Now that spring-cleaning season is upon us, I’m beginning to get into organizational mode. This means I’ll be de-cluttering my closet, cabinets, and kitchen throughout the next few months. One of the first items on my list is to get my fridge organized. While I try to avoid letting my food expire before I eat it, sometimes it’s inevitable that condiments and containers build up over time. For this reason, I’ve done some homework on ways to organize my fridge to ensure it stays in an ordering (and fresh) fashion throughout the year. Check it out below!
First things first: Clean it out!
The first step when organizing anything is to clean it all out. Remove everything from your fridge and throw away expired food and unused condiments as you go. This organizing process should move quickly, so your food won’t be in room temperature for too long.
1. Leftovers: Love ‘em or leave ‘em.
I recently read that the average lifespan of leftovers should be 4 days max. Store them in clear glass containers so you are aware of what meals you can make and how long you have to eat them. See-through containers will allow you to plan ahead and take visual inventory of what you have.
2. Check your temp.
The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 40°F (5°C) or below. If you go any warmer, you run the risk of growing harmful food bacteria. Any colder, and some of your food may begin to freeze.
3. Milk master.
I have always been told never to place cartons of milk in the fridge door where temperatures are subject to fluctuation. Instead, milk does best in a stable temp zone, like on the middle or top shelf and all the way in the back where it’s coldest.
4. Breathing room.
An over-packed fridge is overwhelming, and it can cause your food to spoil faster too. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food cool and prevent it from spoiling prematurely. If you find yourself with a fridge that’s constantly full, try making two smaller grocery runs during the week instead of one huge one. This will also help you avoid buying too much food that goes bad before you are able to eat it.
5. Designate your drawers.
Your produce crispers and deli drawers should be on the correct setting to keep everything as fresh as possible. According to an article from Shine, deli meats do best in the shallow meat drawer, which is slightly colder than the rest of the fridge. Fruit should be stored in its original packaging or a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Vegetables belong in the drawer with the highest humidity, or the moistest spot in the fridge.
Tip: Never put fruits and vegetables with meats in the same drawer. It can lead to contamination and cause the food to spoil.
6. Egg-xactly in the middle.
Eggs, like milk, do best in a consistent temperature zone, so store your dozen on the middle shelf. Keep eggs fresh by leaving them in their original container.
7. Drip defense.
Placing your raw packaged meats on a top shelf can lead to a contamination disaster if the juices drip. Wrap raw meats thoroughly and securely, then store them on the bottom shelf.
8. Whole foods.
Meat, fruit, and veggies expire quickly when they have been chopped, sliced and diced. Keep your foods whole until you’re ready to consume them. (And be sure to read these tips for making your groceries last even longer!)
9. Move on up.
Most people assess what food they have and what food they need before going on a grocery run. Maximize this helpful strategy by moving older foods hidden in the back of the fridge to the front. This will allow you see what you need to eat up and what you need to buy at the market.
10. Clean machine.
Wipe up spills right when they happen to keep your fridge tidy and clean. Putting this off will only leave you with a sticky mess on your shelves and drawers.
I hope these fridge facts have inspired you to clean your kitchen this spring. Stay tuned for more of my spring-cleaning posts!
What area of your home do you find most difficult to keep organized?