Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Organized Fridge & Freezer

Are you tired of the chaos in your fridge and freezer?  Wish their was an easy way to keep it cleared out and organized to know what you had for dinner?  Well, here is a list of things you can do to rid yourself of the clutter in your fridge and freezer for good!!

The first step in organizing your fridge and freezer is to empty them out and clean them really well.  In the fridge, remove the drawers, the shelves and even the door shelves if possible.  A great product to use is Simple Green which is all natural to that you don't have an odor of chemicals that remains in your fridge when you close the door.  

The next step is to clean out or defrost the freezer.  Some freezers have an automatic defrost setting but if not, defrost it manually by removing the frost that has accumulated on the roof and sides of the freezer. If it's more than 1/4 inch thick, think about switching to a no-frost freezer. Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running (this is per Peter Walsh's blog on freezer maintenance) 

Next, throw out the ice; The chunks at the bottom of the tray may have been resting there for years. Clean out the tray with warm soapy water, fill and return it to the freezer.  Once you have everything removed and cleaned out now it's on to organizing your food.  

Follow these tips for organizing food in your fridge & freezer:
1. Throw out anything you can't remember buying or that has expired.
2. Create sections in the freezer for well-labeled (date purchased item and amount) meats, fruits and vegetables, convenience foods and desserts.
3. Pull older items out of the freezer after a big shopping run. Put the newer items in the back, moving the older one to the front so they get used up. In the refrigerator, keep perishables front and center where you’ll see them.
4. Store foods in designated spaces inside your fridge or freezer so you don’t spend time hunting down ingredients.
5. Keep like items together: condiments in the door; soda, beer and wine on a top shelf; and yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus and snacks at eye level. Designate a shelf to store leftovers, a shelf for breads & buns, and another for fresh fruits.
6. Stash meat, seafood and poultry in the middle back of the refrigerator, the coldest spot in the house.
7.Take full advantage of drawers, shelves, and the door shelves.  
8. Store small, loose items and leftovers in clear-plastic containers so you can see what's inside.
9. Never keep eggs in the refrigerator door. This will expose them to air each time the door is opened and closed.  Instead, keep them in the carton on an upper shelf.
10. If you wish to store fresh herbs such as basil, store them in the freezer door in a Mason Jar or a plastic bag.  Also, store whole-wheat flour in the freezer.  
11. Consider purchasing some of these items shown below to "contain" loose pudding cups, juice boxes, etc.  These items can really help keep like things together and make keeping your fridge organized much easier.  All of these items can be found at organize.com in the fridge and freezer section of kitchen items.

You should always know what you have in your fridge and freezer.  This prevents wasting food, spending excess money, going over budget on groceries and the buildup of spoiled items in your fridge.  Fridge maintenance is a weekly task that you should do as you are making your weekly grocery list.  While writing down what you need for the week you can quickly pull unused items, or leftovers that you know you won't eat and toss them.  Grab a cloth and quickly wipe out the shelves before adding your new groceries.  This process can take 15-20 minutes and can be extremely effective in maintaining a clean, healthy, organized fridge and freezer.  

Lastly, don't stop at cleaning out the inside of your fridge.  The outside of your fridge can get just as chaotic and cluttered.  Consider tossing old artwork from the kids school, magnets, slips of paper, or whatever else is on your fridge that is cluttering it.  Wipe down the outside of your fridge too while you do the inside and keep this part of your weekly routine as well, all while preparing your grocery list.  Again, this will maintain an organized fridge and can be done within 15-20 minutes a week.  Easy!!!  

You and your family will enjoy a nice, organized and clean refrigerator each time they open it!  I hope this helps you and motivates you to work on organizing your fridge and freezer!

Yours in organizing,


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