You may be perfectly happy to avoid the secrets that hide behind your refrigerator's doors, but until you confront its lurking messes, you yield valuable storage space to things that don't deserve cold air. However much you dread cleaning and organizing your refrigerator, you can conquer the task in a single day. You regain control of your food—and enough room to accommodate all of your groceries.
A jumbled refrigerator typically contains bowls of leftovers, partial jars and bottles of condiments that you tried but never remembered to finish. It may also contain a beverage container that you can't bear to clear out because you don't want to waste the last bit of liquid. When you remove all the garbage-in-training and wash out drawers and shelves, you're left with fresh food you can put away systematically.
Make full use of your refrigerator's flexible storage features to tailor shelves and door racks to the types of items you use. Some units include special drawers that you can assign to specific temperature presets optimized for meats and other foods. Freezer options enable you to configure drawers and compartments to hold containers snugly in place with just enough air around them to promote the proper temperature. Configurable door racks and big bins save you from the need to waste vertical space simply to store one tall item and simplify the task of coordinating related bottles of condiments.
Sort your refrigerator contents into groupings for maximum visibility and efficiency. Size, ingredients, age and usage make for simple criteria to use. If you place large items toward the back of a shelf, you can see the small containers in front of them and avoid buying duplicates of things you already have. Grouping related condiments together helps you find the ones you need to use together. Clustering frozen meats by date, with the cut and the purchase information clearly visible on the package, eases the task of using up perishable ingredients before they go bad.
Catalog your perishable food to create an up-to-date list of what's in the fridge and how soon you need to use it. You can track these details on your home computer, tablet or smartphone. If you own a refrigerator with a built-in, Wi-Fi® accessible touchscreen, take advantage of its apps to place your inventory right on the door in an easy-to-use format that can include pictures and recipes, memos about which leftovers to warm up, notes about ingredients and even the items for your next grocery shopping trip.
Photo Credits: Heidi Monner/Demand Media
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