If you’re like most people, your refrigerator probably needs a good clean out. The back half can become a hideout for expired condiments, week-old leftovers, and molding vegetables. And the front half can be a random jumble of food and drinks that cause you to waste time searching for each thing you want.
With a small investment in time, you can organize your refrigerator in a way that not only makes better use of the space, but also promotes better food safety.
Start with a purge
Four times a year, deep clean your refrigerator by removing everything, wiping down all surfaces, and then only putting back the items you know you will use. It’s also a good idea to include an open box of baking soda to help deodorize things until your next clean out.
Stock it like a professional kitchen
When organizing their refrigerators, professional and restaurant kitchens put food safety first. You may not realize it, but regardless of the temperature you set your refrigerator to, some areas will be cooler and some warmer. Not to get all scientific on you, but warm air rises and cold air sinks.
Things that need no cooking to be safe to eat (like leftovers or drinks) should be placed at the top where it’s not as cold, and foods needing to be cooked to the highest temperature (like raw chicken or meats) should be placed at the bottom where it’s coolest.
- Upper shelves: Leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods (like yogurt, cheese, and deli meats).
- Lower shelves: Raw ingredients that will be used for cooked dishes.
- Door: The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge, so only condiments should go there. Don’t put eggs or milk in the door; they should be placed in a colder part of the refrigerator.
- Drawers: These are designed to hold produce at a specific humidity so they remain fresher longer. Be sure to use them for that purpose.
While your refrigerator may have come with some equipment to help you organize things, you should definitely add more. You can buy organizers made specifically for refrigerators from specialty sites like The Container Store, or you can save a few dollars by using items you may already have around your apartment or townhouse.
- Clear storage boxes or file organizers will help you group similar items and let you easily see what’s inside.
- Designate one organizer as an “Eat Me First” box, where you place items that are losing freshness or are close to their expiration date.
- Repurpose a lazy Susan to make it easier to access things that might have gotten lost at the back of your fridge.
- Suction cups with hooks can be used to hang small items on the walls. You can also purchase hanging baskets with suction cups to go on the walls.
- If you have kids, designate one of the lower shelves in the door as “Kidville” and fill it with their snacks so they have easy access.
You probably put a lot of thought into decorating and organizing your apartment or townhouse so it’s a pleasant place to live. With a little extra care – and a few organizational tools – your refrigerator can make your life at Elmwood Manor even better.