When it’s finally time to roll your sleeves up and cook dinner, the last thing you want to do is rummage around the kitchen in search of ingredients. Without proper organization, the back of your fridge can become a haven for stray items, moldy vegetables, and week-old leftovers. Here’s how to organize your fridge to save time and avoid stress in the kitchen.
Group similar items together with clear storage bins.
If you’re already using storage bins to cut back on clutter in your closet, using storage bins in your fridge will feel like second nature. Storage bins might look weird in your fridge at first, but they’re one of the easiest ways to reduce visual clutter, group similar groceries together, and sort loose items like vegetables.
Ultimately, deciding how you’ll sort groceries into clear storage bins is up to you. You might choose to separate different groceries based on their type, which can help free up some extra space in your fridge while creating a sense of coherence. For example, you can group dairy items (like yogurt, milk, and cheeses) in a bin on the top shelf and store fruits and vegetables together on the middle shelf.
When organizing your groceries, remember to always keep meat on the bottom shelf, especially raw meat. In the case of any leakage, you won’t have to worry about the meat contaminating food below.
Dedicate a storage bin for soon-to-expire items.
Instead of pushing groceries that will expire soon toward the back of your fridge, dedicate a clear storage bin for them. This way, you’ll be able to easily keep track of the items instead of forgetting about them. Plus, when they pass their expiration date, you can throw them away to free up space in your fridge. To avoid forgetting about soon-to-expire groceries, consider keeping this bin at eye level and using a magnet to label it.
Designate each door section.
The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge, so you should avoid storing leftovers, meat, or dairy there. Although many people store eggs and milk in the door, warmer temperatures can cause these items to expire more quickly.
To step up your fridge organization, consider keeping your sauces, condiments, and less-perishable groceries on the top shelf and using your bottom door shelf to house drinks. You can also keep similar items together in each door divider, or use an egg carton to store bottled condiments upside-down to reduce waste.
Use a lazy Susan to create more space.
A lazy Susan isn’t just a simple and affordable way to maximize your countertop space—it can also create extra space in your fridge. If you have a lot of loose items, such as apple sauce cups, yogurts, and baby food, adding a lazy Susan to your fridge will allow you to group everything together and minimize clutter. Alternatively, if you have a lot of larger items, consider using a two-tiered lazy Susan to give each item a home.
Clean your refrigerator regularly.
To optimize your refrigerator space, it’s essential to clean your fridge regularly. Think about it: The messier the inside of your fridge, the more clutter you’ll accumulate, and the more stress you’ll experience each time you open the door.
For the best results, aim to clean your refrigerator once a month. Start by emptying your fridge completely, including any doors, storage bins, and inner drawers. Check the expiration dates and toss anything that has expired. If you’re not sure if an item has gone bad or not, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Whenever possible, label your leftovers with the date they were made and their expiration date. Additionally, remove any storage bins, drawers, and shelves and wash them thoroughly in the sink. Be sure to scrub the inside of your fridge, including the walls and ceilings, with clean soapy water before reloading your fridge.
Above all else, optimizing your fridge space helps make cooking stress-free. Whether you’re sharing a fridge with roommates or trying to stay organized with kids, simple things like grabbing the ketchup or a gallon of milk become streamlined with the right organizational systems.
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