You’ve played this game before, the one that my family played tonight – the mystery fridge smell game. Where is that awful stench coming from? The vegetable crisper? An old container of leftovers? A forgotten wedge of cheese? Do I even want to know the answer? No one really wants to play this game, and with these easy fridge organizing tips, you don’t have to.
Do a quick fridge purge every week to save TONS of time later. It only takes 10 minutes, but it really pays off. When you go to deep clean your fridge, you won’t have to start by spending hours doing a purge.
Monthly Clean Out
Take everything out of your refrigerator (make sure you have at least 30 minutes to do this, because you can’t leave your food sitting out for too long). Do the freezer after the refrigerator, so frozen food doesn’t sit out for too long while you clean the fridge. Clean the shelves, scrubbing off any caked-on food or spilled drinks or sticky jelly. Put some elbow grease into it – work out those mom frustrations!
Line The Shelves
Line your clean shelves with plastic wrap. When something spills, you can just replace the wrap with a new clean sheet. It’s not lazy … it’s genius!
Label Your Food
Label leftovers and pre-made foods with the name and date. I use a permanent marker and masking tape to write on the lids of things. For example, “8/2/16: chicken pot pie.” When I do my weekly purge, I know exactly what we need to eat or toss.
And if you have gooey, fudgy brownies or another sweet treat in the fridge, feel free to label it as “leftover cooked broccoli.” No one will touch ‘em before you – I can almost guarantee it!
Add Hanging Shelves
Use under-the-shelf baskets and racks to create more storage space and keep everything even more organized. They even make special racks for wine! I’ll cheers to that.
Set up Storage Systems
Consolidate! Combine like items in the freezer or refrigerator. For example, I transfer waffles and pancakes to freezer bags and store them together in a breakfast bin. It makes it a lot easier to find whatever you’re looking for, plus transferring items from boxes to bags can save a lot of space, since boxes can be bulky and bigger than they need to be.
Put all of the vegetables in one shelf or basket too, and do the same for meats, frozen treats and anything else you can group together. (Confession: yes, we have a shelf just for ice cream at my house.)
It’s not a glamorous job to clean the fridge on the regular, but having good organizing habits really can save you precious time and money. You don’t have to clean an organized fridge as much or for as long (saving you time), and because you’re constantly taking inventory of what you’ve got, you’ll know what you need to use up before it goes bad, which means less waste. When you’re finished with your weekly mini clean out, go ahead – have some of that “leftover cooked broccoli.”