When was the last time you had a good look in your refrigerator? Maybe after you found out that something spilled in it or your fridge started to smell bad. We don’t blame you though. Cleaning refrigerator can be a challenging task. However, you can change this daunting task into a playful organization schedule with these easy to follow steps.
1. Start with an investment
When it comes to organizing your refrigerator, don’t be afraid to invest in some clear storage containers. Chances are you already have some containers at your home that you might have bought as some point to store your food or lunch.
In that case, it’s time to get them out of your cupboard and reuse them. If you don’t have any, don’t worry. Just buy some food storage containers. You can buy both plastic and glass containers.
See-through containers are extremely useful for the organization. Also, buy rectangular or square containers as they are more space efficient than the round ones.
The containers will serve you best if you know how to use them. For instance, you should store your leftovers either in glass containers or in lidded microwave-safe containers to find them and reheat them without much difficulty.
You can either use a label maker or use masking tape and a marker to write on it. Whatever method you choose, you will find labeling very useful when it comes to organizing. Always label the containers (both glass and plastic) with the name of the food item and the expiration date (or simply write down the date of storage).
It will simplify your search for food when needed. The expiration date will also help you to decide what food to consume. Just remember that leftovers should be consumed within three to four days. If the label shows more than four days, you should throw the leftovers away.
Moreover, you can adopt an easy technique while storing your leftovers in the container. Take a piece of plastic wrap and directly press it on the surface of your cooked food. It will help your food to stay fresh for longer.
Now that you have stored your cooked foods and leftovers in containers, let's discuss how to arrange them in your refrigerator.
● You should always store your containers with leftovers on one shelf.
● Keep the taller ones in the back and shorter ones in the front. It would help you to see the labels quickly.
● Store the container with close to the expiration date in the front for easy access. You can also label the container as ‘1’ or ‘Eat me first’.
● Get into the habit of transferring the remaining unfinished foods of half-used containers to smaller containers. It would free up the bigger containers and some space on the shelf.
You should organize your refrigerator by following professional and restaurant kitchens as they organize their refrigerators according to food safety. Store your foods on the temperature they need to be cooked to.
Leftovers, cooked foods and prepared foods (foods that you don’t need to cook) should be kept at the top shelf. Then, organize the shelves by going downwards.
Store the foods like raw, packaged meat at the bottom as it needs to be cooked to the highest temperature.
Furthermore, organizing your food in this way will help you to avoid cross-contamination.
Mason jars are best to store food in small portions. They are also good for preserving food items that don’t need to be cooked such as salad.
If you are into meal planning, you can easily store prepared breakfast such as overnight oats in them. Labeling them will also help you organize. Just remember one thing. Keep them upright cause they can cause spills.
Make sure you aren’t storing foods that don’t need to be chilled in the refrigerator. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, honey, peanut butter etc. are some of the food items that you don’t need to keep in your refrigerator.
You can put these food items (fruits and vegetables) in paper bags instead. Just make some holes in the paper bags for air circulation. Label the bags with the name of the food so you don’t have to open them to find what you need.
Store eggs and milk in the proper section of your refrigerator. Despite the common knowledge that they should be kept in the door storage area, eggs and milk stay good longer in colder temperature (lower shelves).
So, store them in the lower shelves. You can either use a basket or a plastic egg holder for this.
Even after all these arrangements, liquids would spill and the inside of your refrigerator would need to be cleaned up. Accidents happen, right?
So, put some shelf liners on the shelves and in the crisper drawers before storing your food. It would protect from any accidental spill and make wiping easier for you.
If you don’t want to buy shelf liners, you can make some with aluminum foils. Self-stick plastic wrap, wrapping paper or newspaper would also work as shelf liners.
If you have children at home, keep their drinks such as juices and go to snacks such as flavored yogurts in the lower door compartments. It would cause fewer spills inside of your refrigerator and your kids would be able to find their drinks and snacks themselves.
You can take precautions for bad smells beforehand by using baking soda. Just fill a plastic box with regular baking soda and keep it at the bottom of your refrigerator. It will absorb the foul smell.
You will find organizing your food in your refrigerator less tiring as soon as you adopt a schedule to check and clean regularly. Now that you came to know these simple steps, go ahead and arrange your refrigerator.