Organizing the Fridge
Decluttering and Food Safety
Organizing the fridge is about more than making it easier to get to the eggs, although that is a great perk when cooking or baking. It’s about removing that forgotten takeout container buried behind the milk and juice. It’s about creating some logic in how you store (and rotate) your refrigeration-required food and condiments. Taking the time and energy to organize your fridge is as much about food safety as it is about decluttering.
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s a great time to get the fridge cleaned out, organized, and ready for all of your baking, hosting, happy holiday needs.
How to Organize the Fridge
- Remove everything from the fridge
- Wipe down all of the shelves and clean out the drawers
- Throw away all expired foods, sauces, and condiments
- Throw out anything you no longer recognize or haven’t used in the past 18 months
- Reload the fridge one shelf at a time
Know Your Cold and Hot Spots
When organizing the fridge, there are colder and warmer spots. Store milk on the back of the top shelf and it might get icy. Put veggies on the bottom shelf and they might be wilted when you want to use them. While the fridge only varies in temperature a few degrees, it can seriously impact the freshness and quality of your food. Organizing your food based on how cold it should be stored will guide you, and a fridge thermometer can help pinpoint exactly where temperature varies.
Generally, you’ll find that the coldest spots are the back bottom and back top, where cooler air flows. The warmer spots tend to be the middle of the fridge door, so this should be reserved for items you use often or ones that won’t spoil quickly (think: ketchup and salad dressings). It helps to consider how likely food is to contain bacteria and make you sick if not cooked and stored properly. Such foods should be stored at the coldest part of your fridge as possible.
Sort by Shelves
How you organize your fridge shelves should be purposeful and designed to meet your needs. As a rule, the top shelf and door storage is best for ready-to-eat foods and condiments. The middle shelf is a great place for leftovers (best kept in sealed containers) and fridge essentials (cheese, eggs, cold cuts). Your bottom shelf, for food safety reasons, should be the only place you store raw meat and poultry. These are items that can potentially drip blood, so they should always be kept on a separate plate inside the fridge. Keep veggies in the crisper drawer and be sure to adjust the humidity level if your drawer has one (low humidity is best for leafy greens).
Schedule a Weekly Purge
At least once a week, take a moment to look through the fridge to catch any leftovers should be tossed. Use labels to help you better organize the fridge. Write the date on takeout containers so that you can get rid of them after a few days.
Organizing the fridge is a great idea for many reasons. When cooking, you won’t be rushing around in the search for ingredients. You also won’t grab the expired sour cream. By following these storage rules you’ll have both fresh food and peace of mind.
Four Generations One Roof has more inspiration for organizing your fridge.