Did you know that next month is National Clean Out Your Fridge Month? Do we really need a special day for this? Probably not. But in honor of this upcoming holiday, I’m sharing 12 tips to get your fridge in tip-top shape. And if you’re really enthusiastic about proper storage of foods in your fridge, pick up the October issue of Martha Stewart Living, where on page 168, I shared some ideas with Martha herself! It’s on newsstands right now.
All my best,
Sara Pedersen, Professional Organizer
Time to Organize® LLC
By Sara Pedersen
Is your refrigerator a black hole of fuzzy cheese, past-their-prime veggies, and unidentifiable leftovers? It’s time to get organized! In just a short time, you can take your fridge from funky to fresh! Begin by purging outdated and unsavory foods. Then, wipe down all shelving and bins so they’re squeaky clean. With your fresh slate, keep these storage tips in mind as you return foods to the fridge.
• Keep items you use most frequently near the front and at eye level.
• Store taller items in the back of the fridge and shorter items in front of them for easy visibility.
• Don’t forget that you can adjust a fridge’s shelves to maximize space.
• Group similar things together. For example, place all drinks on one shelf, veggies in one drawer, fruits in another, condiments on the shelves in the door, and all dairy together on one shelf.
• Containerize categories of items for easy accessibility. Invest in simple organizing tools, such as a Lazy Susan to hold condiments or a low, open-top bin to corral small jars.
• Use a label maker to label drawers, shelves, and containers with the general category of foods stored there. This not only makes it easy to locate the foods you need, but also allows family members to return foods to the correct area after meal prep and grocery shopping.
• Encourage healthy eating habits by storing good-for-you foods near the front of the fridge in easy-to-grab containers.
• Items that you store on the door will be subject to slight temperature drops each time you open the door, so opt to place things that don’t spoil easily in this area. Condiments, soda, juice, and open bottles of wine are good in the door. Milk , mayonnaise, and eggs are not.
• Generally, the bottom shelf is the coldest, so store your meats (in their original packaging) here. That also helps keep any drips from contaminating foods underneath them.
• Fruits and veggies give off different types of gases, so don’t store them together. Vegetables go in the crisper, fruits in the fruit drawer. Cold cuts and cheese can go in the deli drawer.
• Designate one shelf to store leftovers, and keep them in clear containers so you can easily see what you have.
• Do a five-minute tidy-up the evening before garbage day, purging anything expired or past its prime.