I have a nemesis in my continuing efforts to declutter my household in the Marie Kondo manner. Unfortunately, I happen to be married to that nemesis. My husband loves to spend his weekends at estate sales, usually on the lookout for something to add to our already-packed-to-the-rafters kitchen. He might find a deal on a Le Creuset casserole dish, or an antique copper pot. Lately, he’s been coming back with vintage Tupperware. And as much as I despair, maybe he’s onto something. Today reports that some of those plastic containers can go for top dollar, selling for between $4 and $20, while originally priced at only $2.
Fans of the stuff can find lots of options on Twitter with the hashtag #vintageTupperware. Today talked to Stacy Verdick Case, owner of Peony Lane Designs in Minnesota, where she sells vintage Tupperware both online and in-store. She cautions that while you’re garage sale or estate sale shopping, just look for the “Tupperware”stamp on the bottom. And she speculates that the Tupperware resurgence is a combination of nostalgia and practicality: “The midcentury colors are lovely, and they… make sense [economically and environmentally] for the millennial generation… Since Tupperware was made to nest and store in tight spaces, they make sense in the tiny home generation.” So I guess I should start making more room in my cabinets.
I have another reason for Tupperware fondness. Not only I am part of the generation that remembers the plastic stuff fondly from childhood in colors like avocado green and harvest gold, I’ve also been listening to the podcast The Dream, which explores multi-level marketing platforms like Amway, Avon, and yes, Tupperware. I didn’t know that the Tupperware parties that my female relatives went to were created by a single mom in the 1950s named Brownie Wise, who figured out the social aspect would help sell all these plastic containers. Company founder Earl Tupper made her director of marketing, and she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week. Tupper then became jealous of her success and fired her, and she died years later in obscurity.
Somehow this makes me just more protective of my vintage Tupperware. Pour one out for Brownie Wise, y’all. (And give The Dream a listen, it’s really good.)