A messy fridge can be a nightmare for everyone. Organizing a messy fridge can feel like an even bigger nightmare. Food drips, spillage, spoiled food, and impossible-to-find ingredients are the biggest issues when using a messy fridge. However, it isn’t impossible to make a system to organize your fridge properly and keep your food fresh. Below are some great hacks that work wonders to ensure a tidy organized fridge. So let’s dive right in!
Disorganized Fridge Leads To Food Waste
A John Hopkins University study revealed that 31-40% of the food supply is wasted every year, which is roughly worth $ 161.6 billion per year. As an individual, you can help combat this by sparing the time to organize your refrigerator and designate food items that are likely to be spoiled quickly such that they are eaten first.
Eat Me First! Box
For perishable food items or those with expiry dates looming near, an “Eat Me First” box is the best place to keep them. Now you can say bye-bye to food waste. Read more about how long foods last and how to reheat them at Limit less cooking to make the most out of your grocery trips.
Labeling all your food items will help you remember when you bought/cooked that item and prevent them from going bad. Alternatively, you can use printable labels for different compartments of your fridge. This will help you find things quickly and look great as well. This is particularly helpful for meal prep to label your meals for the week.
A quick and effective option is to use an erasable marker to list all the contents of your fridge with the expiry date on the inside wall to skip the labels entirely.
Overfilled Fridges Are Worse Than an Empty One
Thanks to the pandemic, panic-induced food hoarding was at an all-time high. If your fridge is on the verge of spilling out all the food every time you open the door, then you are doing it wrong.
Not only do you risk spoiling the long-forgotten foods at the back of your fridge, but overfilling your fridge also blocks air vents, reduces airflow, and reduces energy efficiency.
On the other hand, stock your nearly empty fridge with a few bottles of water. Chilled water aids in keeping the temperature low. The ideal fridge is two-thirds full.
Pre-cut Fruits And Veggies At Your Own Risk
Even though pre-cut fruits and veggies make an easy, healthy snack and make cooking easier, they are at risk of spoiling faster than their whole forms. The greater surface area exposure makes them prone to going bad. Instead, wash and cut them when you are ready to eat them.
Don’t Store Milk in the Fridge Door
Despite the popular practice of storing milk in the fridge door, this isn’t the best place for your milk bottles. The door and the top shelf are the warmest spots in your fridge. Milk spoils easily; therefore, the best place for that is the middle shelf.
The same applies to eggs – avoid the egg compartment of your door. Instead, reserve the door for condiments. For fridges that have designated dairy and sandwich meats, use them. Snacks and leftovers should be stored on the top shelf.
Fruits and Veggies Aren’t Ideal Drawer Mates
Most new fridges have separate compartments for fruits and veggies. However, no matter how tempting, stashing extra veggies in the fruit drawer may not be a good idea.
That is because the veggie drawer has high humidity calibrations to slow down wilting, whereas the fruit drawer has low humidity, which prevents them from rotting. Moreover, the ethylene released from fruits will spoil your vegetables prematurely.
Fortunately, an exception to this rule is strawberries. Strawberries retain their freshness when stored in the vegetable drawer as they last longer in humidity and don’t tolerate ethylene. Also, remember to not wash strawberries before storing them.
Reserve The Lowest Shelf For Meats
The meat goes in the freezer compartment or the lowest shelf in the refrigerator. This is to prevent any drip onto any foods. You can also place a tray under the meat to contain leaks and help clean any spillage easily.
Make Use of Baskets And Bins
Do you find yourself constantly searching for your favorite condiment or chutney whenever you need them? A disorganized fridge must be the cause. BIns and baskets are the perfect solutions to all your messy fridge woes.
Just like your pantry, you can use these organizational tools- use a tray for your meats, colander for citrus fruits, bins for condiments, lazy susans for those hard-to-reach items at the back of the fridge.
Treat Soft Herbs Like a Bouquet
Imagine, you are about to garnish your favorite dish with some cilantro only to find nearly all of them have browned to your dismay. We have all been there. To avoid this scenario, always treat soft, leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley, just like fresh-cut flowers.
Trim the stems and put them in a glass or mason jar filled with water covered by a loose piece of cloth. Then place them on the middle shelf of the fridge. They will easily last a week.
Give Pantry Products A New Home
You would be surprised by how many items in your pantry would fare better in your refrigerator. This includes soy sauce, maple syrup, organic nut butter, soy and nut milk, whole-grain flour, and even yeast!
Save All Your Deli Containers
Store your leftovers in deli containers of different sizes. As these stack atop each other neatly, there’s no risk of leaking if they accidentally fall over.
Give Your Lemons and Limes A Drink of Water To Last Longer
Instead of leaving your lemons and limes lying on the countertop to dry out, store them in your refrigerator. A bag or container filled with a small amount of water sealed properly is the best storage for your sour friends. This is because citrus fruits are super porous and dry out quickly when left in the open air.
Store And Arrange Items According To Compatibility
This is an obvious idea at first; however, most people eventually give up stacking items that go together and instead stash everything together. For instance, peanut butter, eggs, milk, deli meats, and cheese should always be paired for convenience. Similarly, stack and pair items that you use together depending on your eating habits.
Line Shelves and Drawers
You don’t want the odd drips from bottles, gravy drops, pastry crumbs, and so on to ruin your fridge. Combat this by lining the drawers and shelves with a water-resistant liner with ridges that you can easily wipe and remove for deep cleaning, as well as allowing proper air circulation.
DIY Magnetic Storage Bins
An easy trick is to attach magnetic strips to the bottom of small containers to store items like nuts and stick them on the side of your fridge. The same trick can be used for magnetic bottle hangers to make the most of your fridge space.
DIY Egg Carton
The struggle to pump out the last drops of ketchup is real. Store your condiments upside down in an older egg carton, and never worry about this again.
Bonus Tip: Frosting Acts As a Seal For Untouched Cakes
Frosted cakes can be stored at room temperature unless it is hot & humid or the frosting is made with cream cheese. In such cases, store the unwrapped, frosted cake in the fridge for a few days without ruining your icing work by wrapping it in plastic.
Many of these tips may seem obvious at first glance, yet many people miss them. An organized fridge is not only pleasing to look at but is also healthy and prevents spoilage and, in turn, reduces food waste. The first few tries may be frustrating. But once you understand the layout of your fridge and the items you place, you will get the hang of organizing your fridge that suits your needs best.
Furthermore, many people enjoy the process of organizing as it can be soothing. Turn on your favorite podcast and get working on converting your fridge into a storage haven with these stellar hacks!