Bento Box Basics: Supply Storage

by Wendy Copley on September 6, 2011

Bento box storage

My name is Wendy, and I’m a bento box addict.

I have a lot of bento boxes and supplies. A lot.

Last time I counted I had more than 20 boxes, a gazillion cookie cutters and countless picks, dividers and silicone baking cups. When I first started packing bentos, I kept everything in a small basket on my counter, but as my collection has grown my storage solutions have had to change to keep up with all my junk.  At our old house I stored all my bento things in a lazy susan that was difficult to use for much else, but when we moved, I had to come up with a new place to put everything. Cabinet space is harder to come by in this house, so I relocated everything to two and a half shelves on this wire rack in our kitchen.

Bento Storage

The bottom rack in this photo is mostly used for Ziploc bags, paper plates and other disposable items that don’t get used very often, but I also shove the thermal lunch bags into the empty spaces on this shelf.

Just above that is my basket of bento boxes:

Bento box storage

This photo was taken immediately after I reorganized the basket and it’s unusually neat and tidy. Normally it’s way more chaotic than this, but I try not to let it get too bad for too long because then I can’t find the pieces I need for each box.

I also use this basket (which I bought at Target) to keep the number of boxes I have in check. Whenever I find myself with more bentos than will easily fit in here, I throw out any that are warped or broken and I pass along any boxes that are in good shape but aren’t seeing much use.

My Laptop Lunch set is tucked into the extra bit of space next to the basket.

The next shelf up holds baskets with my accessories:

Bento Storage

This basket has the internal dividers that came with my various bento boxes, face punches, sauce pens, food markers, a plastic box filled with decorative dividers, my Easy Lunchboxes, and some miscellaneous supplies.

Bento Storage

It also holds this divided box filled with small accessories. This makes me happy every time I open it.

Bento Supplies

It keeps all the little bits and pieces organized: decorative picks, small boxes and bottles, sauce bottles and bento box belts.

The photo up above doesn’t show it, but the basket also holds this tiffin that I use to store cookie cutters.

Bento Storage

It doesn’t look like it would hold much, but I can get a ton of cutters in there!

Bento Storage

This is the second basket on the upper shelf.

Bento Storage

Can you believe that this was the basket that I originally used to hold all my bento supplies?

Bento Storage

Now it holds sets of cookie cutters, silicone cups, rice molds, egg molds and a few sets of unused disposable flatware that I’ve been given with take-out from restaurants. (I don’t use those often, but they’re nice to have on hand.)

I also have bento stuff tucked here and there in other parts of my kitchen. The mini flatware is in our silverware drawer because it gets daily use. I don’t put these in lunches very often, but Augie prefers the small size for eating meals at home. I also keep the silicone muffin cups in a cupboard directly above the area where I assemble lunches because they are close at hand there and they are also out of the kids’ sight and reach. If I put them in with the other bento supplies the boys run off with them.

How do you store your bento boxes and supplies? If you have any pictures, I’d love for you to link them up in the comments so we can all get inspired by them!

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  • Trysha

    I don’t have nearly as many supplies as you do. I keep them all pretty well organized and stacked together in a cabinet. A large tub goes a long way (I may have a tub problem…one for spices, one for baking supplies, one for storage…)

  • I love seeing other peoples stashes and how they organize them.  I should take pictures of my own.  Maybe I’ll do that in the next day or so.

    I have half a cabinet, two large kitchen drawers and bit and pieces stashed elsewhere in the kitchen.

  • Denise Proctor

    Funny!  I just organized my stuff but I just started and don’t have much really.  This is how I keep all my little doohickies to make lunches

  • Jayne

    My stuff was pretty well organized until it started to overflow the giant drawer I keep it in.  Today I’m going to Marukai (local Japanese store with a dollar (well, 1.89) section full of great bento stuff.  So, when I get home, I’m going to get rid of all of the fluff.  I may also look for one of those cool divider boxes that you keep you pics and stuff it.  

    I have an Augie, too, btw!  I have never met another child Augie in real life.  Mine’s 2 1/2 now.  🙂  The bentos are for his older brother, as Aug NEVER eats more than two bites at a time, but enjoys it when I’m pretty much bringing him a constant stream of snacks.  Sigh…

  • You are my hero. I stumbled upon your site when I was looking for lunch ideas for my three year old daughter who was starting 3K this year. I have to admit I have become a bento junkie. I don’t even want to total up what I have spent in the last couple of weeks buying boxes and supplies on Ebay. And I am super proud to say that my first box from Japan has arrived! Thank you so much for the picture and inspiration!!

  • I love that photo!!

  • You’re welcome! I’m glad you’ve found ideas and inspiration and I appreciate that you enjoy reading my blog!

  • Lauren

    I just organized my drawer of bento supplies. It was a mess because we use the same drawer for tupperware and it was overflowing XD I started collecting supplies about a year and a half ago but unfortunately there aren’t many stores that sell bento supplies where I live and even those that do have very few things. 🙁 I store a lot of my misc. items like plastic dividers, picks and most of my fish and bottle sauce containers in plastic baggies

     You can’t tell from the picture but I actually have 4 bento boxes. 2 are hiding under the blue box and hamtaro box at the top right. I should’ve probably put them on top because they’re my favorite ones but alas, I’m too lazy XD

  • heyjenrenee

    LOVE this. I’m waiting to re-organize my stuff until our kitchen is finally done. (We just completely gutted it.) Great ideas here!

  • theresa g

    Here’s a photo of my newest attempt at organization.  On my next trip shopping I’m going to pick up a box with dividers~~thanks for the idea 🙂  I have everything in this one box and I’m using ziplocs as dividers.  My daughter’s first day of preschool is Monday and I’m dying to start making her lunches again.  I’ve missed it over the summer.  

  • Paula

    Wendy! You are so inspirational! Thanks for the great post. It’s fun and instructive to see how other people are organizing their bento addictions.  🙂  I’m going to get me one of those plastic multicompartment boxes right away–thanks for the idea!

  • Danielle Hunter

    Thank you! I’ve been wondering how organize it all. I love the “bits and pieces” container – I need to do that (and find all my cookie cutters).

  • Enchantedforest08

    Wow, Wendy, I have never heard of Bentos. My children are grown so too late for them, but my husband and I both pack lunches and snacks for the day. What an inspiration. Thanks!!

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