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Adventures in plastic storage

It was going to be a busy day. I had a to-do list longer than a Minnesota winter or a Texas summer – take your pick.

Of course the kitchen was a mess. The best mornings always start out that way. Dishes were piled in the sink because after dinner the night before we’d discovered the dishwasher was already full and in need of a wash cycle. Oops.

I was midway through unloading the dishwasher when the crisis du jour hit.

It started with a blue plastic bowl, which naturally belonged in our plastic storage container cupboard. I opened said cupboard and attempted to shove the bowl inside – shove being the operative (albeit accurate) word. When I completed the cramming, two other containers spilled out. I tried to return the two spilled containers and three more fell to the floor. We were at an impasse. The situation required investigative expertise and organizational wizardry.

I bent over to take a look-see into the cupboard and gazed directly at the dictionary definition of chaos. Bowls and lids intertwined and sat kittywampus hither and yon. Clutter doesn’t even begin to describe the overall bedlam. It was a disaster in desperate need of relief efforts. The task jumped to number two on my to-do list. Number one was removing an errant spoon from the garbage disposal, but that’s a story for another day.

What is it about plastic storage bowl storage that always makes the most orderly of order go so very wrong so very quickly? I organize this cupboard at least a couple times a year. While other kitchen implements mind their manners and stay put in their assigned confinements, the plastic storage containers party like it’s 1999. They swap lids and refuse to neatly nest according to size and shape. They flip and flop like a gymnast with a severe caffeine buzz. They are disobedient children in need of some rigorous parenting.

The utter lawlessness of the plastic storage cupboard defies logic. Like messy morning kitchens, pop-up ads, finger grease on your phone screen, mosquitoes, rubbery celery, hang nails and the airplane mode it just is – like it or not. (Not.)

Each time I reorganize the cupboard it is an adventure in volume. What comes out, initially, looks much more expansive than what I manage to wrestle back in. Welcome to the magic and mysterious world of plastic storage.

And each time I tell myself that my wondrous and remarkable organization is going to last. For sure. This time.

Then all hell breaks loose and the pandemonium ensues. Lids consort with mismatched containers in acts that can only be described as debauchery. Neatly nested vessels roam to extraneous locations both illicit and incongruous. Square containers fraternize with the round with little thought to the big scheme of things. It is a world turned upside down. Rules are thrown out with the bathwater – or better put, lost lids. Their madness causes a personal angst within me.

But today was a victory on my end. I pulled those bad boys (and girls) from underneath the darkness of their imaginary disco-balled nightclub into the bright of day. I paired them according to size and shape. Under my tender tutelage they nested like spring songbirds. Anyone without a lid was banished to the cavity of the garbage can.

And now they sit, waiting for nightfall, when their plastic party will begin anew and I will awake in the morning to find at least one without a lid and know I have been thwarted – again.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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