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Housekeeping 101: Tips to Organize Your Refrigerator

Davidson Woman Reaching into a Clean Refrigerator for a Red Bell PepperAn untidy fridge can potentially cause issues. From forgotten leftovers to random items stuffed in the fridge — if it’s not tidy in there, then it can create problems for your health and budget. On the bright side, though, we can always resort to organizational strategies to help us avoid this mess. By keeping your fridge organized, you can make the most of your available space and keep everything fresh and ready to eat.

Clean and Sort

Organizing a fridge means, before anything else, cleaning and sorting all of your fridge items. Take everything out of the refrigerator and inspect for expiration dates, mold, or other indications of spoiled food. Any item past its expiration date should automatically be thrown out. If you have any leftovers or food in plastic storage containers that may have been in there for who knows how long, you should throw them out. Because we’re talking about food, it’s always best to be cautious.

Now that your fridge is empty, take the time to deep-clean your fridge’s interiors. Using hot, soapy water or a mild bleach solution, wipe down and dry all surfaces, including inside drawers and bins. This will allow you to start anew with a clean fridge for your new organization system.

Label Everything

Keeping your fridge organized starts with an inventory of how long the food has been kept inside. While many pre-packaged foods will come with an expiration or sell-by date on them, for fruits and veggies or food that you bring home or that is leftover from meals, keep track of them by having a system in place that notes when you added them to the fridge and when they need to be thrown out.

You can use a dry-erase marker to write the dates of meals and takeout on the container. Using the inside of your fridge, you could do something similar for your perishables. By noting both when you brought them home and when they need to be used, you can guarantee that your groceries will be put to good use before they get a chance to spoil. Also, you can avoid eating leftovers that could make you sick.

Use Containers

Keeping loose items tidy in a fridge can be hard, especially things like fruits, vegetables, and even small condiment jars. To keep everything neat and clutter-free, you can make use of clear storage bins so that you can group loose items together. One thing you can try using is quality reusable food storage containers with tight-fitting lids. This can help you store food safely and reduce waste by reusing your containers over and over again.

You can also use a dry-erase marker on the bins and storage containers to keep track of the dates things were purchased. Using bins and storage containers in your fridge will free up space for larger items elsewhere and more easily track expiration dates of perishable items.

Develop a System

As you substitute certain items, it’s important that you develop a system for storage. This allows you to know where your items are placed in case you need them. Also, it guarantees that your food lasts longer and that it’s much safer. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.

Ideally, meat should be kept on the lowest shelf to avoid dripping and contaminating other food. The fridge door is not the ideal place to store your milk as this will expose it to warm air often, leading to spoiling. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.

Plan Ahead

When you’ve already cleaned and organized your fridge, your next step is to plan how to keep it that way. Keeping an organized fridge means cleaning it on a scheduled basis. Doing this allows you to clean the fridge and throw out the old items that are no longer usable. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. You could dedicate a day per month or every other week to go through all of your items, rotating and updating your fresh produce, and wiping down fridge surfaces. Regularly doing this means you don’t have to do a deep-clean and purge your fridge and freezer.

In following these basic but effective steps, you can ensure that your fridge stays clean and organized.

 

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