An average person opens the refrigerator 15-20 times a day. And when you have 3-4 members at the home, someone or the other is always at the fridge to search, take out stuff, spill food, keep in new things and check whether something new has magically appeared every 5 minutes. ( you know who I am talking about). So it is no mean task to keep the refrigerator- one of the high-traffic areas in a home, organized.
To help you maintain a clean and organized fridge, here are some practical tips that are easy to implement.
FIFO ( First In First Out) is not a principle for just data handling, but also for organizing your fridge. Organize your fridge in such a way that you stack newer food in the rear end. This way, food that need to be consumed always stares at you when you open the fridge, urging you to consume them first.
Keep 30% of The Refrigerator Empty
Ideally, the refrigerator should have at least 30% of its total space empty to allow proper air circulation. Else, the compartments will be unevenly cold and as a result, food may get spoiled quickly. This also ensures you have sufficient space for keeping any unexpected leftovers.
Go Through The Contents Before Weekly Shopping
If you have ever bought a packet of peas only to find an unopened bag in the fridge, you are not alone! Often, you buy food and they get hidden in oblivion on refrigerator shelves. That is why you should always go through the contents inside your refrigerator and pantry before the weekly shopping.
Related reading: How To Maintain A White Kitchen?
Monitor The Temperature Zones
According to Nathaly Vieira of Inspire Clean, it is important that you maintain the temperature of the refrigerator below 4 °C. Else, food may perish sooner. It is also important to understand that there are different temperature zones inside a refrigerator. The rear end of the fridge is the coldest and hence best suited for temperature sensitive perishables like milk. The front side and the doors are subjected to maximum temperature fluctuations. Hence, store food that you will consume soon and condiments that don’t expire soon in the front and door balconies of your refrigerator.
Keep Fruits and Vegetables Separate
Fruits and vegetables require different levels of humidity for preservation. While fruits thrive in low humidity, vegetables, especially leafy ones need a high level of humidity to thrive. Also, ethylene gas from fruits may spoil vegetables quicker.
Ideally, store them in transparent mesh bags in baskets or trays inside the crisper so that they are easy to access. If you have two crisper boxes in your refrigerator, utilize them to store fruits and vegetables separately. If your crispers have humidity adjuster slider, make use of them to maintain optimal humidity. It would also be a good idea to line the crisper with paper towels or cloth to absorb any excess moisture.
Related reading: How To Make Waterproof Label For Containers?
Make Maximum of Vertical Space
Large refrigerators often have underutilized vertical spaces between the shelves. You can adopt several methods to utilize this to the maximum. First of all, you could use stackable glass containers in rectangle or square shapes like this. The advantages are not only improved space utilization but also, being transparent, you are more likely to use the food inside before expiry. Food stored in stainless steel and other opaque containers is often forgotten and thrown away.
Another option is utilizing fridge trays like this. You can store small condiment bottles, jars, fruits, vegetables etc in them without hindering the space to keep containers for leftovers.
Avoid Lazy Susan In Small Refrigerators
Lazy susans are definitely a great option to store and access condiments. But, if you have a small refrigerator with less than 300-litre capacity, the lazy Susan would take up too much space which could have otherwise been utilized for keeping food containers. Rather, you can store condiments on the door balcony and avoid lazy susans in refrigerators.
Use Baskets and Transparent Containers
Baskets and transparent containers are helpful to segregate and store foods that are alike. For example, you can use a small transparent container to keep cut pieces of ginger, chilly, onion etc, which otherwise would lie in the egg tray on the door balcony. This not only keeps it organized but also prevents odour mixing in the refrigerator. Similarly, a basket can be used to keep condiments together, another for milk, butter and other dairy products and so on. This makes it quite easy to access things when you need them.
Always store leftover food in transparent glass containers with airtight lid. This way you always see them and are reminded of using them. Airtight containers help preserve food for longer and glass containers do not retain odour, making them easier to clean.
Refrigerate Only What Is Necessary
Unless you are a nuclear family with a side-by-side refrigerator, refrigerate only what is necessary. Ben Soreff of H2H Organizing suggests not refrigerating bread, potatoes, tomatoes and onions in fridge. They lose the flavour. And could be the main reason why your fridge is overcrowded.
For Easy Clean Up
For easy clean up, line your refrigerator shelves so that you can handle spills and stains easily. We also recommend keeping a pouch of activated charcoal in the fridge so that it absorbs any odours in the fridge and keeps the interiors fresh.