An organised fridge is much easier to keep clean, and also much easier to find things in. Being able to find what you’re looking for means writing shopping lists is simple, and less food goes to waste because it was hiding out in a deep, dark corner.
Whenever you organise anything you have to start from a clean place. Take everything out of your fridge and go through the contents, chucking out anything that’s past its best. Then give your shelves and drawers a thorough clean. If your freezer is due for a defrosting now’s the time!
Think about how you’re going to deal with messes before they happen – try putting down removable mats on each shelf to make cleaning easier. It’s also a good idea to keep an open box of baking soda somewhere in your fridge to absorb any odours.
It’s so worthwhile to ditch your old plastic tupperware and go out and buy a full set of matching, stackable pyrex containers. You’ll be able to see your food, they don’t stain, they’re microwave and oven safe, and most importantly you won’t be coming into contact with BPA, phthalates, or other plastic nasties.
Label all the things!
Keep a pen and labels on your fridge door so whenever you put something in there you can quickly note the date and contents. If you need to, keep a leftovers log on the fridge door.
Everything in its place
It’s super easy to keep track of your fridge inventory if everything has a home. To do this either add labelled plastic bins, or label your shelves so you’ll remember. These are some of our tips for segmenting the fridge:
- Meats and seafood should always go on the bottom shelf to prevent cross-contamination from drips, ideally in their own plastic tub.
- The bottom of your fridge is the coldest part so keep your dairy and eggs there too (not in the door, which is warmest). Eggs absorb odour, so it’s good to keep them in an airtight egg box, rather than the cardboard one they come in.
- Vegetables go in the crisper drawer.
- Perishable fruits such as berries, stone fruits, and grapes should be kept in the fridge, but not with your veggies as they can speed up the ripening process.
- The temperature in the door fluctuates a lot, so it’s the place for stable items such as condiments and bottled drinks.
- Keep leftovers on the top shelf so they’re easily accessible.
- Some people like to have a bin labelled “Eat Me First!” for anything that’s nearing its use by date.
What NOT to put in the fridge
To keep the clutter out of the fridge it’s important to know what doesn’t go in there.
- Keep your olive oil, coconut oil, and honey in the pantry, lest they turn solid on you.
- If you store coffee (both ground and whole beans) in the fridge it’ll do the job of your baking soda and absorb all the odours around it, and that’s not tasty.
- Tomatoes will turn floury and flavourless in cold storage.
- Bananas will stop ripening in the fridge, so if they’re still green keep them out. If they’re ready to be eaten they can be refrigerated, but keep them away from other fruits and vegetables in the fridge. If they’re overripe chop them up and store them in the freezer to be used for cooking, smoothies, and vegan ice cream.
- The same goes for avocados – if you want them to ripen, keep them on the bench.
- Bread goes stale quickly in the fridge, but can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
- Most fresh herbs stay that way longer when kept vase-style in a glass of water on the bench.
- Onions turn mushy and also absorb the odours around them.
- Garlic will go rubbery and can grow mould in the fridge.
- The starch in potatoes doesn’t react well to refrigeration – keep them in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or pantry.