An organized kitchen starts with an organized refrigerator! Every time you have to open the door, you let out cold air. The longer it is open, the more money you are throwing away. By keeping it organized, you will save money and time!
You will also be less likely to waste produce if nothing gets hidden and won’t accidentally purchase something you already had because it was shoved back into a corner. Having an organized fridge will make food prep easy and encourage you to keep your whole kitchen organized! Here are some of my favorite ways to organize the fridge and keep it that way!
One of the easiest ways to organize your fridge is to empty it, wipe down everything, and then put everything back neatly. How you organize really depends on the setup of your fridge, what types of foods you buy, and your personal preferences.
For me, condiments go in the top shelves of the door, nut milks & juice go in the tall shelf at the bottom of the door, and butter goes in the very top of the fridge door. My husband prefers to put all milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge and condiments wherever, so I often have to tidy it up after he’s been home for a week. Luckily, the kids leave everything on the counter for me to put away (sarcasm there). You'll have to determine what works best for you and your family, but here are some tips to help get you started.
- Meal planning: Make out a meal plan and post it on the fridge (or inside a nearby cupboard), so everyone can easily see what you have planned & can identify off limit foods. I’m a huge fan of meal planning and use PlantoEat.com to quickly save my recipes for the week & print my grocery list. Then, I print out the plan & store it on the side of my fridge.
- Group by like items: Store all condiments together. Either devote space in the door to them or set aside a shelf for them. If you have trouble finding the one you need, consider using a lazy susan on a shelf. If you have little kids that like to help, this might not work for you. My littles used to like to spin it and see how many they could get to fly out of the fridge, but my mother loves hers.
On the bottom shelf of my fridge, I have a tall section & a short section. I use the short section for things like yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, homemade stock, and other things that need to be used quickly. When I go to the store, I make sure to put the new items behind the older ones so nothing goes bad.
My tall section is used to store things like pancake syrup, a bottle of wine, cow's milk, and a pitcher of sun tea. Nut milks, goat's milk, coffee creamer, and other shorter bottles are in the door..
- Take advantage of drawers: My main fridge (we actually have 2 so I don't have to run to the store every other day) has 3 drawers. The lower left drawer is reserved for meat. It makes cleanup easy if anything leaks while defrosting and ensures that I don't have any cross contamination. The lower right is reserved for uncut produce. The top drawer is used to store herbs and cheeses.
- Reserve space for prepped produce & leftovers: My top left shelf is for produce that has been washed and cut. I store it in these clear containers, that we wash instead of tossing after each use. The top right shelf is for leftovers & prepared meals. For busy days, I will often get lunch for the kids ready the night before. I cut up their raw veggies, add their yogurt, and a protein to these nifty containers. I was able to pull all four containers out of the fridge, put them in a bag, and drop them off with a ready to eat lunch at Nana's without worrying about being late for my appointment. The shelf under my herb drawer is for snack foods & eggs. I store washed berries, grapes, and cut carrots & broccoli there for the kids to grab during snack times. This shelf is the perfect height for 2 dozen eggs, stacked on each other.
- Adjust your shelves: If you have adjustable shelves, don't be afraid to move them around! Don't leave a really tall space you won't use or have such a short space that barely anything fits on that shelf. If after a week you don't like how it is set up, clean out the fridge and try something else until you find what works for you.
An organized fridge may sound like a daunting task, but once you have a setup that works for you, you'll be so glad you took the time to get it set up. Just make sure you clean it out regularly!
Looking for more ways to get organized? Check out the entire 31 Days to an Organized Home series!
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