How to Organize Your Fridge

Photo: Marguerite Preston
  • A lazy Susan: It might help maintain leftovers from getting misplaced behind the fridge—particularly when you’ve got a deep one. We just like the easy-to-clean OXO Good Grips Turntable, which is available in two sizes.
  • Small sheet pans: Small, rimmed baking pans just like the Nordic Ware ¼ and ⅛ sheet pans assist divide your cabinets into zones and make it simpler to drag out gadgets.
  • Clear bins: Bins are one other approach to divide your fridge into more-organized zones, they usually’re helpful for unfastened gadgets like lemons and limes. The restaurant-grade Rubbermaid Commercial Food Storage Containers are sturdy and versatile, however you too can discover loads of fridge-specific bins at a spot just like the Container Store.
  • Good food-storage containers: Get a set of food-storage containers, ones that stack simply and clearly present what’s inside. We have suggestions for each glass and plastic units in our information to the very best food-storage containers.
  • Painter’s tape: It’s necessary to label leftovers with a reputation and date, particularly these that can sit within the freezer for months. Green Frogtape adheres properly however is simple to take away from meals containers.
  • A white board or notepad: To maintain observe of what must be used up in your fridge and freezer, write all of it down on a white board or paper notepad. Look for a easy magnetic possibility that you could stick proper on the fridge.
Photo: Marguerite Preston

Timing will depend upon the scale and state of your fridge. If you’ve by no means carried out this earlier than—or you’ve gotten a very giant and/or packed fridge—put aside a couple of hours to drag all the pieces out, wipe down all of the cabinets and drawers, and set up issues thoughtfully.

But when you’ve obtained a system in place, holding your fridge tidy ought to take lots much less time. As lengthy as I keep on prime of utilizing all my produce and tossing expired leftovers, I really feel the necessity to do a full clean-out simply a couple of times a yr. And I can normally get it carried out in an hour or two.

Photo: Marguerite Preston

The first step towards decluttering your fridge is to take all the pieces out. I imply all the pieces. Deal with the moldy meat sauce you’ve been avoiding, and take inventory of all of your condiments.

When you’re able to refill the fridge, keep away from treating it like a junk drawer for meals. Designate totally different areas for several types of gadgets. Your fridge most likely comes with a couple of predetermined zones—crisper drawers, a cheese drawer—however you possibly can create extra with trays or bins.

Restaurants usually maintain smaller containers collectively on rimmed baking sheets, that are simple to drag out to get a greater look. Wirecutter recommends the Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Half Sheet, which additionally is available in ¼ and ⅛ sizes (these might match higher in some fridges).

For unfastened gadgets like lemons, clear bins work finest. I exploit these Rubbermaid Commercial Food Storage Containers for all the pieces (I like that they arrive with lids and handles, so you possibly can stack and transfer them round simply), however you too can discover bins tailored to your fridge on the Container Store.

Another nice approach to maintain components from getting misplaced behind the fridge is to make use of a lazy Susan, like this OXO Good Grips Turntable. On mine I maintain the essential components we attain for day by day—like mayo, yogurt, nut butter, and our bin of lemons and limes—inside simple attain.

A fundamental understanding of meals security might help you determine what ought to go the place in your fridge. Fridges are sometimes coldest towards the again and backside, hotter on the highest shelf, and warmest within the door. So the door is nice for condiments with a protracted shelf life, like jam, mustard, and scorching sauce, however attempt to keep away from storing milk there until you’ll drink it quick. Raw meat ought to at all times go on the backside of the fridge—not just for the chilly temperatures but in addition since you don’t need a leaky bundle dripping rooster juice over all the pieces else.

Beyond that, set up your fridge round the way you prepare dinner and eat: Put the stuff you use usually (or need to end) entrance and heart, and retailer components you’ll use solely often in corners which might be tougher to achieve.

Photo: Marguerite Preston

You’ll discover it simpler to keep up order with a great set of food-storage containers. The finest ones are clear and stackable, so that they make it simple to see what you’ve gotten at a look. I choose shallow containers to tall, deli-style quart containers, which might obscure the stuff behind them. For a number of nice choices in both plastic or glass, take a look at our information to the very best food-storage containers.

Even with the very best containers, it helps to have a system for managing leftovers. One of the cardinal guidelines of any restaurant fridge is FIFO: first in, first out. This signifies that new gadgets at all times go to the again, pushing older meals to the entrance of the road, the place it’s assured to get used up first.

To do the identical factor at residence, you’ll must spend a bit of additional time placing away groceries or leftovers, however it’ll save time in a while. Rather than rummaging round for the open jar of tomato sauce, you’ll have the meals that must be completed proper at your fingertips. Using trays or bins makes it simpler to observe the FIFO rule as a result of you possibly can pull all the pieces out.

Video: Sarah Kobos

In eating places, completely all the pieces will get labeled with its identify and the date. At residence, this might help stop the meat stew you freeze from changing into a murky thriller container in three months. I like to make use of a Sharpie and painter’s tape for labeling as a result of the label stays on securely however comes off cleanly.

To maintain observe of what’s in my tiny, darkish freezer, which is normally packed to the brim, I additionally use a white board subsequent to the fridge. My husband and I maintain a listing on the board of all the pieces within the freezer that must be eaten, from frozen waffles to salmon fillets. And we seek the advice of it once we’re planning dinner or writing our grocery listing (which lives on the opposite half of the white board). If you’ve gotten bother utilizing up all of the greens in your fridge or remembering to complete off leftovers, the identical system would possibly assist there, too.

We hung our board on the wall, but when your fridge is magnetic, you possibly can simply discover a board that can stick proper to the door.A paper notepad (or a pair) with magnets on the again would work too.

If, even after your finest efforts, muddle begins to return (it occurs to me!), simply attempt to nip it within the bud earlier than you’ve gotten one other leaning tower of Tupperware scenario. Cook a clean-out-the-fridge meal, and use your condiments for a elaborate toast-toppings bar. And when you really want to, pull all the pieces out and begin over.

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