Remember that snack you bought a week ago that you could have sworn you put it in the fridge but can’t seem to find it anymore? And just when you forget all about it, you find it right there in the fridge old and expired.
If you’re facing this issue, you really need to know how to organize your refrigerator in order to make things easier around your kitchen instead of shoving everything in the first empty space you find.
Here’s what you need to do to start organizing your refrigerator:
Clear and Select
First things first, you need to empty your fridge of everything, literally everything you find. During this process, you will find ghastly things, yes awful-old-rotten things, but that’s ok, you’re not the only one, we all forget food in the fridge.
As you empty everything and put it on a counter, check expiration dates on salad dressings, sauces, cans, jars of pickles…etc. Then start throwing everything that is old and expired in the trash.
You want to check on your veggies, keep what’s still edible and throw the rest away.
Clean it out
Now that your fridge is empty, start by cleaning every shelf on its own. What I normally do is separate the shelf from the fridge (if it’s separable) and I wash it in the sink, dry it and put it back in the fridge. If you don’t have much time, you can just clean it while it’s in its place.
You want to make sure to reach out to every corner in your fridge to get rid of any sticky area or if there’s trapped food between drawers.
After making sure it’s clean, you can play with your shelf organization, in some fridge you have the option to change places of drawers and shelves, some changes can be very beneficial.
Designate your fridge
This is when you can get creative and make some changes to your fridge, now you can assign shelves for other purposes than what they previously served, and other shelves can only work for what they’re made for.
Therefore, look at the number of groceries that you put in your fridge, think for a second ‘do you really need an entire shelf for beverages and cans?’. Be realistic and start assigning zones for each product based on their quantity and frequent utilization.
One thing you should do is make sure the products are clean, sometimes a sauce bottle can have a sticky bottom or a jam jar can be dripping, so make sure your products are clean to avoid any frustration.
When I start stacking, I normally get done with zones that have been already dedicated for specific products, for example, if you have a deli drawer, just organize all deli meat and cheese inside it, close it and start doing something else.
Beverages and cans
They always get in the way, what I normally do is organize them on door compartments because they are frequently used and I want to make sure they have easy access to avoid any disruption of other areas of the fridge when looking for them.
Vegetables and fruits
My Toshiba Fridge has adjustable crisper drawers where you can control temperature and humidity to store certain foods. For example, I normally put anything that rots easily in a low-humidity drawer such as apples, pears, avocados, and melons. And veggies such as cucumber, zucchini and leafy vegetables are stored in the high-humidity drawer.
You can never guess how much space you need for leftovers, so I normally keep a considerable space for any leftovers, and I want to make sure they’re also getting easy access. Therefore, the middle shelf is usually assigned for food that needs to be eaten in a couple of days. This way, if anyone’s hungry they can just grab and go.
I know how troublesome jars can get because you rarely use them but you must reserve a place for them in the fridge.
I usually assign top shelves for jars and things that I don’t use much, I don’t need easy access to them, and I would know where to find them based on the way they look (a jar). So, I’ll just stack them next to each other.
This tip is not for everyone, I do this because I have a lot of jars that need to go in the fridge and they need a lot of space both horizontally and vertically.
There are many containers designed for fridges, for refrigerated snacks like yogurt or pudding, you can use a see-through container to stack them. You don’t want to waste a shelf or a drawer for these kinds of snacks, their size is small so you need to get creative of how you stack them to avoid space waste. I normally put the products that would expire first in the front, for easy reach.
Door compartments food
These are usually already assigned and doesn’t leave you much room to get creative.
When it comes to butter or anything spreadable, putting them in a glove compartment is the best thing you can do unless you reserve that space for medicine that needs to be in the fridge.
Any sauces; soy sauce, hot sauce, salad dressing…etc. I like to keep at door compartments as well, this way they won’t use much space and they can easily be reached whilst I’m cooking.
As for eggs, I have a see-through container for eggs that helps me stack the rest of the eggs that don’t fit in the assigned door compartment. I usually organize them in both places, one for easy reach for when I want to make scrambled eggs in the morning, and another for when the supply on the door compartment gets low.
If you own a single door refrigerator or any other style, I believe the tips I shared above can be applied to any fridge to help you get your fridge organized and clean.