When stocking the fridge, you may feel like you’re running out of room while also never having the right food to eat.
The refrigerator is a central part of your home, but it’s also easy to forget about. Food can get stuck in the back of the fridge for weeks and lead you to buy multiple of the same item while it expires out of sight. Given some time, and your nose will let you know that something’s gone wrong.
Instead of waiting until the day you’re afraid to open your fridge, organize it with these simple tips.
1. Keep an inventory list.
Use the outside of your fridge to document what should be inside. You can use a white board or just a piece of paper and a magnet. Rather than making a grocery list, make an inventory list. For each shelf and drawer, tally what is inside of it, and every time you eat, erase the tallies but keep a reminder of what should be there.
When you go grocery shopping, you’ll have this sheet to stock what’s missing. Otherwise, you may buy food you don’t need, or even food that’s still in the fridge.
2. Buy groceries based on each day’s meals.
When you go grocery shopping, take your inventory list and really consider the types of meals you’d like to make between now and the next time you shop. If there are items on your inventory list that can’t be used in a meal, then don’t purchase them.
Filling your fridge with food for meals can help in many ways. You’ll snack less, prepare dinner as part of a routine, and you can cut down on your grocery bill by shopping for only the essentials.
3. Use a beverage cooler to make room for food.
If your refrigerator door is packed with drinks, or if you have a whole shelf just for cans or bottles, one simple way to make room is to get a beverage cooler. Combining your food and drink in one place quickly leads to disorganization.
If you have guests over, they may need to put their beer in your fridge. Offering a second refrigeration space can help your friends feel more comfortable and welcome in your home.
Also, if you like to keep wine, those bottles become tainted by strong food odors such as meats and cheeses. A separate beverage cooler keeps your wine contained for reaching its peak. Otherwise, the taste will be different from what the winery intended.
4. Consider freezing food to fit more.
Sometimes when you cook a meal you have leftover ingredients. You may have only used egg yolks but not the whites, or you may have brewed coffee and not finished all of it.
Instead of throwing that food away, you can freeze them in ice trays. Herbs can also be frozen into oil cubes and tossed in a pan for cooking. These are just a few of the best foods to freeze.
5. Find the right storage to keep your food tidy.
The most recommended way to store food in your fridge is in glassware such as a mason jar. A variety of soups, salads, and side dishes from leftover meals are perfect for this type of container. If you like packing your lunch a day ahead of time, mason jars are a great size for holding one meal. Using glass to store food can also enhance the taste since plastics tend to leach into food when microwaved. Glassware can be heated up in an oven instead.
If you’d like to organize all parts of your fridge, plastic bins can separate meats, cheeses, condiments, and more through simple labeling.
Another useful storage item is a Lazy Susan, which spins in a circle. Instead of losing your food in the back of the fridge, use a Lazy Susan to keep it in sight.
Bottom Line: Increase the space and the quality of food in your fridge.
In the end, you’ll have your beverages and food separated for easy access.
Your leftovers will be preserved in mason jars, meats and cheeses will have their own baskets, your freezer will take on more of your storage, and your fridge will be filled with the essential food you’re sure to eat.
Nothing is better than coming home to exactly what you want for dinner and a nice glass of your favorite chilled wine. Here’s a look at two NewAir coolers that could be the perfect complement to your crowded fridge: