At least once a year I get so frustrated with trying to find the right Tupperware container and a lid that actually fits it, that I do a complete clean-out of my plastics cabinet. Now I have to explain that when I say “Tupperware,” I mean that in the loosest sense of the word as a generic term for “all plastic containers,” including margarine tubs and the plastic boxes that certain brands of lunch meats come in. I’m not even sure whether I own any legitimate Tupperware or not. Nevertheless, in my clean-out, I sort, toss out, and match up containers and lids into a nice, neat, organized arrangement that could give me a shot at a spread in Good Housekeeping. The cabinets look great for all of maybe two or three days—however long it takes to need a plastic storage container and/or however long it takes to return a washed container to the cupboard.

Now this is where things get weird. Although I know I started off with all my containers paired with a matching lid, when I go to re-organize the cupboard, I end up with an assortment of tops and bottoms, none of which fit one another. (Kind of like the gift boxes I always save from Christmas, but that is an entirely different discussion for a later blog.) Not only are there a lot of mismatches, but a few items don’t even look like they ever matched anything to start with. The mystery of how this phenomenon manages to recur with regularity is beyond comprehension. Dutifully, I sort, match, and stack everything neatly so I will have just the right container for the required purpose at my fingertips. Invariably, I am left with a mishmash of unpartnered lids and containers. Then the question becomes what to do with them. Do I throw them out? Of course, the moment I throw something away, I will find the matching piece that goes with the one I discarded.

This dilemma leads to another of my idiosyncrasies, in that it is hard for me to part with a perfectly functional item just because it lacks a mate. So, I keep a number of lidless containers “just in case” they may come in handy for something “someday” or “somebody” will need a lidless container just that size for a specific purpose. Not to worry, I also keep a large tub full of unmatched lids. Every so often, I become so overrun with these extraneous, useless items, I actually make the sacrifice to part with them, painful as it is.

Now I used to blame all the chaos that lurks in my Tupperware cabinet on the men who live in my house. After all, has a man ever been known to stack plastic containers neatly so they fit conveniently into one another, let alone attempt to keep containers and lids together? Hah! More often than not, the containers are thrown haphazardly into the cupboard in such a way that anyone opening the cabinet door must “duck and cover,” lest Tupperware rain down upon their head. Still, it is a small price to pay for someone else actually emptying the dishwasher. But recently, while perusing Facebook, I came across the answer to this age-old mystery of the unmatched Tupperware. Turns out it isn’t the men’s fault at all. You know all those socks that get lost in the dryer? They come back as Tupperware lids that don’t fit any of your containers. I am greatly indebted to whoever posted that bit of information so I could finally get the answer to this aggravating question.