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Housekeeping 101: Tips to Organize Your Refrigerator

El Segundo Woman Reaching into a Clean Refrigerator for a Red Bell PepperIf your fridge is not neatly arranged, you could run into some problems. It could be forgotten leftovers or even random ingredients — a fridge that is not organized can be problematic for your health and budget. With a few organizational strategies, though, you can easily avoid these potential problems. By keeping your fridge organized, you can make the most of your available space and keep everything fresh and ready to eat.

Clean and Sort

When organizing a fridge, cleaning and sorting all of your fridge items is an essential step. Make sure that you check everything in your refrigerator for expiration dates, mold, or any other hints of spoiled food. If you see anything that is already beyond its expiration date, don’t hesitate to throw it out. Should there be any leftovers or food in plastic storage containers, make sure you know how long they’ve been there; if not, it’s best to just throw them out. When it comes to food, you really just want to be cautious.

Now that your fridge is empty, take the time to deep-clean your fridge’s interiors. Using hot, soapy water or a mild bleach solution, wipe down and dry all surfaces, including inside drawers and bins. This will allow you to start anew with a clean fridge for your new organization system.

Label Everything

An organized fridge is one that has an inventory of how long the food has been inside. While many pre-packaged foods will come with an expiration or sell-by date on them, for fruits and veggies or food that you bring home or that is leftover from meals, consider labeling them with dates as to when you added them to the fridge and when they need to be thrown out.

Pro tip: best to use a dry-erase marker to write the dates of meals and takeout on the container. As for your perishables, you can use the inside of your fridge. By noting both when you brought them home and when they need to be used, you can make sure that your groceries are being consumed before they spoil, and that you avoid eating leftovers that could potentially make you sick.

Use Containers

Keeping loose items tidy in a fridge can be hard, especially things like fruits, vegetables, and even small condiment jars. To group loose items together, what you can do is use clear storage bins. This allows you to keep everything tidied up and free from clutter. One thing you can try using is quality reusable food storage containers with tight-fitting lids. This can help you store food safely and reduce waste by reusing your containers over and over again.

You can also use a dry-erase marker on the bins and storage containers to keep track of the dates things were purchased. Using bins and storage containers in your fridge will free up space for larger items elsewhere and more easily track expiration dates of perishable items.

Develop a System

Develop a system for storing everything, now that you are starting to reorganize. This makes it possible for you to know where all of your items are. You can make your food last longer and safer, too. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.

Meat should always be stored on the lowest shelf because it might drip and contaminate other food. Another thing is, don’t store milk in the fridge door. Why? Because that means it will get exposed to warm air too often — this leads to spoiling. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.

Plan Ahead

When you’ve already cleaned and organized your fridge, your next step is to plan how to keep it that way. An organized fridge needs to be cleaned every now and then so that you can throw out the old items that can no longer be used. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. Have a specific day in a month or week to go through your fridge, rotate and update your fresh produce, and wipe down fridge surfaces. Making a habit of doing this will make it so that you won’t have to go through the grueling process of a deep-clean and purge of your fridge and freezer.

It’s not rocket science, really. All you have to do is follow these simple steps to keep your fridge clean and organized.

 

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