In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten two semi-related tips about storage containers from experienced cruisers who are readers. The first was from Jean, the organizer of the Cruiser’s Rally to El Salvador. Jean said:
After getting tired of trying to store all different shapes and sizes of storage containers, we decided to buy only one brand and one size. Now we don’t have to search for the correct top to match with the correct bottom and storage is much simpler.
And then, just a couple of days ago, Jackie Bartz sent me a picture of the Tupperware Modular Mates she’s using in her galley aboard Lively Lady. And while they aren’t all exactly the same size, many of the lids are interchangable and they stack nicely together without a lot of wasted space.
I haven’t used the Modular Mates myself, but I have had a few pieces of true Tupperware and found it to be good on the boat. It doesn’t have the positive locks that some other brands do (which are good on long offshore passages where conditions can get pretty rough), but they are good for coastal cruising and short hops where you can pick your weather windows.
The Modular Mates come in several basic shapes, including the ovals that Jackie has, “super ovals” for deeper cupboards, squares and rectangles. If they’ll fit in your lockers, the squares and rectangles make the best use of space. You can buy them in sets for basic pieces, and then add individual pieces to round out the collection to be exactly what you need. One thing that is great about them is that you can see into them, making it easy to grab the correct container without having to read all the labels and also for knowing what you are running low on.
Like all good plastic food storage containers, the Modular Mates aren’t cheap. I know that I initially balked at the price of “good” storage canisters and bought the cheap stuff . . . which I ended up getting rid of and then buying good stuff as I could find it where we were cruising. This cost me far more than just the extra cost of the set I got rid of — I had a lot of spoiled and spilled food, and hours spent in cleaning up messes. And I ended up with a hodgepodge of different sizes and brands that I picked up along the way.
Other brands that I like include Lock & Lock, Steri-Lite (the locking variety) and the locking Rubbermaid ones, but none of those seem to have sets designed to work together quite as nicely as these.