If finding something as simple as ketchup in your refrigerator is akin to reaching into a storage unit of forgotten mysteries, it’s probably time to rethink the way you’re storing food. Not only does a well-organized fridge make for a more pleasing kitchen environment overall, but you’ll never again find yourself frantically searching for green onions halfway through cooking dinner. Here are some easy ways to reorganize your fridge and streamline the way you cook and eat, for the better!
Organize by expiration date and throw items away weekly
Unless you’re planning on hunkering down for the next year or so, there’s no need to hoard food or keep leftovers for longer than 2-3 days. Judiciously throw away any foods that are expiring, or close to expiring, at the end of every week. This allows you to start each week with a clean slate — a great motivational tool if you’re following a specific diet plan or just trying to eat healthier.
Invest in quality storage containers
It’s easy to forget which leftover came first when you’re looking at five different to-go boxes. To solve this problem, invest in quality see-through containers such as Tupperware or Pyrex, and label with the contents and date. Clear space in your freezer as well by getting rid of unnecessary box packages, and instead keep everything in airtight plastic containers or bags.
Take advantage of your fridge’s storage
Your fridge comes with drawers and compartments for a reason — they’re optimized for certain foods. Meat should go into the deli drawer. If your fridge doesn’t have one, place meat in the shallowest drawer, which happens to be one of the colder areas in your fridge. Also make sure your vegetables are in the drawer with the highest humidity (most fridges will come with a fruit and vegetable drawer). Be careful with your eggs: They absorb odor, so put them in the airtight egg bin if your fridge has one, or in the centermost area.
Don’t rely on the the refrigerator door
While you may be haphazardly piling various food and drink items into the door of your refrigerator, don’t forget that most foods should be stored in an area that maintains a stable temperature. The frequent opening and closing of your refrigerator door can actually be damaging to many foods and cause them to expire faster than their regular shelf life.
Some foods are better left unrefrigerated
Some foods just do not belong in the fridge. These include potatoes, onions, tomatoes, avocados, peaches and honey. Some foods, such as bread, nut butters, bananas and apples, do not need to be refrigerated, but can be. Additionally, be careful of storing fruits that emit ethylene gas in close proximity with other ethylene-sensitive foods. Apples, for example, release ethylene gas, which will end up spoiling nearby fruits and vegetables.
Jenny Zhang is a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.