I also LOVE the Pyrex sets Kristen mentioned above! Target also has them on sale quite often, and usually has a cartwheel discount as well.

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56 Michelle H. March 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm

After your previous post I started storing cheese containers upside down in the fridge, too, and haven’t thrown out moldy cheese since! Such a great hint.

I agree to avoid the Anchor Hocking products – I received 2 baking dishes with lids as a Christmas gift and could never get the lids on or off. The lids for my Pyrex baking dishes still look great.

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57 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm

So obvious, isn’t it? But so life-changing. :) I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.

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58 Mary Ann March 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm

We use Pyrex and a Glasslock set from Costco. Love the Glasslock. And as for Anchor Hocking, I contacted them about the cheap lids and they replaced them for free with no hassles. I no longer put the lids in the dishwasher and they have been fine.

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59 WilliamB March 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

A-H says they’ll replace my lids but it was a big hassle. (It might be bigger one, I won’t know till I have the lids in my hands.) Further, their emails to me included care instructions and warranty limitations that are not in the care booklet that came with the bowls.

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60 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

Ok, so, did you have to have your original receipt and all? I know I don’t have mine!

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61 WilliamB March 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I did. More amazingly, I knew where to find it.

I didn’t used to keep receipts and warranty info for small purchases, then something small broke on me soon after I bought it and I found myself wishing for the receipt. Since I already had a box for manuals/warranties/receipts (stapled together) for appliances, I just added a folder for the really small things like these bowls. Fair warning: it takes up a lot of space because much of the info is on the (large, cardboard) packaging rather than on (small, paper) manuals.

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62 Kristen March 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I’m probably hosed, then. I’m pretty darn sure I don’t have my receipt!

63 WilliamB March 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

They didn’t actually ask for proof that I had the receipt. The warranty is for 5 years; maybe it’d be enough if you knew about when you bought the items.

The replacement lids they suggest I buy are about $3 full price.

64 Gladys March 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I like Mason jars and Pyrex containers, although I don’t have the whole set yet but I will buy them for sure!

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65 K D March 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Over the past several years I have moved from plastic to glass for almost all my storage containers. I do have some round Pyrex containers with lids that are over twenty years old as well as some newer Pyrex round and rectangular containers. I also use Mason jars that had marinara sauce or salsa in them for storage (both for dry goods like coconut and flax seed as well as wet goods like applesauce and soup).

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66 AussieGirl March 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I only use Pyrex in my fridge now after seeing that you use them. I’ve had way less food waste. I used to use coloured Tupperware containers and could never remember what was in each one.

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67 Susanna March 6, 2014 at 12:56 am

I’ve become a fan of the glass pyrex with the plastic lids- my mom had given me some misc corningware dishes with plastic lids- some have handles. I wish I still had them all but I’m afraid I haven’t always been very careful with my stuff :-( I also have some vintage pyrex that I love the look of but I get so afraid using it plus I can’t see through it LOL! I also end up putting stuff in sandwich bags that zip as well as freezing soups in mason jars.

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68 Debbie March 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I love pyrex, too! We have a set of plastic storage food boxes from Pottery Barn Kids that I bought a few years ago for my kids and they are just ok…the plastic bottoms have cracks from falling on the floor (or something…) and while the boxes are still intact, it does sometimes leak when I use them to store fruit that is quite juicy. Kind of a pain. I won’t buy them again.

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69 SarahN March 7, 2014 at 5:50 am

Totally 100% in love with Pyrex, and have bought more than reasonable for an unmarried 29 yo! I have 9 across two shapes when I moved out alone, and when I moved with the BF, i got about another 10. Sadly the lids fit one another but not perfectly, but seriously not a huge concern. I pretty much refuse to buy anything plastic – other than what i bring home from Mum’s or a friends or take away, then I use those to send off with others too.

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70 Linda March 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I use the plastic Miracle Whip lids on my wide mouthed mason jars. Mayo lids would probable be the same size.
I dislike reusing the canning lids & rings because they get rusty on me.

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71 Chris March 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

What no mention of Tupperware?? My favorite is the old Ultra 21… Can be used in the freezer, frig, microwave, or regular oven. Great for saving space AND it has a life long guarantee.

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72 Randi March 13, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I love the sistema made in New Zealand containers.

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73 Laurie Nguyen March 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Pyrex are my favorite as well, but Tupperware is a close second.

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