One of the worst things that could happen with a disorganized refrigerator is someone (or everyone) unknowingly eating something bad and getting a bad case of diarrhea. Of course, when these things happen, you should get urgent medical treatment to make sure the discomfort does not persist.
Still, there are ways to keep these potentially dangerous accidents from becoming a regular occurrence at home. By “ways,” we mean cleaning out the fridge on a regular basis. That is, check on your refrigerator weekly to make sure that you are not keeping things way past their expiry date, especially those jams and dairy products.
Once you have cleaned out the bad stuff from your fridge comes the inevitable next step: reorganizing everything. To make sure you don’t set yourself up for more mishaps, here are simple tips to follow.
How to Get Started
Before you even get to organizing, you must first make sure that your fridge is in the right condition. The first order of fridge organization is to tidy up.
1. Empty the whole space out
Sure, it seems easier to just keep things inside when you move different items around the fridge. But this can only make you miss a lot of things that could just make the job twice as stressful later on. Having everything in your fridge brought out (excluding those that go bad after a couple of hours) is a great starting point for easier cleaning and rearranging.
2. Do some cleaning up
Next, you need a clean towel and a mixture of soap and water to wipe down every surface of your refrigerator, from the doors to the shelves and the drawers. Be careful with cold glass surfaces if you are using hot water, however, because they will crack. Have your damp towel return to room temperature first before wiping fragile surfaces.
Then, wipe off with a damp towel that was soaked in clean water. After this step, get a dry, clean towel to wipe the fridge again.
How to Organize Your Fridge
Now that your fridge has been thoroughly cleaned, it is time to put everything back on the shelves and drawers—the right way.
1. Assign a corner for leftovers and foods that expire quickly
One big reason that leftovers and food items that easily expire go bad in the fridge is because the people in the house simply forget that they are there. Keep this from happening by assigning a specific part of your shelf specifically for these kinds of foods.
If your fridge is large enough, you can even opt to place these items in a clear organizer. You can also place each item in reusable containers that you can label to easily check the expiration date of each one.
2. Dedicate separate shelves for ready-to-eat items and raw materials
If you have more space on the shelf with your leftovers, put other ready-to-eat items on that same level. Place beverages and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and cold cuts there to indicate that this is where you will look for all the items you can already eat.
On a lower shelf, place other items that are raw ingredients for dishes that you will be cooking. These include eggs and butter and other things that you need when you cook, but do not necessarily need to wash. This makes it easier to pick stuff out whenever you need to cook meals for the day.
3. Keep condiments only on the door shelves
The shelves attached to the door of the refrigerator are the warmest parts of your whole fridge. This is why you should not place your drinks and other dairy items in this side of the fridge. Instead, make the door area a place to put in all your condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and other sauces and dips that need refrigerating.
4. Don’t mix vegetables with raw meat
Your drawers are meant for storing fruits and vegetables and some raw meat. But to avoid the risk of contamination, these should be kept in separate areas.
If one drawer is on top of the other, place the fruits and vegetables in the top drawer, with the meat on the bottom drawer to avoid transferring bacteria onto your fresh produce. Make sure to clean the meat drawer more often, too. If you only have one drawer, use an organizer to separate these two kinds of items.
Organizing your refrigerator takes a bit of time to do the first time . When you maintain the arrangement, your fridge will be cleaner and much easier to scan whenever you need to pick things out.