With the beginning of a new year we try to go back to our good habits (eating better or healthier, buying more fruits, and vegetables, etc.), so keeping the refrigerator organized is a priority. And although this may seem simple, the truth is that it can be tricky.
Let’s start by clarifying that emptying the fridge and cleaning it isn’t enough, although this is the preliminary step to achieving this goal. The idea is to have containers and/or Tupperwares to organize the refrigerator’s content based on use and food types.
But not having containers isn’t a problem either because we’ll give you some tips that will help you not only to organize your refrigerator but also to optimize your shopping. Here’s how to do it in 4 steps.
Steps 0 to 4
STEP 0 and 1: Emptying and Cleaning
This step is a 2-in-1. First, take everything out of the refrigerator, so you can get an idea of what’s in there, what you’re using, what’s about to expire, and what must go in the trash.
Regardless of your refrigerator’s size, we always feel as if space is limited. Therefore, we must know how to take full advantage of it and store only what we are going to consume.
Once this step is done, the time has come to clean the refrigerator. To do this, you can either use a specific product or simply baking soda and warm water or a mixture of white vinegar and warm water, and a soft cloth to remove the dirt from the walls and compartments. (Read also 5 100% natural tricks to have an impeccable kitchen).
The idea of this 2-in-1 is to provide you with an odor-free and clean space where you can conveniently rearrange your groceries.
STEP 2: Classify, prioritize
Now that you have a clean and free refrigerator, focus on the food. Prioritize the ones that are closest to their expiration date, and then start classifying them by food type.
That is fruits, vegetables, dairy products, sauces, tupperwares with food, beverages, eggs, etc. By storing by categories and dividing the refrigerator into sections, instead of putting everything together, you will quickly find what you need.
Now, take this opportunity to review the refrigerator’s user manual as some brands refer to the ideal places and ideal temperatures for food storage.
STEP 3: Organize
The moment of truth has arrived. Here are a few extra tips that will help you:
- Take all the drinks or food out of their packages and leave them ready for consumption.
- Get clear acrylic containers to create categories in your refrigerator to easily visualize everything. There are long containers on the market that adapt to the depth of each refrigerator, but remember to measure the inside of your refrigerator before buying them.
- Once you have identified each category, find the ideal place for it in the appliance.
STEP 4: Store everything in the right place
As we said before, some brands include in their manuals a section with recommendations for the conservation of each food group. But if you lost the manual or if yours doesn’t include them, here’s a summary:
- The refrigerator’s door. Since the temperature in this area fluctuates constantly (due to the constant opening and closing), it’s ideal to store food that contains preservatives or that doesn’t need much refrigeration. Examples: juices, soft drinks, sauces, and condiments. If you like soft butter, this is the ideal place to store it.
- Upper area. This is the least cold area of the appliance, so it’s best to place leftovers that only need to be reheated, as well as cold meats and cheeses.
- Middle area. In this part of the refrigerator, the temperature is perfect for storing dairy products, eggs, and also prepared foods.
- Lower area. This is the coldest area of the refrigerator, so it’s ideal for perishable products and products that must be defrosted gradually, such as meat and fish. In any of these cases, remember to store these foods in tightly covered containers to avoid cross-contamination.
- The refrigerator’s drawers. Here the temperature is cool, which makes them perfect for storing vegetables and fruits that need cold to extend their conservation.
We hope these steps will help you to free up space to preserve and store all those healthy delicacies you plan to include as part of those new year’s resolutions to have healthier habits (Read also 5 tips to keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator longer).