Ah the fridge! Personally, my least favourite household appliance. Several reasons really, it’s cold, there’s raw food inside…I don’t need to go on…
It’s important to keep this space clean, free from horrible smells and out of date food. This is especially true now that summer is here.
During the summer months, the fridge can get quite a workout. Food can spoil quicker, so sometimes we might keep more food in the fridge than we usually would. Kids are at home so they’re in and out looking for snacks all the time. We swap our cups of tea for a cold diet coke! The fridge is working overtime for us but a little bit of organisation can help it do it’s job!
Before tackling your fridge organisation, set yourself up with plastic bags for general waste, recycling and glass bottles. Make sure that the sink and surrounding counter top are clear and clean. And lay out some tea towels as the fridge shelves, when we come to cleaning them, won’t fit on your dish rack.
Remember that an open fridge door wastes a lot of energy and electricity. So when you are not working at the fridge, keep the door shut!
Sort & Toss!
Remove the contents of your fridge. Check the expiry date on EVERYTHING you handle and throw out anything that is gone past its’ use by date or anything you know you won’t be using or eating anytime soon.
Anything that you are keeping, place it all on one shelf in the fridge and remove all the other shelving and containers for cleaning. Alternatively, you could place your food in freezer bags (but don’t get distracted & forget all about the food inside!)
Next, wash and disinfect the fridge shelving, drawers and door balconies with some warm water and soap. This can take quite a bit of time as everything is so large and bulky.
While the fridge is empty, wipe down the interior of the fridge with a disinfectant wipe or just some soap and hot water.
If you can, instead of throwing plastic condiment bottles out to the bin, clean them out and throw them into the recycling instead. It’s a bit of a pain to do, but think of the Earth!
Give jars, containers and bottles a wipe down before returning them to the fridge to get rid of any stickiness.
Once the shelving, drawers and door balconies are returned to the fridge, it’s now time to re-organise the contents of your fridge.
The bottom shelf is the coldest part of the fridge while the temperature is most consistent on the middle shelf. And the temperate at the door fluctuates (obviously!). Some produce will need to be kept cooler than others, so assign produce to the shelves accordingly.
If you have drawer bins in the fridge, use these to store raw meats, fish, sea food and keep them separate from the other items in the fridge. If you are placing raw meats on a shelf, put it on the bottom one so that any drips don’t contaminate other food.
The balconies are small in height and narrow in width. Place items of a similar size into this space. For instance, yoghurts, cans of soft drinks or condiments.
Don’t overstuff your fridge. In order for a fridge to work it’s magic, cool air needs to circulate. If your fridge is too full, food will spoil quicker. So just like every other area of your home, don’t fill up every inch of space!
Put the bags of rubbish out to the bins and straighten up the kitchen sink and counters again.
Maintaining the Organisation!
Containers and baskets for different categories of food will keep items together and organised in the fridge.
Lazy susan’s are handy inside the fridge so as to avoid some items getting pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten!
Labelling containers, bins, drawers, door balconies etc. with their contents will make sure that all members of the family put items back in the right spot and this will help maintain its’ new system.
Keep a pen and set of labels near the fridge. Once you open a product, pop on a label and mark the ‘open’ date on it. This way you won’t wonder how long it’s been open for before you use it and can toss it out if it’s been too long.
Before you do your grocery shopping, do a quick scan of your fridge contents and throw out gone-off food. By doing this you are better prepared for your food shopping as you will neither buy something you already have nor forget something you needed. Also, you won’t be putting fresh produce in with out of date items.
Happy Organising !