How to Organize your Fridge: Tips & Ideas
Maybe you’re a whiz in the kitchen; maybe you just crave a little order among the chaos of daily life. Either way, having a clean and well-organized refrigerator makes preparing meals much easier. It also helps cut grocery costs, keeping fresh foods in plain sight so you know to use them before they spoil, or not buying more of something you already have. Adopting a personal fridge organization system for you and your family keeps everyone happy and healthy—and here are some tips to get you started.
Determine what stays and what goes.
Go through your entire fridge (including the freezer) and throw out anything that’s past its expiration date, no longer needed or has already gone bad. This includes fresh fruits and groceries, canned and jarred items, and frozen foods as well.
Wipe it down.
Take a clean, disinfected sponge and wipe down each shelf so you have a fresh start. Then load the remaining items back in one at a time, wiping off each jar to avoid messing up the clean slate you just created.
Store like items together on one shelf.
This helps avoid duplicate purchases and waste, as multiple varieties are in plain sight. Place the older goods closer to the edge of the shelf so you know which ones to use first. Newer items with a longer shelf life go in the back.
Only store packaged goods in the fridge once they’ve been opened and require a cooler climate to stay fresh. Anything else can stay in the pantry until the seal is broken. Read the instructions on each can or bag—if it’s fine out of the fridge, keep it there.
Freeze food that you want to last longer than three days.
If you plan on eating the rest of that big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup over the next week, consider freezing it in single-serve containers and placing them in the freezer. This will extend it’s life and allow more space in the fridge.
Always label leftovers.
Consider writing content and date information (prepared or opened) on ziplock bags and storage containers. Store freezer foods the same way as fridge foods—keep older items that should be eaten sooner in a high visibility location.
Use clear storage containers.
This helps you recognize contents right away so you don’t skip over them or lose sight of them. You can also use clear plastic bins with drawers on each shelf for smaller items like eggs, herbs or condiments to help you stay organized.
Consider placing goods together based on temperature needs.
Dairy items and meat should be kept coldest, so if there’s not a pre-labeled drawer for these, place on the bottom shelf, all the way in the back. Vegetables do better with more humidity (usually the top or middle), and fruits do better with less (bottom). Condiments are usually high in vinegar and salt, which are natural preservatives. That’s why they do fine on the door, along with any other pasteurized liquids (orange juice, some milks) as well.
So, now that you have a clean and organized refrigerator and freezer, what’s next? We suggest hitting your local bookstore for a few new cookbooks, or downloading a new recipe on your computer. It’s likely that, when organizing your fridge, you stumbled upon some hidden ingredients in the back of the fridge that sparked some culinary inspiration—and it’s a perfect time to indulge.
What are your favorite fridge organization ideas? Share them with us by using the hashtag #CrateStyle.
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