Tips to Organizing your Refrigerator
It’s the holiday season and, for those hosting family and friends, that means a full fridge... but a full fridge doesn’t have to be a cluttered one. There’s nothing worse than having to dig around your fridge while trying to prepare dinner! Save yourself the hassle by getting your refrigerator organized and keeping it that way. Here are some tips:
The first thing you should do is clean out your refrigerator. How long has it been since you did a deep clean? Now is a great time to remove all items, dispose of expired products, and scrub the inside clean. Once your fridge is cleaned, it’s time to get organized!
As you replace items, keep these tips in mind.
- Set the temperature to 40°F (5°C) or below, as any warmer will risk growing harmful bacteria. Check humidity settings on produce, crispers, and deli drawers. Make sure each drawer is set to the correct settings to maintain optimal freshness.
- Figure out which items need to be refrigerated and which don’t. Common items that end up in the fridge unnecessarily are ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, garlic, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and bananas. You can save a lot of space this way by keeping items like these in a pantry instead.
- Take all your regularly used condiments and sauces and place them on the doors where they’re easily accessible. Stash items that are used only every so often together toward the back of the fridge, but remember to check expiration dates.
- Group like-items together to avoid hunting around or buying duplicates such as salad dressings, salsas, jams, or items like olives and pickles. Keeping them in labeled bins will allow you to pull them all out together.
- Eggs do best when kept in their original carton and on the middle shelf where the temperature is most consistent.
- Milk tends to land on the top shelf and this makes sense if you and your family are big milk drinkers. However, if you use milk is mainly for cooking purposes, place it on the bottom in the back where temperatures are coldest. You should never put milk or quick-to-expire items on the doors of your fridge, as the temperatures on the door can fluctuate.
- Packaged raw meat and seafood should go on the very bottom where it is the coldest. If juices drip, you won’t risk contaminating your whole fridge.
- Vegetables will stay fresher longer with a bit of humidity and should be stored in the drawer marked high humidity. Fruit stays fresher in the low humidity drawers, sometimes marked crisper. Keep fruit in original packaging or in a plastic bag loosely tied.
- Don’t slice food until you are ready to consume it. Chopped meat, fruit, and veggies spoil faster than whole items.
- Deli meats belong in the shallow meat drawer, which is slightly colder than the rest of the fridge, or, if there’s no such drawer, on the bottom shelf.
- Butter and soft cheeses don’t need to be super cold, so they can live in the dairy compartment on the door.
- Don’t overstock your fridge. Air needs to circulate around food to keep it cool. A crowded fridge can create warm spots and lead to spoilage. Remember to rotate items in the fridge before grocery trips. Move foods close to expiration date forward and throw away any foods that are past their expiration date.