Organizing your fridge can seem like a daily challenge, especially when you have a large household. Not only that, but this particular area is especially susceptible to spills and random debris, which means it can quickly and easily become one of the grossest areas of the house.
So how do you keep the refrigerator clean and tidy with so much going on in your day? Well, we’ve got a hand full of tips to help you do just that.
1. Get a fridge Lazy Susan
These devices are great on pantry shelves, cabinets, and even in the fridge. Place one near the top of a fridge shelf so you can always access smaller bottles without having to move them around.
2. Keep a freezer inventory
A great way to get rid of clutter in your freezer is to keep an updated list of everything you have in your freezer–this way you won’t forget expiration dates (wasting food and money) and you won’t buy unnecessary things.
3. Make sure to lay things flat
This applies to soups, sauces, meats, or anything else that makes sense. Instead of freezing large blocks of meat to stew. Freese them by flattening them first (like pancakes) before tossing them in the freezer. Use these “freeze file folders” and other packages to store food more easily in vertical or horizontal stacks.
4. You can freeze things in pre-portioned portions
Instead of freezing large blocks of meat, you can open the packages as soon as you return from the grocery store. Then, repackage each item into smaller (easier to thaw) portions that are suitable for your family. This will allow you to grab what you need when you need it.
5. Place an empty egg carton on the bottom of the door
The bottom of an egg container is the ideal holder for upside-down condiment bottles. You can squeeze every drop of liquid from the bottle, and it won’t tip over when you open the door.
5. Label, Label, Label
Include the date and contents of everything in the refrigerator and freezer. You might not be able to recognize the contents of that container in three months (even though you may think so).
6. Keep your ice cream out of the way
Your freezer’s door is warmer than the other areas, so make sure you have another place for your ice cream cartons. The same goes for your milk and fridge–never store these items on the door.
7. Designate a place to store leftovers or meal prep
Everything should have a place–this includes leftovers and meal prep containers. Make a dedicated space for these items in your refrigerator, such as on the bottom, or off to the side on the shelf.
8. Install an “Eat This First” area
Gather up any food in your fridge that is likely to go bad quickly and put it in a container towards the front of the shelves. Then label it with an “eat by” date. An official house rule can be set that states you must eat this stuff first. Prioritizing food like this will prevent you from wasting leftovers and can help save on food costs.
9. Rearrange the entire layout
Many fridge shelves can be adjusted, even those on the doors. Doing so can allow you to adjust things to make them more organized and personalized.
You can take the shelves out of their current position and reposition them if they don’t work for you–especially if you have a lot of tall drinks are jugs in your fridge. So try swapping fridge or freezer doors that open on one side. If you need instructions, Google the manual.
10. Use baking sheets as shelves
Why not improvise? Out of shelving? Use metal baking sheets to create more space inside your refrigerator. Need a low shelf for meal-prepping or lunch meat, consider tossing in a baking sheet. You can place one on top of a dish or bowl to create a whole new shelf.
11. Make use of snack bins
Install a snack bin inside or outside the refrigerator door. If you have young children, then you know that snacks are a daily priority. Or if you’re someone who prefers to snack between meals, try setting up a small being at the bottom of the refrigerator dedicated to snacks exclusively.
12. Pre-freeze fruit
Although it is an extra step to freeze fruit on a baking tray before freezing it for good, it will keep them from clumping and make them easier to store and unthaw. So be sure to cut up those chunks of cantaloupe, watermelon, or bananas before tossing them in the freezer. Not only will they save you space, but it’ll be easier when it’s time to munch on them.
13. Get rid of as many boxes and as many as possible
The bulkiness of boxes can take up valuable space– something common in many fridges across the globe. If possible, remove the contents from the box and place them in a basket. But don’ forget to cut out any instructions (take a picture of them) on how to cook the contents of the box and attach them to the package.
14. Organize shelves by product size and content
It helps to set up a system for the inside of your refrigerator doors. For example, if you have a lot of salad dressing containers, Butters, jams, and other condiments, organize them by size or by their use. Place condiments that you reach for often on the top for easy access, and less used ones on the bottom.
15. Learn how to use your crisper drawers
You don’t have to use your crisper drawers only for bread and beer bottles. Be sure to use them for fruit and vegetables, as they can extend their shelf life–particularly leafy green vegetables. When used correctly, they will not only help you save space but also prolong the life of your food.
16. Always keep meat in the lower portion of the refrigerator
A package of meat could leak at any time(God forbid it’s chicken). The possibility of meat juice leaking onto anything below the package is greater if it’s on the top shelf. You can minimize the potential mess by placing all uncooked AND cooked meat on the lowest shelf.