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Housekeeping 101: Tips to Organize Your Refrigerator

West Allis Woman Reaching into a Clean Refrigerator for a Red Bell PepperA messy fridge can be quite troublesome. It could be forgotten leftovers or even random ingredients — a fridge that is not organized can be problematic for your health and budget. The positive side is that there is a way we can avoid this — by using a few organizational strategies! 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

A key step to organizing a fridge is to clean and sort all of your fridge items. Take everything out of the refrigerator and inspect for expiration dates, mold, or other indications of spoiled food. Any item past its expiration date should automatically be thrown out. Should there be any leftovers or food in plastic storage containers, make sure you know how long they’ve been there; if not, it’s best to just throw them out. Because we’re talking about food, it’s always best to be cautious.

Now that your fridge is empty, 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. This will allow you to start anew with a clean fridge for your new organization system.

Label Everything

One tip to keeping your fridge organized is to write an inventory of how long your food has been kept 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, consider labeling them with dates as to when you added them to the fridge and when they need to be thrown out.

Pro tip: best to use a dry-erase marker to write the dates of meals and takeout on the container. The same could be done for perishables using the inside of your fridge. By noting both when you brought them home and when they need to be used, you can guarantee that your groceries will be put to good use before they get a chance to spoil. Also, you can avoid eating leftovers that could make you sick.

Use Containers

Keeping loose items tidy in a fridge can be hard, especially things like fruits, vegetables, and even small condiment jars. Clear storage bins can be used to group loose items together so that you can prevent clutter inside your fridge. One thing you can try using is 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 substitute certain items, it’s important that you develop a system for storage. Aside from immediately knowing where your items are, you can also make sure that your food lasts longer and that it’s safe. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.

Remember that meat should be kept on the lowest shelf so that it doesn’t drip and contaminate other food. Another thing is, don’t store milk in the fridge door. Why? Because that means it will get exposed to warm air too often — this leads to spoiling. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.

Plan Ahead

Since your fridge has already been cleaned and organized, what you can do now is to come up with a plan to keep it that way. You can have the most organized fridge and still eventually need to clean it, to free it from old items that might not be needed anymore. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. You could dedicate a day per month or every other week to go through all of your items, rotating and updating your fresh produce, and wiping down fridge surfaces. Making a habit of doing this will make it so that you won’t have to go through the grueling process of a deep-clean and purge of your fridge and freezer.

In following these basic but effective steps, you can ensure that your fridge stays clean and organized.

 

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