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Let’s talk about how to efficiently organize your refrigerator. The fridge is one of the most used appliances in a home. Each day it is opened numerous times, and the ability to find what you need easily can be life-changing. You will save time, know what to restock at a glance, and eliminate the waste from buried items spoiling. Organizing the most used spaces in a home will lead to the biggest impact, and the fridge is a great place to start.
Step 1: Clean it out
Start with a thorough cleaning. Be sure to wipe everything down and toss any foods that have expired. You can also toss foods that your family no longer eats. There is no need to spend time organizing items that you don’t want to keep anymore, and this is true for every space in your house.
Step 2: Categorize
Start by grouping your items. Are you a family that loves condiments? Do you have a constant influx of leftovers? Do you need a space for meal-prepped ingredients? These are things to keep in mind as you organize. In my family, we meal prep often and sometimes save leftovers, but they just have a short stay in the fridge before getting thrown away. (Why can’t my family eat leftovers!? lol!) We also need room for multiple salads that are eaten throughout the week. Other product categories to consider are condiments, sauces, canned items, produce, or relishes. Keeping these categories in mind aids in creating zones for different types of foods in your fridge.
Step 3: Be mindful about organizational product
Product should be used sparingly. I really mean this, especially in the fridge! Most people do not have a giant chef’s fridge, which is almost double the size of a normal fridge. Even if you do have one, it’s important to always think of the available space while organizing. We typically create different bins for dairy, fruits, veggies, and sometimes kids’ products. We also ask clients the same questions as in Step 2 above. Questions such as “do you need a leftovers area, and/or do you order from a delivery service that you’ll need to save room for in the fridge?” Not everything will be placed in a bin or on a turntable (yes, these work great in the fridge!), but knowing what needs a container will be helpful. This brings me to my next question…
Step 4: Measure
It is crucial to measure your fridge shelves before you purchase any containers. For example, there are several different sizes of turntables. There are also different types (with sides and without). If you have room for a 10 inch turntable but you purchase an 8 inch you’re not only limiting the number of items that will fit, but you’re also losing usable space behind the turntable. It is equally important to avoid purchasing products that are too large. If you purchase a 12 inch turntable but you aren’t filling it completely, then it can lead to wasted space. The same is true for bins. If a bin does not extend to the back of the fridge, items will inevitably get lost behind the bin. Measure and be intentional about what you have in each container.
Step 5: Label
The final tip is to add labels. In both my own fridge and in our clients’ refrigerators we add labels directly to the bins or drawers. It might seem silly or unnecessary, but it really helps things stay in the right spot. For example, in my home we eat a lot of berries so I have a drawer labeled for those. Humans are creatures of habit and all families have their “go to” items that are purchased week after week. Make room for those regular purchases whether it’s berries or some other food, and a label will help everyone in the home keep items in the right spot.