Transferring food: Which storage containers do I need and what fits where?

Anyone who spends time on Pinterest or Instagram will be familiar with them: the perfectly organized pantries filled with shelves of matching containers. With beautifully organized food and uniform labels - without a cardboard box or plastic bag for miles. We all love these pictures. But the visual is only one aspect.

Why should you decant food?

Why not just put the boxes of cereal, pasta and baking soda directly on the pantry shelf? Transferring food is the first way to get rid of the obvious clutter. Look in your cupboard and you'll find that there's hardly a box or can that's the same size. So neat stacking is hardly possible. And there are packages (e.g. cornflakes) that have another bag in the cardboard packaging. This is a waste of space!

The overview
Let's stay with the example of cornflakes packaging: Who hasn't had the experience of coming back from shopping and finding only a mini-rest of cornflakes in the packaging the next morning? If you put them in a transparent package, you always know how much is left.

Plastic boxes for food storage
Plastic boxes for food storage

Longer shelf life and fewer bugs
Putting food in airtight containers extends shelf life. And you ward off unwelcome visitors, such as mealworms or moths, which can easily bite through paper bags. Even when decanting, you can see if the package comes out of the store with vermin infestation (which doesn't happen that rarely) and can exchange it right away.

Easier to use
However, decanting into containers not only helps you keep track of how much you have, it also makes it easier to use the food. Spooning flour out of a container is much easier than out of a torn bag, which additionally cannot be resealed properly.

The best container

There are three criteria that storage boxes should meet: They must be transparent, close tightly, and make the best use of cabinet space.

Number 1: Why transparent?
In a transparent box, you can immediately see the contents and also the fill level of the food. Simply cut out the best-before date (MHD) from the package and stick it on the container with adhesive tape. If it should go fast times and you do not want to label extra stickers, then also helps here: Cut out the packaging lid or bag label of the food and simply put it on top. Through the transparent lid, you can read everything so easily. If you label your cans on the side because the boxes are on a shelf, for example, simply slide the label down the side of the container wall on the inside. The food then automatically holds it there in place.

Najlepszy plastikowy pojemnik do przechowywania żywności
Najlepszy plastikowy pojemnik do przechowywania żywności

Number 2: Close tightly
Keyword food moths: Clearly, the tighter the lid, the higher the protection against pests. This also prevents moisture from penetrating and keeps everything optimally dry and fresh.

Number 3: Make the best use of the cupboard.
Large jars often look very pretty, but due to the round shape do not use the space optimally. Swapping jars for square boxes will save about 20% in space. In addition, square jars are easier to stack and combine with each other.

Plastikowe pudełka na żywność do szuflady
Plastikowe pudełka na żywność do szuflady

The big question: Which storage containers do I need and what fits where?

In fact, this topic is really exciting. Because when we buy food, it's usually in grams, and the sizes of storage cans are in liters. How does that fit together? Do I have to convert my kilo of flour into liters now? Is it the same as with water - 1 kilo equals one liter? Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple. Unfortunately, one kilo of flour does not equal one liter of volume. And 1 kg of coffee beans takes up a completely different amount of space. Put the packages of one liter of milk, one package of flour (1 kg) and one kilo of coffee beans next to each other. This is the best way to see the differences. What is needed to calculate the space required by a foodstuff is the bulk density.

So that you don't have to use a calculator every time or choose the wrong vessel, here is a table.

The storage tins size chart

Table loft
Table loft

Better to buy a little bigger

The following consideration is important: What do I want to transfer and how much of it? If you bake only once a year and store a packet of flour, you need a smaller container than someone who bakes cakes 2x a week. Then the tin should be twice as big to be able to store more.

And one more tip: I'll stick with the coffee example here. 500g of ground coffee has a volume of 0.9 liters. So a packet would fit perfectly into a liter container. But how does it look in real life? Ideally, coffee is bought when the can is not yet completely empty. So there's still some left in it and the new pack is refilled. In most cases, the new coffee then fits exactly into the can. Don't. No, let's be honest: It never does and so there is always a remainder in the coffee bag, which then flies around in the cupboard for days.

So for food that barely fits in a storage can, it's better to choose the next size up. In this case, it would be the 1.5 liter can.

Plastikowe pudełka do sypkich rzeczy
Plastikowe pudełka do sypkich rzeczy

I am unsure about the size

Flour is a good example of a product that is sold by almost all manufacturers in a size of 1 kg in a paper bag. But it already stops with semolina: Everything from kilo packs to 300g cans can be found. If the food is sold in kilos, pounds and half pounds (1000g, 500g, 250g), then the food in the table can be quickly calculated down and the appropriate container can be found. But there are products that do not fit into any scheme. Neither of a comparable size, nor the package unit.

Then only trying helps: Simply place the package in the selected vessel. If the lid can be closed comfortably, then it is easily enough.

Comparing similar foods also helps: cocoa powder has a similar density to flour, ginger and nutmeg are just as similar, and lentils and rice each fit a kilo into a 1.5-liter container.

Plan smart

If you want to transfer your food, you need to take a close look not only at what things you like to keep in a can and how much of it you have, but also what your space requirements are. The first question to ask is where do the containers sit? In a drawer? In a cupboard? On a shelf? How high can the jars be stacked?

Whether it's a drawer or a cabinet, the first thing to do is look at the footprint and measure it accurately. Once you've calculated this (length x width), you can work out how many cans can be placed there next to each other. This is relatively easy, because all LOFT cans have the base area of 10 cm (10×10 cm, 10×20 cm, 10×15 cm). You can draw the cans on a piece of square paper and calculate your needs. But be careful not to plan too tightly! Because the cans have a very slightly protruding edge at the top and you still have to be able to grab it to lift it out.

And then you can plan the height. Depending on the depth of the drawer or the height of the shelf/cupboard and the need for different sizes, you can now see which cans you need. Since the LOFT cans can be stacked by the size quite wonderfully, can be worked here also prima with different sizes. For drawers, the cans should then be labeled from above, for cabinets and shelves from the side.

Plastikowe pudełka idealne na wymiar szuflady
Plastikowe pudełka idealne na wymiar szuflady

And another tip:

Always leave a small space in the drawer or shelf to accommodate small food scraps (that which no longer fit in the can, for example) or to store seasonal nutrients (such as in Christmas baking) that do not have their own container.