Last week we found an amazing little hidden gem of a restaurant. And they served pizza. Maybe the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life. If there’s anything better than a great meal – it’s great leftovers. You know what’s not so great? Not being able to find those awesome leftovers. Yeah, bummer. I stick them in the fridge and then “out of sight, out of mind” kicks in and 2 weeks later they look like a science experiment. Not so good. Luckily, that didn’t happen with that amazing new pizza I found, because I got tired of it happening over and over again. So I tackled the fridge abyss and got it organized.
So here’s my top tips on how I got my refrigerator organized (and stopped losing my beloved leftovers.)
1. Save a section of your refrigerator for leftovers. Do not allow any other food to take over this area. When there are leftovers in this spot, you are more likely to eat them because you know you have them. Like the pizza. (Side note: I might need a support group for pizza addicts.)
2. Clean out your refrigerator weekly. It may sound like a daunting task, but really, it is quite simple. This prevents food from getting spoiled, but also aids in not buying doubles of items every week. It even might be helpful to take a picture of your refrigerator every week if you have a smartphone. If you question whether you have something, you can just take a look at the picture. (Honestly, my husband does this one every week on garbage day.)
3. Consider keeping all items for a meal on one shelf. Have you ever bought an item and knew you put it in the refrigerator, but couldn’t find it? If you bought items for a specific meal, consider keeping them all together so that you prevent losing items. Even better – use little baskets.
4. Use the drawers for what they are meant to be used for. It is easy to just shove items into a drawer because there is room. Often refrigerator drawers have manufactured labels on them for fruit and vegetables. Follow their lead by putting fruits in one drawer and vegetables in another. Why? Certain fruits can cause other items to ripen faster when put in the same drawer.
5. Keep a running grocery list on or near your refrigerator. Anytime you use up an item, write it down on the list. When you are ready to get groceries for the week, you are prepared and will not be making multiple trips back to the grocery store because you forgot an item. A list can go a long ways!
How to Clean Your Refrigerator
6. Keep like items together. Seems like a simple idea, but it is difficult to keep up. For example, keep condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise in one area. In another, keep sauces, and in a different space, keep your jellies and jams. Keeping like items together prevents endless searching for something specific.
7. Store taller items in the back of the fridge and shorter items towards the front. You want to be able to see what is in the refrigerator at all times if possible.
8. Label leftovers. With a marker, masking tape, and a simple name and date, the leftovers will be eaten faster than if they sat unmarked.
9. Move your shelves up and down as needed. Many refrigerators offer the adjustable shelf height option. If you constantly are trying to squeeze items in, move the shelf lower. It will take 1 minute, but save you lots of frustration in the future.
A refrigerator can be one of the most disorganized places, causing frustration every single time you open it. Prevent stress and spoiled food by organizing your refrigerator with these easy tips. Take full advantage of your food and the leftovers while they are still good!
You can find more organizational tips from Kristin on her blog Organizing Life With Less.
Karen Conner says
Awesome tips! Seem like common sense-but we don’t incorporate them into our frig!!
I try hard to keep our fridge organized, but I would add one more item to your list: Teach your family to follow the rules of where to put things back 🙂
Claire @ A Little Claireification says
Great tips, thanks Kristin / Gina! Pinned!
Outstanding reminder and great tips! I’m heading straight to the fridge with these tips after work today!
Great tips! One of my favourite fixes has been to add a lazy susan in there for the back corners. Great for jams and condiments.
Great tips! I need to clean out the fridge today, so…no time like the present to get these tips going. I like the graphic you made for this post. May I ask which fonts you used? Thanks!
Gina Luker says
Thanks Kim, go for it!! The font I used is called signpainter 🙂 Good luck!
Thanks so much! Really like your blog.
I use a “lazy susan” for all my small like items-like jelly I started labeling a year ago and it is great-no more wasted food!!!
Gina Luker says
Thanks Diane, it is such a great idea and money saver!!
This is an idea that I had after a brainstorm one day. Invest in heavy plastic drawers that fit on the shelves. BB&Beyond is the place to go(Tons of drawers), with the coupons, of course. I measured the shelves and customized everything. I use the top left shelf for tall big things, gallons of milk, etc and on the top right I use two acrylic drawers to hold the extra condiments, any tall bottles, medicines, whatever and have eliminated not being able to reach the back items. The next shelf has about four shallow drawers(sides don’t have to be high). Being able to slide out a drawer to obtain an item rather than digging away at all that lost stuff in the back has been transforming. I think being short has helped with my inspiration; otherwise, I lose half of the usable space.
We also have a motorhome that I have used that method, only with Dollar General, $1 plastic shoe boxes for storing foodstuffs, etc in the overhead compartments above the dinette that I could Never reach. Really works.
Gina Luker says
Great suggestions Eileen, thanks so much!
Marilyn Holeman says
Hey Gina, Good article! We recycle our peanut butter jars to use for leftovers. They’re easy to label with a white board marker. My daughter keeps a white board on her fridge to tell her what leftovers are inside, so she has a visual reminder.
Gina Luker says
Thanks so much Marilyn and awesome tip too!
Norma Rolader says
Oh my great tips for the fridge … One job I dislike!!! Thank you for sharing and have a blessed week