When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge and freezer? Keeping the fridge and freezer organized is one of the biggest challenges in the kitchen. Now that holiday season is upon us, it’s a great time to get in there and tackle the job – make room for cookies, hors d’oeuvres, and other tasty items you may need to freeze or refrigerate for entertaining and parties.
Remove the contents one by one and decide what stays and what goes. Toss anything that is outdated (more than 9 months old), covered in freezer burn, or you’re unable to identify.
After you’ve emptied the freezer, give it a good cleaning before replacing the keep items. As you replace items, be sure to label, label, label! Use a Sharpie marker to write directly on freezer bags or use masking tape and a marker to identify your items. As you label, be sure to include name, date, and number of servings in the container. Consider organizing by zones or categories: meats, vegetables, soups, breads, etc.
Hint: Use square or rectangle containers, such as Ziploc® brand, to store frozen items. Square and rectangle containers use space more efficiently than round containers. By using Ziploc® containers for storing bagged items, frozen foods stack and store better making it much easier to know what’s on hand for meals.
As you did with the freezer compartment, remove the contents of the fridge one item at a time and decide what stays and what goes. Weed out obviously spoiled food and leftovers. Toss any open jars, bottles, or cans that are more than 6 months old. Once the fridge is emptied out, give it a good scrubbing.
When you refill the fridge, assign shelf space. It’s easy to revert into the habit of just putting thing wherever you see space. Create zones for different types of foods. Never co-mingle fresh vegetables and fruits in the lower bins – use one for vegetables and one for fruits. To keep eggs fresh longer, store them in their original carton inside the fridge and not on the door.
Freezer & Fridge Clutter Control Tips
Whenever you add items to the freezer or fridge, use the FIFO Method (first in, first out). Place newer items to the back and older items in the front. Resist the urge to just place new items wherever you see an open space.
Keep track of leftovers from the dinner table or restaurant by placing a magnetic note pad on the front of the fridge. Each time you put leftovers into the fridge, write the name and date on the note pad. That way you won’t forget what you have on hand and can use them up before they spoil.