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Housekeeping 101: Tips to Organize Your Refrigerator

Magnolia Woman Reaching into a Clean Refrigerator for a Red Bell PepperA messy fridge can be quite troublesome. Whether it’s forgotten leftovers or lost ingredients — a fridge that is messy can pose potential issues to 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

A key step to organizing a fridge is to clean and sort all of your fridge items. Go through your refrigerator and check for expiration dates, mold, and other signs of spoiled food. If an item is beyond its expiration date, 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. You really don’t want to take any chances when it comes to food and your health.

With an empty fridge, you should 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. You can begin implementing your organization system with a clean fridge.

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, you might want to keep track of fruits and veggies or food that you bring home or that is leftover from meals so that you know when you added them to the fridge and when they will need to be thrown out.

To make it easier for you, 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. Keep your fridge clutter-free by making use of simple clear storage bins to group loose items together. Contemplate investing in some 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

As you exchange certain items for others, you should start to develop a system for storing them. You will be able to know exactly where each item is, and you can make your food last longer and make it safer. For example, take note that certain items should be kept in certain places.

Remember that meat should be kept on the lowest shelf so that it doesn’t drip and contaminate other food. With milk, it’s best not to let it get exposed to warm air often as this spoils it. So, avoid keeping it in the fridge door. You can also separate your fruits and vegetables, and use trays for messy items to prevent spills.

Plan Ahead

After you’ve cleaned and organized your fridge, it is key that you come up with a plan to keep it that way. You can have the most organized fridge and still eventually need to clean it, to free it from old items that might not be needed anymore. Consider creating a cleaning schedule to ensure that your fridge stays organized. One way you could do this is to set aside a day in a month or week to go through everything, rotating and updating your fresh produce, and wiping 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.

These are some of the many steps you can take to make sure that your fridge is kept clean and organized.

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