Remember when I said the only thing I wanted to get done during Christmas break was to clear the clutter in my Tupperware drawer? Then I took 6 months off from writing and still did not clear it out?

Welp, the day of reckoning came last weekend. Our Tupperware situation became unsustainable and unproductive. As with all behavior change, when the pain became too great, change happened. 

Unproductive / Unsustainable

Unproductive / unsustainable is a state that has a clear, distinct look depending on what the root cause is. For ContainerGate it was 2 drawers that would not open reliably (the Tupperware had spread from 1 drawer to the drawer below), covering containers with foil or plastic wrap because we could not find lids, and considerations to just buy new and start over. 

My name is Susan, and I am powerless over plasticware and my drawers have become unmanageable.

I know plasticware might not be your issue though so I want to share what is below the surface of ContainerGate:

  • Frustration when the drawers stick, and we can’t get to non-Tupperware pans
  • Misdirected anger because lids are missing (I am sure no one is pranking me, but damn it feels like it sometimes)
  • Shame that my kitchen does not look like The Home Edit reveal with everything perfectly aligned in rainbow order or uniform plastic bins

Wait – are we still talking about Tupperware? Well, yes and no. It is never just about the containers, is it? It is about the feeling that you want to chuck it all and run away. Dumping the whole drawer in the trash and shelling out money for new is the equivalent of avoiding hard discussions, drowning emotions in alcohol, and numbing feelings with food or busyness. None of this is getting a desired result of smoothly opening the drawer, speaking your truth to a friend or matching your insides to your outsides. 

And friend – avoiding what got us to the messy drawer (or its equivalent) is not sustainable. The mess will come back. It is like brushing a tooth with a cavity and wondering why it still hurts. 

So I did the work one Saturday morning first thing (eat the frog first), and it literally took 30 minutes. Here is how the results broke down in each dimension of Sustainable Productivity.

Health & Fitness

We do need lots of containers even though it is just the two of us. We often freeze parts of meals for leftovers, make big batches of soup or chili, and make stock from leftover veggies and carcasses. This helps us eat healthier and save on groceries. 

Mental Well-being

I admit to having an overall hard time parting with the take out containers. However, some of that comes from the fact that when the kids come for dinner, we pack up leftovers in these take out tubs. This way they can keep them if they want, but if they get tossed out or recycled it is ok too. Keeping these disposable items indirectly helps me take care of my people.

Lucille says she is a people and would like to be take care of. Pro bonus tip: if you are testing lids (taking them off and on tubs to check for mates) the dog in your house will think leftovers are being divvied up and come running for her share. Please plan accordingly.

Environmental Surroundings

I am convinced the mismatched lids and tubs are hiding somewhere else in the house. See above about issues parting with take out tubs. I am the same way with socks – its a whole thing. But having the oddballs “in play” in the drawer is just physical clutter waiting to piss me off. Until I am able to part with them, the oddballs get sequestered in a seldom used / out of sight space in the laundry room. Occasionally they come in handy for projects like when my daughter painted her room and needed a small container to climb the ladder to trim. Boom – Sustainable Sue to the rescue. 

I know, I know! But it is about progress, not perfection. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Wrap Up

I want to bring this essay home with a few points.

  1. The clutter is never just about the clutter. It is about postponed decisions, avoided feelings, and ignored issues. 
  2. What seems insurmountable is doable if broken into small chunks or tackled when your energy is at its peak. I avoided this chore for FOURTEEN MONTHS and it took 30 minutes. 
  3. The results will reap more rewards than you can imagine – in all areas of your life.

Now it is your turn to get to work.

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. What project, task or idea have you been putting off?
  2. Decide what pain it is really causing you or what it means underneath – it is not about the containers. 
  3. Observe when your energy is highest and make a plan to take the first step on this project in the next 7 days.

I can’t wait to hear about your results. Send me your stories or photos to or find me on Instagram or Facebook. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.