When it comes to keeping your kitchen clean, organizing the fridge is important. Not only are you able to find what you need quicker and easier, but also a well-organized fridge keeps food fresh longer. This ensures you eat the food you purchased and helps eliminate waste, saving you money in return. Here are some helpful tips on how to clean, organize, and re-stock your fridge for maximum efficiency.
First, clean it out
The first step in cleaning and organizing your fridge is to purge it by taking everything completely out of your fridge and putting it on the counter. This way, you’ll be able to visibly go through and see the condition of each item. Begin by throwing away any old and expired condiments, foods, and beverages. Condiments tend to take longer to expire, so now is a great time to start a new habit of checking dates on those containers at the beginning of every month and tossing anything that has expired. Look at the dates on the jars and bottles and think about how long they’ve been sitting there. Then throw away any food items that are past their prime. The best time to purge the fridge is right before a grocery store trip, so you come home to a ready-to-be-stocked fridge. Here’s a helpful cheat sheet for how long foods stay fresh and edible.
Now that your fridge has been purged and all of the items are out of it, you can give it a deep clean! This is a great time to clean up spills, sticky messes, and remove any lingering odors. If you use a paste of baking soda and water to clean your fridge and freezer, it’ll both clean and remove odors. If you have any meat juice spills, you will need to use a disinfectant. Drawers and shelves can be washed in hot, soapy water.
Second, determine food placement
After giving your fridge a nice deep clean and purge, it’s time to figure out the best way to arrange your items. In most cases, it’s a good idea to organize your fridge with food safety in mind. That is, placing items on shelves and in drawers based on the temperature they need to be cooked to in order to prevent any unhealthy cross contamination. Things that require zero cooking to be safe to eat should be placed at the top, with everything else organized downwards based on the temperature it needs to be cooked to, with the foods needing to be cooked to the highest temperature (like meat) placed at the very bottom. The door is the warmest part of the fridge, so only put condiments there – no eggs or milk. The drawers in your fridge are ideal for storing fruits and vegetables, since the temperatures and humidity levels can be adjusted.
Once your fridge is cleaned and prepared, it’s time to organize. It’s important to have a game plan for the inside of your fridge. Maximize the space that’s available to make your food more accessible, while prolonging the shelf life of the items stored. Food storage bins are a great way to do just that. Bins are a great way to organize like-foods together and make it easier to find things. Line bins with paper towels for easy cleanup and then group together like-items for various shelves. You can even purchase food storage bins with lids on them to stack in your fridge and maximize shelf space even more. Label the outside of your bins and drawers to help keep them organized and looking tidy.
By taking some of these steps to clean, plan out, and organize your fridge, you can be reassured that the food you buy will be easier to find, consumed quickly and not wasted – saving you money in the long run.