Is your refrigerator filled to the gills? Are you afraid to open it for fear everything will fall out? If you answered yes to these questions chances are you also think you have nothing to eat too. The best way to get back on track and get your fridge organized and create a habit of keeping it that way! With the holiday’s behind us now is the perfect time to clean out all of the leftovers and get the new year off to a great start.
I clean out my fridge each week before I buy new groceries, it helps me create a list for what I need and I wipe it out with Clorox wipes so it is ready to be restocked. You probably think I am nuts for doing it every week but it really only takes me about 10 minutes. I never seem to have a lot in my fridge, but I am always organized enough to put a few meals together. It is typically stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, lots of cheese, some meat, milk, juice, lemonade, wine, and condiments. I try not to buy that many prepackaged foods because they can be expensive and sometimes unhealthy.
Recently I helped a client organize her refrigerator, she was worried that I wouldn’t be up for it because it isn’t the most glamorous project but I jumped at the opportunity because it is one of my favorite things to do, I even snapped some pictures to help illustrate this tutorial…
Here is what you need to do…
1.) Empty out your fridge! Take a look at all of the labels and toss the items that are expired, moldy, or you just don’t need. If you have lots of perishable items like meat and dairy products you might want to store them in a cooler or an extra fridge if you have one. Put the rest of the items on the counter based on category, for example, drinks, cheese, meat, salad dressing, sauces, yogurt, etc..) This will make it easier to plan where things should go based on their quantity.
2.) Remove the shelves and the drawers. Either suds them up in the kitchen sink or put them in your bathtub and let them soak.
3.) Wipe out the inside: I like to use Clorox wipes or a Clorox cleaning spray to make sure it is completely disinfected but if you prefer to go a more natural route try mixing up a 1/4 cup baking soda with a quart of water.
4.) Once it is all cleaned out an dry put the shelves back in. Take advantage of adjustable shelves and drawers, move things around to fit your needs.
5.) Start Restocking: I always plan where things need to go based on the quantity of the items, the most important part about stocking your fridge correctly is keeping “like” items together. How many times have you found a sour cream container in the back of the fridge after you just bought one because you didn’t know it was there? By keeping the like items together it will make life easier on the meal planner and shopper and the rest of the family because they can easily find what they are looking for.
6.) Keep all “Like” Items Together! I kept my clients items together after I sorted them, I stored their meat in a drawer, their cheese in a drawer, their snacks and yogurt together, etc.. Designate a place for every category and stick to your location, you might need to create labels to help remind everyone in your household where things go.
For this project I used Interdesign Fridge Bins, I don’t always recommend them but they really helped this particular client keep her items divided and prevent items from disappearing in the back of her fridge.
8.) Maintain, Maintain, Maintain! By cleaning out your fridge every week or two you will be able to better manage your inventory, saving you time and money when it is time to plan and shop. I hope these tips help you stay organized!