How to Organize Your Refrigerator
When it comes to waste, how you organize your refrigerator is very important. Most families kind of do it on the fly and food is constantly going to waste. None of us like to admit it, but it is one of those jobs that nobody wants to do. The biggest reason why is because it feels so complicated. The reality is that it can be very easy. If you have a plan to organize your refrigerator, you will keep it in tip top shape all the time. In addition, you will reduce the waste and maximize your grocery dollars.
The Initial Clean
To truly organize your refrigerator, you have to first get rid of those things that are eating up space and not being used. This is most easily done by touching each and every item in your refrigerator. Take each item out and determine if it is a keeper or not. Dispose of anything that has not been used and that you will likely not use again. Once you do this for each item, you should have an empty refrigerator that will be easy to clean.
Be very careful about dates and expiration. If things are really close to expiring, go ahead and get rid of them since you are starting fresh. Wipe down items as you pull them out.
Embracing a System
When you commit to organization, you also have to commit to a system of some kind. There are many types of systems one might consider, but the key is to stick with it. The system we are discussing here is the basic rotation method of organizing your refrigerator.
A good basic organization method is to place like items on specific shelves. Here is a sample:
- Condiments – Stored in the door
- Drinks – Bottom shelf
- Leftovers – Middle shelf
- Lunch-meats – Side Shelf
- Drawer 1- Fruits
- Drawer 2 – Veggies
- Drawer 3 – Meats
Your particular system may be different, but you should embrace it as a family. Once you get a total family buy in to the system, you will spend little to no time finding food or cleaning the refrigerator. You have to get total buy in, however. That takes some time and effort but is worth the investment.
TIP: We have found the 4-Piece Fridge and Freezer Storage Bins to be very helpful in keeping small items organized in our fridge and freezer!
Now that you have a system in place, replace all items in the spots they go. If you have more than one, put the newest in the back just the way they do in grocery stores. This way the oldest product is always used first.
Repeat all the things mentioned above for the freezer but take the time to defrost it as well. Starting with a fresh freezer is always a good thing. The freezer should be quick and easy (except for thawing it out) and you should spend only the time that is necessary to get it squared away.
I’ve really enjoyed my FoodSaver machine for lots of our freezer items. It also helps keep our Mason Jar Salads fresh for at least 7 days and that never happens when it’s left in the bag we purchased it in.
The Rest of the Story
The outside and top of the refrigerator counts too. Remove everything that is no longer valid to be there. (I will leave it up to you whether your 16 year old’s first painting is still needed on the fridge)
Clear the top of the refrigerator and organize what belongs up there as well. Most people use the top of the fridge for something specific but make sure you are consistent.
Keeping it that way
Making sure you organize your refrigerator is actually rather easy, but keeping it that way can be a challenge. For a few weeks, you will need to constantly remind yourself and others of the new system. With time, everyone will fall into place. Each member of the household should be assigned a part of the refrigerator to keep clean. This is rather easy to implement and it makes everyone’s job a snap. Give them a shelf or a drawer each and then follow up regularly when it is dirty. Over time, they will keep it straight on autopilot.
While this sounds like an investment, most things that are worthwhile are. Over time, the work more than pays for itself and will help your grocery budget through reduced waste as well.