If you live with children in the house, you know the frustration. Children are notorious for putting things “away” by putting the item in the first place they see and then quickly closing the door. Maybe you’re guilty of it, too?
While this method works for some things, it almost always spells disaster when it comes to organizing your refrigerator. With the cost of food waste at an estimated $640 per year, per household, it may be time to re-evaluate how you organize your refrigerator. Organizing your refrigerator can make sure that your food ends up in the right places, rather than the trash. It also means less wasted money on food you’re not eating.
Refrigerator organization is also a big part of preventing food waste. Food should be stored where it makes sense, not just where it fits. Keeping reading for some great tips on organizing your refrigerator.
WHERE YOU STORE
The most common mistake people make in refrigerator organization is putting food where it fits rather than a space that makes sense. For example, milk should never be stored in the door of the fridge. Refrigerator temperatures fluctuate repeatedly in the door because it is opened and closed. To keep items like milk, sour cream, yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese from spoiling faster than they should, it is important to store them on the bottom shelf, all the way in the back, where it’s coldest.
Vegetables stay fresh longer with a bit of humidity. Fruit, on the other hand, belongs in the low humidity (or crisper) drawer. Store items in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied. Leave vegetables and fruits unwashed until you use them as water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow.
Butter and soft cheeses don’t need to be super cold so they can live in the door of the fridge. Same goes for condiments, ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressing. Because these items are generally high in vinegar and salt which are natural preservatives.
Another recommendation is keep food that is already opened at the front of the refrigerator. When you buy something new rotate the older items to the front so that they can be used before the expiration date. Not only does this make sure that you’re using the oldest food first, but it prevents waste from not being able to use opened food quick enough.
HOW YOU STORE
There are a number of options for storing food in the refrigerator. Whatever method you choose, make sure to clearly label what you’re putting in there. We prefer glass or plastic containers for storing leftovers. You can use washi tape and permanent marker to label the dish and date you put them into the refrigerator or freezer. Also, make sure that the container you’re using isn’t too big or too small for the item(s) your storing. Using the right size container makes sure you’re using your space wisely, and helps to keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
Want to take things a step further? Making a weekly meal plan and shopping on the same day of the week can help you prevent food waste as well. Shop only according to what you have planned. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. And prepare what you can in advance. That includes cleaning and straightening up the refrigerator before you go to the store. That way, when you get home, putting away your food is easier and more convenient.
Lastly, keeping your refrigerator organized helps you find what you’re looking for quicker. Thus avoiding the pitfalls of frustrated take-out ordering, wasted time and money.
How do you keep your refrigerator organized? Share your tips in the comments.
Of course, all the best back to school refrigerator organization hacks in the world won’t hold up to a refrigerator not running properly. If your refrigerator has not been running like it should, we can help with that, too! Our licensed technicians at PDQ Repair Services will make sure your refrigerator is at peak performance so your back to school time is worry-free.