The holidays are coming up fast and our kitchens are going to get busier than ever. Your fridge and freezer are about to get taxed to the max. If like many of us you tend to open the fridge door and stick things in where they fit, now is the time to organize so that you can easily see what you have and easily find items. By organizing and consolidating you can use your space most effectively.
This is not a job most of us enjoy and it can seem overwhelming. To minimize the stress, break this project down into smaller bites.
1. Clear out the refrigerator door. Usually this is where you store your condiments. Condiments are usually high in vinegar and salt and so they can withstand the temperature fluctuations from the door being opened often. Empty each shelf and wipe it down. Toss any old condiments that no longer look appetizing. Combine partial bottles of the same product. Group like items in a way that makes sense to you and return all keepers to the door. Consider having one shelf set aside for prepped vegetables for snacking.
2. Clear out the shelves. Remove all items and wipe down the shelves. Toss all expired foods (is this sour cream or a science experiment?). If you have canned or bottled drinks in the fridge, think about how many you need in at a time as they can take up a lot of room. Store excess on a shelf in the pantry. The middle shelf of the fridge is where the temperature is most consistent. This is a good place to store your eggs in the original carton. Group like items in a way that makes sense and return items to refrigerator shelves. Put the healthy or quickly perishable snacks to the front. Put taller items to the back so that you can easily see everything on the shelf.
3. Clear out the bins. Usually, you have a vegetable bin that has a higher humidity and is the moistest spot in the fridge. Empty this out and toss all limp, sad vegetables. Give the bin a good cleaning. Then return what is left to the bin.
Your fruit bin is a low humidity bin – sometimes marked crisper. Empty this bin and toss old fruit like the grapes that are well on their way to becoming raisins. Clean out the bin. Return good fruits to the bin. Leave both fruits and vegetables unwashed until you use them as the water can make them spoil.
The shallow meat drawer is best for deli meats and cheeses. I also put my yogurts in that drawer. Empty the drawer, wipe it out, and return all products that are usable.
4. Clear out the freezer. Toss any mystery meats or leftovers that have been there forever. It’s time to make a fresh start. When putting leftovers in the freezer, label the contents and put the date. You think you will remember but months later you may have no idea. I like using plastic bins in my freezer to separate frozen meats or meals from bags of frozen vegetables.
There are so many diverse types of refrigerators so adapt this plan to what works for you. After clearing out the inside go ahead and pull the fridge away from the wall and clean behind it. Then wipe down the outside of the entire unit.
Now you are ready for the holidays.
Let the cook fest begin!
If you want help or just some accountability in organizing a space in your home or working any other organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.