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Housekeeping 101: Tips to Organize Your Refrigerator

Muskegon Woman Reaching into a Clean Refrigerator for a Red Bell PepperA fridge that’s not properly organized can pose some problems. Whether it could be leftovers or misplaced ingredients, a fridge that is not properly organized can pose problems to your health and budget. The positive side is that there is a way we can avoid this — by using a few organizational strategies! 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

Firstly, organizing a fridge starts with cleaning and sorting all of your fridge items. Check the items inside your refrigerator for expiration dates, mold, and any signs of food that’s spoiled. Should there be any items past the expiration date, remove them. With leftovers and food in plastic storage containers, it would be wise of you to dispose of them, especially when you can’t be certain if they’re still fresh or not. Because we’re talking about food, it’s always best to be cautious.

Because your fridge is now clutter-free, you can 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. A clean fridge is a great starting point for your new organization system.

Label Everything

The first step in fridge organizing is to jot down an inventory of how long your food has been in storage. 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, it would be wise to have some kind of note as to when you added them to the fridge or when they need to be thrown out.

Consider using a dry-erase marker to write the dates of meals and takeout on the container. The same concept could be applied to your perishables; perhaps you could use the inside of your fridge. By noting both when you brought them home and when they need to be used, you can use up your groceries on time before they spoil and you can avoid eating leftovers that might 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. So that these items don’t clutter, try using clear storage bins to group loose items together. Think about investing in some 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 help you easily track expiration dates of perishable items.

Develop a System

As you exchange certain items for others, you should start to develop a system for storing them. Aside from immediately knowing where your items are, you can also make sure that your food lasts longer and that it’s safe. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.

Meat must be kept on the lowest shelf to avoid dripping and contamination of other food. And, don’t store milk in the fridge door because it can lead to spoiling when exposed to warm air too often. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.

Plan Ahead

It’s one thing to clean and organize your fridge — it’s another to keep it that way. So, come up with a plan as to how you can do that! In time, even the most organized fridge will need to be cleaned and purged of old items that need to be tossed. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. Pick a day within a week or a month to thoroughly go through your fridge, rotating and updating your fresh produce, and wiping down fridge surfaces. Being diligent in this routine will mean that you won’t have to resort to a deep-clean and purge of your fridge — something that is not at all enjoyable.

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

 

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