A fridge that’s in disarray can produce a few problems. Whether it’s forgotten leftovers or lost ingredients — a fridge that is messy can pose potential issues to your health and budget. On the bright side, though, we can always resort to organizational strategies to help us avoid this mess. By keeping your fridge organized, you can make the most of your available space and keep everything fresh and ready to eat.
Clean and Sort
When organizing a fridge, cleaning and sorting all of your fridge items is an essential step. Make sure that you check everything in your refrigerator for expiration dates, mold, or any other hints of spoiled food. If you see anything that is already beyond its expiration date, don’t hesitate to throw it out. If you have any leftovers or food in plastic storage containers that may have been in there for who knows how long, you should throw them out. You can never be too careful with food when it comes to your personal health.
A cleaned-out fridge allows you to take the time to deep-clean your fridge’s interiors. Using hot, soapy water or a mild bleach solution, wipe down and dry all surfaces, including inside drawers and bins. In doing this, you can start with a clean fridge for your organizing system.
The first step in fridge organizing is to jot down an inventory of how long your food has been in storage. While many pre-packaged foods will come with an expiration or sell-by date on them, for fruits and veggies or food that you bring home or that is leftover from meals, keep track of them by having a system in place that notes when you added them to the fridge and when they need to be thrown out.
You can use a dry-erase marker to write the dates of meals and takeout on the container. The same concept could be applied to your perishables; perhaps you could use the inside of your fridge. By noting both when you brought them home and when they need to be used, you can make sure that your groceries are being consumed before they spoil, and that you avoid eating leftovers that could potentially make you sick.
Keeping loose items tidy in a fridge can be hard, especially things like fruits, vegetables, and even small condiment jars. To group loose items together, what you can do is use clear storage bins. This allows you to keep everything tidied up and free from clutter. Contemplate investing in some quality reusable food storage containers with tight-fitting lids. This can help you store food safely and reduce waste by reusing your containers over and over again.
You can also use a dry-erase marker on the bins and storage containers to keep track of the dates things were purchased. Using bins and storage containers in your fridge will free up space for larger items elsewhere and more easily track expiration dates of perishable items.
Develop a System
As you go about your organizing, it’s wise to develop a system for storing things. This makes it possible for you to know where all of your items are. You can make your food last longer and safer, too. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.
Meat needs to be kept on the lowest shelf so that you can avoid it dripping and contaminating other food. With milk, it’s best not to let it get exposed to warm air often as this spoils it. So, avoid keeping it in the fridge door. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.
Now that your fridge is clean and organized, the best thing for you to do moving forward is to come up with a plan as to how you can keep your fridge that way. An organized fridge needs to be cleaned every now and then so that you can throw out the old items that can no longer be used. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. Have a specific day in a month or week to go through your fridge, rotate and update your fresh produce, and wipe down fridge surfaces. Regularly doing this means you don’t have to do a deep-clean and purge your fridge and freezer.
These tips may seem simple, but in reality, they are quite effective in ensuring a clean and organized fridge.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.