As a busy mom with elementary-aged children, the kitchen is one of the most active areas in our home. For many families, the fridge oftentimes becomes a pot of neglect because the mess is behind closed doors (out of sight, out of mind!) and since this space isn't as high on the priority list as some of the more exposed areas of the home.
For an area that is accessed multiple times per day and is used to store likely hundreds of dollars worth of products in it each month, it seems worthy of a little attention every once in awhile. There are some basic tips that can instantly improve the state of your fridge, including products that can help support the organization and general rules for how to keep up the systems once they are in place to prevent food waste in the future.
- Keep like with like. Dedicate areas of your fridge for certain types of food so that you know where to find what you're looking, when you're looking for it. Not only will you always know where to find a category, but you’ll also have a visual cue for when it’s time to replace an item in a category or help to prevent buying duplicates on your next grocery run.
- Use clear containers to make your life easier. Put your food in clear containers that fit well on your fridge shelves. Not only will the container make it easy for you to pull in and out of the fridge and help keep your shelves clean, but it will also help you see what you have and remind you to use it. I’m also a huge advocate of labeling my containers clearly so that everyone knows what’s inside. My girls love using their individualized Mabels Labels on their snack bags so they know who gets what.
- Make food easy for everyone to access. When it is difficult to know or see what you have on hand, a lot of times it leads to developing a good amount of wasted food and products because you don’t know where what you need is when you need to use it. When everything in your fridge has a home it is easy to always know where to find the item.
- Make adjustments. When we see fridges that are in a state of chaos we usually come to find out that the client’s method when unloading groceries is to put items where they will fit, which typically results in items being pushed to the back of the fridge (and inevitable expiring) or stacking items that makes it difficult to see what is actually being stored inside. Fridge shelves are adjustable and may need to be tweaked to best fit your needs. Similar to other areas of your home, the vertical space in your fridge often gets wasted but it's full of valuable real estate.
- Check the out-of-sight places regularly. The bottoms of fridge drawers and back shelves can become scary pits for expired foods if they aren't kept up on a regular basis. Before you stop by the grocery store make it a priority to pull out items in each category (and especially the drawers) to keep expiration dates in check and also refresh your mind with what you have already available in your fridge and what needs to be replaced.