Organizing your Fridge in 5 Easy Steps

By Lauren
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    Is your refrigerator always a mess? Check out how to Organize your fridge in 5 easy steps and keep it that way for good!

    If your fridge is anything like mine, every couple of weeks you clean out old food that you forgot about, didn’t eat, and has gone bad. Oh, the guilt! Not only are there starving children all over the world, but I feel like I am throwing my money away (because I am)!

    Time to re-organize the fridge so that we can save money by using up as much of our food as possible. Here are 5 easy steps for organizing your fridge AND keeping it that way!

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    1. You have to start with a deep clean!

    There is no way around this; this is not the right project to do halfway! Take EVERYTHING out and wipe it all down. Straight white vinegar is a great way to clean the glass and plastic before putting your foods back in. Vinegar deodorizes, too…or maybe I'm the only one that needs to clear out the interesting smells?!

    I took everything out and laid it on my kitchen floor, and as you can see, it was a lot! Then I sorted as I put it back in, and I also threw out a lot.

    {You can also read my post about how to clean your fridge in 30 minutes or less}

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    2. Less is More

    There are so many reasons to have less stuff in your fridge, but one of them isn’t so you can add more stuff, haha! If you have a bit less in your fridge, your food will actually last longer, it’ll be easier to find and use things up, and you will just feel happier when you open it and look for things.

    Start by throwing things away: things that are expired, things that have gone bad, and things that are still good but you will never use.

    That’s the hardest part for me, getting rid of things that I will never use, because part of me wants to find a way to use it “some day.” But you’ll thank yourself once it’s gone! Set your guilt aside for this step with the knowledge that this is a baby step toward not wasting any more food in the future!

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    3. Location, Location, Location

    Some people love to use containers and bins to organize the fridge and I have even see people put a lazy susan on the top shelf, but I wasn’t looking to spend more money while doing this! I did grab an old basket I had around, but you should only invest in containers if that’s what will work for you.

    With or without your baskets and containers, you need to create zones for all of your food items. You should also think about making groupings that work for YOU, even if they are not traditional. You can think about how you use your food, what you need to use up first, and where you will naturally see or use things. Choose where to keep your food strategically, so that you will actually use it!

    For example, I keep cans and bottles in one of the bottom drawers because I hate when they roll around and if I keep produce down there I forget to use it. I put the produce I just got from my farm CSA on the shelf in the middle and I keep my eggs in the small space under the meat and cheese drawer.

    I feel like I always have a big pot or crockpot ready to go or recently cooked, so I created a space to keep that in. I did what works for me and my family. I also created a special zone for leftovers, read more below!

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    4. Eat Me Now!

    This strategy is new to me, but I am so excited about it! Some people like to use a red bin or a box, but I just went with the top shelf. I labeled it “Eat Me Now, Eat Me ASAP” and “Leftovers-Eat ASAP.” I’m going to put everything that needs to be eaten soon and all leftovers on that shelf. This way we will always know where to find it, people will see it immediately when opening the fridge, and if I do have to clean out, it’s all in one place! I put some produce, a bunch of leftovers, and some open jars there today and I’m excited to watch them disappear!

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    5. Lock It in for the Long Term

    It’s so easy to do the fridge clean out a re-organization, but it sometimes feels impossible to keep it that way! I used masking tape and a sharpie to label all of my zones so that other members of the household and guests could easily find things and put them back!

    I would also recommend putting leftovers in smaller containers that are serving-sized for easy grabbing, packing, etc. This can apply to anything bought in bulk as well. Putting leftovers in clear or labeled containers is another great way for people to see what’s in them.

    I’m also going to label usage or expiration dates in sharpie for easy reference. Finally, it's smart to keep supplies like plasticware, tape, and a permanent market close by for easy fridge maintenance!

    I didn't include any tips about your freezer because these same 5 tips should apply!  Also, my final word to the wise: give this a try and see how it goes.  If in a week or two, you find that one of your zones isn't big enough or isn't getting used, just change it!  Don't feel pressured to stay locked in to your first try and certainly don't give up, just re-zone.

    Is your refrigerator always a mess? Check out how to Organize your fridge in 5 easy steps and keep it that way for good!

     

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