Around the House: Organize Your Refrigerator, and Keep It Neat

Around the House: Organize Your Refrigerator, and Keep It Neat

By Yehudit Garmaise

Do you dread rifling through every nook and cranny of your refrigerator just to find a particular ingredient or item?

To finally achieve your #fridgegoals, consider following the road to a beautiful, organized, and clean fridge to quickly spot what is needed while leaving the refrigerator looking like a work of art.

1. Clear out one shelf at a time and carefully assess what is being stored. Remove items from each shelf, drawer, and compartment one at a time. Look at expiration dates, and ask yourself how long each item has been there. Ask yourself whether you need to keep each item. Just throw away expired and unwanted items. Why wait until Pesach cleaning?

2. If you don’t know what an item is, throw it away. A big part of fridge organization is not hesitating to throw away what needs to be tossed.

3. Wipe it down: Use a mild dish soap and sponge with a scrubby side to clean out each section as you go. Finish your scrubbing by spritzing an antibacterial spray and wiping it down with a clean towel. Don’t forget to clean the outside of the fridge’s doors and the handles.

4. Group similar items together to find things quickly: Store all beverages on the top shelf. Always keep like-with-like for maximum organization. Store each kind of snack that must be refrigerated in its own separate bin or area. 

5. Remove packaging that creates clutter and takes up space. Save space by investing in glass stackable, microwavable, lidded containers of uniform sizes to maximize storage, create a more attractive look, and cut down on dishes.

6 Refrigerator door bins are perfect for storing condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, sauces, jams, and salad dressings. Remind your family to always return their condiments to the inside door so that everyone can easily find them for the next time. Milk and eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator's inside doors, where the warm air that enters can cause faster spoilage.

7 Door bins or smaller acrylic bins are also great places to store small things, like garlic or ginger, that can easily get lost in large refrigerators. 

8 Dedicate the next-to-highest shelf to things that must be eaten immediately. Eye level is the place to store leftovers from last night’s dinner that can be taken or eaten for lunches. By storing the foods that should be prioritized to eat first in a prominent place or a pretty basket or colorful bin, you can prevent finding many forgotten foods at the end of the week. 

9 Wrap defrosting meat in paper towels to prevent liquid from seeping out and spilling into the rest of the refrigerator, causing a mess and a lot of germs. A clear acrylic container would be great for storing meat to keep it separate from other things and to contain its liquids. 

10 Similarly, designate a labeled acrylic bin for cheese slices and shredded cheese to keep it separate and where you can always find it. You can also use the cheese drawer for cheese or redesignate the cheese drawer for cold cuts and other meat items if needed.

11 As you return items to the refrigerator, remember that the back of shelves provide the coldest temperatures, so keep things, like eggs, closer to the front to prevent freezing. 

12. Keep fruit and vegetables in separate drawers to find items more easily and prevent the gases they emit at different rates from causing your produce to go bad more quickly. Keep your eye on your produce to know what may be less than super-fresh, so you can use it immediately.

13. Take berries out of their plastic containers and store them flat in lidded acrylic containers that are kept separate from the rest of the fruit. Berries’ small sizes, increased fragility, and decreased life spans mean they need special care. Don’t throw them in with weightier fruits, like apples and oranges. Also, don’t wash berries or grapes until ready to eat them because decay starts much more rapidly once wet.

14. To increase the chances that your family will make healthy choices, take the time to wash and cut a variety of fruits for a fruit salad and prep some vegetables before storing them attractively in clear, lidded bins. Make sure you have ranch dressing, hummus, and other appealing dressings and dips on your refrigerator door for the vegetables. People tend to eat what they first see in their fridges, so make sure your family sees a neat array of nutritious and appealing snacks and not a jumbled mess that might cause snack seekers to give up and head for the junk cabinet. 

15. To keep the refrigerator smelling fresh, open a new box of baking soda and tuck it in the back to absorb any odors.

16. Leaving the top of your refrigerator empty reduces visual clutter and frees up your fridge to use energy just to keep your food fresh. Find bookshelves for cookbooks and shelves for platters so you don’t force your fridge to work harder and run up your electrical bill. 

17. To maintain a streamlined and tidy fridge, every couple of days, take a quick look to consider what should be tossed. Continue your system to store similar things together. Whenever you unpack groceries, keep everything in its designated place. 

18. Clean up spills right away and wipe down shelves, drawers, and bins once a week to keep the refrigerator looking squeaky-clean, appealing, and easy to use.

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