How do I arrange things in my fridge

Updated on April 16, 2022

I’m occasionally prevented from digging into my fridge by a mixture of fear and shame. I need to reorganise the shelves of carrots and kale, and the takeout containers need to be stacked and labelled before I can finish my shopping list.

A mushy, discarded head of lettuce is actively decomposing in the back corner.

I groan as I dump the nearly-liquid bag of green sludge into my compost bin. Those were some gorgeous tiny gems. I’ve witnessed the same thing happen to countless perfectly good fruits and vegetables. Just a little more planning would have saved me from having to cope with all of this.

The fact that I cooked at home frequently before the epidemic gave me no justification for throwing away perfectly wonderful vegetables (and dairy, and yes, even some condiments) in my little fridge.

To organise the fridge, on the other hand, is not the same as cleaning and arranging the rest of the house. The fridge can become a stage for worry because of all those expiration dates—some written, some guessed by appearance or smell.

Organizing itself is fun for me, but the thought of finding food that I’ve allowed go to waste makes me cringe. Often, I’ll wait till the lettuce has turned to jelly before clearing it out, in order to avoid experiencing this dreadful sensation. Reader, I’m burying my head in the sand here..

Start with a scrub down

You don’t need to scrape down the entire fridge, but it’s a good place to start when organising. It will just take a few minutes to remove everything that can be left out at room temperature for an hour.

Make room in the back corner for anything else so you can clean around and beneath it when the time comes. Start by removing the bins and tossing the old parsley leaves and carrot tops into the garbage. If you have the space, you can wash the bins in your sink, but I prefer to just wipe them clean in my little flat.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a natural all-purpose cleaning solution on hand. To get rid of any remaining hot sauce or sesame oil residue on your shelves, dilute white vinegar with water to a ratio of one part vinegar to one part water.

A mildew- and odor-removing cleaning solution can also be used to freshen up a stale fridge. Remove any food residue from the fridge by wiping it with a paper or cloth towel. Since you’re unlikely to do this more frequently than once every six months, make the most of it while you can.

If it needs to be thrown away throw it away

When something has been sitting in the fridge for an extended period of time and is past the point of return, it’s time to throw it out. That wilting, limp broccoli is tempting to store in the fridge for another week, hoping to use it in a soup. Keep to your plan if you have one! Make note of what produce you use the most slowly before purchasing more before discarding what you don’t use at all.

Use sturdy containers and bags

If you store your vegetables and cooked items in airtight containers and bags, everything in the fridge will last much longer. There are many uses for Mason jars, but you’ll need a few extra options for foods that don’t fit perfectly in a jar. Cooked foods can be stored in glass containers with snap-closed lids since the containers preserve a tight seal and have a large surface area. If you can, place your fresh produce, such as vegetables and leafy greens, in reusable bags so that they can keep their crispness for a few extra days.

By storing food in containers, you’re doing more than just preserving its freshness. You’ll end up with a lot of food that tastes like onions if you keep particularly pungent foods (like sliced onions) in the fridge with no barrier between them and the rest of the food.

Make a game plan for your food

Making a game plan for the ingredients in your fridge will help you use up produce, finish off a condiment or a jug of milk, and free up room for your next grocery shopping trip.

I’m not saying that you should plan your meals for a week in advance and have a recipe for each one ready to go. Then I envy you, and you’re probably not even looking at this advice in the first place. When it comes to me, I’m still thinking about the future. That’s OK.

Build blocks that will simultaneously use up anything that’s on its last legs and help you get through the week. Make a salad dressing with the last shallot and store it in the fridge for one more week.

Using the snap-lid glass containers you purchased, roast a variety of hearty vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and other greens. Go heavy on the olive oil, lemon, and chilli pepper flakes to make an impromptu green sauce that can be used on just about anything and will give your herbs a new lease on life.

This isn’t a week-long food planning exercise. When you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have the time, you can always rely on your go-to foods, which you’ve prepared in the most basic of ways.

Lower Shelf Hacks

Once the top shelf is in order, you can proceed to the bottom shelves. As long as they’re below the prepared items, raw ingredients can be stored here without fear of contamination. When preparing a meal, the lowest shelf is the best place to keep ingredients like packaged raw meats.

The bottom shelves can be used to keep any extra ready-to-eat foods that don’t fit on the upper level. Keeping meat in the refrigerator is a no-brainer, but there are a few tricks to remember while putting other perishables on the bottom shelf.

Use Curtain Ring Clips to Hang Bagged Items

In many refrigerators, the shelf edges are reinforced with metal bars or wires. You can make better use of the space below your shelves by hanging packaged foods like shredded cheese or lettuce from the shelves’ edges. The rings on these curtain clips are what you’ll need for your project. After that, all you have to do is attach the curtain ring clips and hang your rolled bags as required.

Line the Bottom With Paper Towels

The crisper drawers in your fridge can be one of the most difficult areas to clean. Make sure they stay spotless for longer by lining the bottom of the drawers with paper towels before putting in fresh produce. Broccoli and onion peels that fall to the floor will be collected by the paper towels. Every two weeks, swap them out so that cleaning is a breeze!

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