A well organised fridge is one of my obsessions. A clean tidy fridge will help you avoid food waste and save money. Here are 20 tips for fridge organisation brought to you in this post commissioned by Homebase. Find out at the bottom of this post how you can win a silver or black Bush fridge, a place on a Leith’s Cookery School course, Naked Wines or Riverford grocery boxes.
1. Do not over fill your fridge.
Not only does it stop your fridge from working as effectively, if foods are buried you might forget to use them before they spoil. More importantly, if your fridge is too full you cannot possibly make the most of marked down items in the chiller aisle!
2. Keep food in the fridge (mostly) in a regular place.
This reduces time spent looking for items. The longer that door is open hunting for what you want, the more energy you waste. Plus it helps you see at a glance what you’ve run out of.
3. Keep the outside of your fridge tidy and decluttered.
Do not bury your fridge in too many novelty magnets and bits of kids’ artwork. Mine has a magnetic puzzle on the front and the side just has a dry wipe noticeboard, a family appointments calendar and clear plastic pouch for current grocery coupons. (The wipe clean panel and pouch are from the hidden gem that is the Martha Stewart stationery range by Avery available at Staples. I might also use a magnet to pin reminders about imminent school trips. But keep it relevant – the fridge door is an ideal place to remind yourself of important stuff if it’s not buried under lots of paintings or out of date stuff.
4. Keep a list of what is in your freezer on the fridge door.
Keep it (roughly) up to date. This way you can deliberate what to make for dinner without opening the freezer door (saving energy again).
5. Remove built in fridge parts you don’t use.
Such as egg trays from the door as you’re not meant refrigerate eggs so these are a waste of space (in the UK – I realise other countries may wash their eggs before sale meaning they’re supposed to be refrigerated). Also remove any vertical dividers as they’re a waste of space too. Although I’ll let you keep one to store tomato puree tubes vertically.
6. Always have a bottle of Prosecco to hand.
That’s just a personal one for me LOL.
7. Make the most of the fridge space you have.
Organise jars according to height/width so you can fit them in most efficiently. I look for skinny jars and bottles since they take up less width on the shelves.
8. Don’t fill your fridge with crusty half empty jars.
Try not to open multiple types of the same thing at once. If at all possible, discipline yourself to only have 1-2 types of mustard, jam etc at the same time. Keep an eye on things that are less than half full and prioritise using them up next.
9. Don’t waste fridge space on jars you’ve not opened yet.
Base your meal plans around things already opened that need using up.
10. Keep your fridge clean.
Periodically – before a big shop when you have most space available – remove fridge shelves one by one to remove any crumbs or sticky bits.
11. Keep all your cheese together in one box.
Mine doesn’t have a lid but everything in it is loosely wrapped. Avoid opening new packs of cheese when bits of old ones are waiting to be used. I keep new blocks of cheese at the back behind the cheese tub. Unopened packs of feta or halloumi can be kept “on standby” longer than other varieties. Marked down cheese at the supermarket is often good for another week or longer still if you freeze bits.
12. Put lightweight bulky things on the top shelf.
I group various types of bread on the top shelf. Flat breads can live underneath soft large loaves as it’s ok if they’re squashed. As I’m not very tall, it also means I can reach soft large loaves easily without worrying about dropping something heavy on my head! I might also keep the next tub of margarine lurking at the back out the way.
13. On the bottom shelf I store meat.
Below you can see my regular chunk of roasted ham in a tub with the next joint ready to cook next week. I use the IKEA plastic boxes with green lids. And I only use one style of plastic box because this means they all stack tidily in the drawer when they’re not being used. (I should do another post about my drawers ha ha).
14. Organise your fridge drawers.
Keep most of the loose vegetables in the drawers at the bottom. Technically they’re “salad crisper” drawers although I tend to keep my bags of rocket on the shelves above so they don’t get flattened. For ease finding stuff I tend to keep root veg on the right and green veg on the left. Although from the photo you’ll see I’m not quite sticking to my rules the moment as I had a bulk buy of peppers that have mostly just been roasted and covered in oil in that tub on the right.
15. Stack plastic trays where you can.
Those cherry tomatoes can support the weight of several bigger tomatoes. Lie any loose chilli peppers or halves of onion wrapped in cling film lightly on top of your mushrooms.
16. Tidy your fridge every day!
Continuously rotate and condense home packaged items into smaller tubs as you use the contents up. That way if you make a batch of lasagnes you’ll have enough room to put one on the shelf instead of having a shelf full of huge half empty containers.
17. Avoid those spillages.
Don’t lie bottles on their sides. Even if they seem to be screwed shut tight, they’ll make an almighty mess if you’re wrong. Where cartons of cream/yogurt etc are opened but don’t have fixed plastic lids, cover them tight with a piece of foil. It won’t stop them leaking if they tumble but the foil is a good signal that the pack is a potential leak hazard. Plus you won’t forget at a glance that the tub is already open and open another new one by mistake.
18. Regularly check for ice and pools of water.
Chunks of ice can grow under the drawers. Sometimes the hole where water drains to the condenser gets blocked. You can help it run better again by plugging the hole with some bicarbonate of soda and dripping over a spoonful of vinegar. Let it fizz up for a couple of minutes then wipe away and wipe with clean damp cloth.
19. Keep your fridge smelling fresh.
Hopefully because your fridge isn’t harbouring any spillages or stale pools of water, it won’t smell. But if you notice any niffs from strong smelling food, A lemon cut in half left loose on the shelf will absorb this. Always wrap half cut onions in cling film. Keep them at the front somewhere so you remember to use them in the next suitable meal.
20. Keep Your Cool.
Finally, keep a fridge thermometer inside and keep an eye on any digital gauges built in to your model. Food should be 3-5c and never over 7c as this is the temperature when growth of bacteria will speed up to a dangerous level. Never put even slightly warm food in your fridge as this raises the internal temperature and risk spoiling the contents.
If you enjoyed this post – read this post next – how to do a freezer audit !
Post commissioned by Homebase as part of their #KeepYourCool fridge campaign.
Homebase are holding a competition to win a silver or black Bush fridge. Other prizes include a place on an exclusive Leith’s Cookery School course, Naked Wines and Riverford grocery boxes.