How To Clean, Stock & Organize Your Refrigerator
In our January 15th blog post we talked about our New Year’s Resolution to get healthy and lose weight. We shared some organizational tips and our Menu Planner to help keep you on track when planning your meals for the week. Now it’s time to dive deeper into that refrigerator of yours!
We want to help you CLEAN it out,
STOCK it well & ORGANIZE it to fit your needs
CLEAN IT OUT
You’ll want to start by taking everything out in order to assess the space and do a deep cleaning if needed. Anything past the expiration date should be thrown away immediately. You can also go with the official “sniff-test” if you’re unsure of the expiration. If you don’t plan on using any items that have been in there for a while, we suggest donating it to your local food pantry so you can use the space for products you will be using more regularly.
Our friends at Green Cleaning Magazine have some excellent and environmentally-friendly cleaning tips: If your fridge is getting a bit smelly, then you should try taking a lemon, scooping out the inside (which can be used for surface cleaning), and filling it with baking soda. The baking soda will absorb the smells, while the lemon rind will replace them with a nice, fresh scent, creating a healthy air freshener for your fridge.
STOCK IT WELL
Most of us have experienced throwing out spoiled food on a regular basis. Not only is it often gross and irritating, it can also be extremely wasteful and expensive. Here are some tips to keep items fresh that help avoid wasting food and money.
TIP: Using glass containers to store food can help keep your refrigerator visually appealing and it’s also easy to see what’s inside each container. Being able to see what you have in your fridge can help avoid spoilage. Additionally, glass containers can be microwaved safely and are also eco-friendly.
TIP: Remember to put newly cooked items behind or underneath the older containers. This will help you eat the older leftovers first, helping to reduce waste. If you need another reminder, you can use labels to note the date it was made on the container or what was cooked.
TIP: Check out this great diagram to learn more about how to store your groceries.
The same as you do with any organizing project, first start by grouping like items together, ie. vegetables, fruit, dairy, etc.
There is no right or wrong way to organize your fridge. We want to make sure that however you organize the space, it’s something you will be able to keep up with. There are plenty of products that can help you organize your refrigerator and you can find them at The Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon or your local discount home décor store.
Here are some of our favorite kitchen organizing products.
Shelf liners are a great place to start. Not only will they help keep the shelves and bins in your fridge clean, but you can also decorate with them. Be creative – use a pattern or design that makes you smile when you open the refrigerator doors!
A bowl for washed fruit that strains the water so that your fruit doesn’t get soggy but it’s ready to eat when you need a healthy snack.
Clear stackable glass containers for prepared foods and leftovers makes your refrigerator visually appealing and helps you find what you’re looking for quickly. Try to get a set from only one brand like OXO so that you no longer have a mishmash of containers that can’t stack on top of each other. This also helps to eliminate an endless search for the right lid.
Produce: Some items can be stored on your countertop or in a pantry (if you have the space). Try putting the items that need to be refrigerated together in a drawer. Use a variety of containers to hold individual items like carrots, cut up bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Meat/Fish: Designate sections in your fridge and freezer to store your protein items. Make sure you keep defrosted or fresh meat and fish in a separate container in your fridge to avoid contamination.
TIP: Store individual portions of protein in Ziploc bags with the purchase date and name of the item written in Sharpie on the bag.
Dairy: Keeping cheese together in one container will help avoid overshopping and spoilage. Remember: put the older items in front so you eat them first.
Beverages: You can purchase storage bins to organize cans. These make it easier to stack and helps create more space. If you don’t need it cold right now, try and find a space to store them in a pantry or cabinet that’s out of the way.
Having a clean, well-stocked, organized fridge can help you stick with your healthy diet. Try our customizable labels to organize sections in your fridge. You can print them out and handwrite each label or type right into the template and then print on these Avery labels.