We’ve all gone through it–we open the refrigerator looking for a certain item, but with all of the clutter, it takes 10 minutes to find what we’re searching for shoved all the way in the back. Fridge organization is an art, and keeping everything in its proper place will not only help your fridge to look better, your food will also be easier to find and you may have fewer occasions where you’re discovering yogurt that’s six months past its expiration date. Here are some tips and tricks for how to organize a refrigerator:
Clean It Out
The first step to organizing refrigerator contents is to take out everything. Chances are, there may be things on your shelves that you haven’t seen since you moved in. Out with the bad and in with the good! Throw away any expired food and unused condiments as you go shelf by shelf. If you have an over-packed fridge, your food can actually spoil faster. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food cool and prevent it from going bad too early. If you find that you constantly have a packed fridge, you may be buying just a bit too much food from the grocery store (which we’re all guilty of). Start making smaller lists so you can eat all of the food you bought before it spoils.
Bonus tip: After you’ve cleaned your fridge, lines the shelves with Press and Seal wrap. Next time, you’ll just have to change the wrap rather than scrubbing the shelves.
Check the Temperature
If you have your fridge’s temperature too low, unwanted and harmful bacteria could start to grow on your food and if it’s too cold, your food could start to freeze. Set it at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow a Fridge-Packing Plan
Certain foods survive longer when they’re in specific areas of the fridge. Follow this guide for fresh and easy-to-find food:
Vegetables: Veggies always last a bit longer when there is a bit of humidity–which is why those drawers at the bottom of your fridge are labeled “veggies.” This drawer is the moistest location in your fridge. Store them in their original packaging or in the plastic bag you put them in at the store with a loose twisty tie on top.
Fruit: Fruit is high maintenance and also belongs in its own separate drawer, oftentimes marked as “the crisper.” Just like vegetables, you should keep it in its original packaging or a plastic bag. Leave them unwashed until you use them, because excess water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow.
Deli meats: Here comes another drawer diva. Deli meats should be stored in the shallow drawer, which is kept slightly colder than the rest of the fridge. However, if your fridge doesn’t come equipped with such a drawer, these meats survive best on the bottom shelf.
Milk: Because we often grab the milk often, whether it’s for cereal or to go with cookies, so we keep it right in the middle of the top shelf. However, this shouldn’t be your milk’s true home. It would be much happier on the bottom shelf, all the way in the back, where the refrigerator is coldest.
Yogurt: Dairy favorites like yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream are best placed on the bottom shelf as well. Stack items on a turntable to keep everything visible. It’s easy for small containers to get shoved in the back.