We were doing it wrong.
Groceries were often tossed wherever there was space in the fridge. Leftovers eventually got pushed to the back and wouldn't be eaten in time. I'd make a recipe and forget to use an ingredient because I didn't see it. Veggies I didn't prep right away were often out of sight, out of mind.
A disorganized fridge makes it hard to keep track of inventory and expiry dates. But you can also unknowingly expedite spoilage if items aren't stored optimally in terms of coldness and humidity.
Food waste is a massive global problem, and we were contributing to it (and definitely also losing money along the way).
Reorganizing my fridge helped me save money because I wasted less food and stopped buying ingredients I already had but were hidden. And it helped me save time with more efficient meal prep (because I had a place for everything and knew what to use up first!).
It was honestly a game changer.
So here's everything you need to know to reorganize your fridge at home.
1. Empty out your fridge all at once.
Remove everything from your fridge so you have a good idea of what you're working with. Take the opportunity to toss any expired items or pare down condiments you barely use.
2. Clean your fridge.
Now's a good time to wipe down all the shelves and drawers. I used a simple 1:1 vinegar-water solution.
3. Organize your food.
Group together similar foods on the counter (e.g. meats, fruits, veggies, drinks, condiments) to minimize the amount of time your fridge door needs to stay open.
4. Create designated spots for staple items.
Knowing where everything is helps you keep track of inventory. You won't accidentally buy more eggs because you didn't see them hiding at the back! A label maker is also pretty awesome for this.
5. Store dairy and meats lower.
The coldest part of your fridge is the lower half (excluding the door). So keep your meats in the bottom drawer, and foods most susceptible to spoilage, like milk, can sit on the bottom shelf.
6. Keep eggs away from the door.
A common mistake is storing your eggs in the fridge door (GUILTY!). Unfortunately, this area experiences the most fluctuations in temperature so eggs are best kept near the centre or bottom shelf of the fridge.
Pro tip: Eggs are best kept in their original carton to prevent absorption of other odours. They also usually last about 3 weeks from the sell-by date.
7. Make expiry dates visible.
Use a marker to clearly indicate when your food will go bad. Washable markers work well for leftovers stored in glass storage containers.
8. Wash, prep and separate all the veggies.
Keeping your veggies from touching each other helps them last longer. You'll also be more likely to use them up if they've been washed and prepped ahead of time.
9. Store meal prep and leftovers at eye level.
These need to be consumed first so forcing yourself to look at these items every time you open the fridge is a great reminder!
Pro tip: Go with rectangular and square storage containers (versus round ones) to utilize space more effectively.
10. Separate fruits from vegetables.
Fruits fare better in low humidity, while vegetables are best kept in high humidity. Your fridge may have separate compartments for fruits and veggies. But if your fridge only has one drawer, store the veggies in that drawer (humidity set to high) and leave the fruits out on one of the shelves.
How are items arranged in your fridge? Do you have any other tips for simple ways to keep things organized?