Your home refrigerator is one of the most important elements in keeping you and your family healthy. When your fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and drinks are stored in the proper location in your fridge, not only will you have longer lasting food, but you’ll also get better tasting meals to help work towards a balanced diet full of nutritious foods.

Here are our ten favorite tips to organizing your refrigerator to maintain a clean environment for healthy foods.

1. Label Drawers and Shelves

Labeling the drawers, shelves and containers in your refrigerator is an easy first step to organizing your foods and drinks. This will save time and decrease your aggravation when trying to find your leftovers from the night before.

Storage containers with clear lids can be placed on the bottom shelves for easier sight. Tupperware with solid lids can be labeled with removable, erasable labels. This can even be helpful when packing lunch for yourself or the kids. Labels can also be placed on the shelves to help you store condiments and drinks in easy to reach and see locations.

2. Be Storage Savvy

While labeling your Tupperware containers makes for easy pickings from the fridge, the type of Tupperware you use is just as important.

Glass containers should hold foods that you want to reheat in the microwave, while plastic should be saved for foods that will be eaten cold such as vegetable or pasta salads. Waffles and other toaster pastries can be stored in zipper baggies with proper labels and meat can be wrapped in freezer paper. However, remember to write the name of the meat product and the date that you packaged it.

3. Think Outside the Gallon

If your family needs a constant supply of milk and juice but those bulky plastic gallon jugs take up too much room, why not transfer these drinks to slender carafes?

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These airtight containers look modern and sleek while leaving you a little extra room to store bowls of citrus fruit or stacks of leftovers. You can find these carafes at many home organization stores, along with neat stacking racks to store smaller bottles of water and juice that you can grab while on the go.

4. Keep Your Eggs Cold and Sheltered

If eggs are your go-to breakfast item, keep them fresh and safe from damage in an airtight egg container. With a specially designed spot for each egg, these containers stop your eggs from absorbing other odors. It also prevents them from falling out the usual storage compartments in the door.

Finally, store your eggs in the middle of your refrigerator. This is the coldest area and will keep them in the perfect condition for scrambling, frying, poaching and boiling.

5. Utilize Drawers for Fruits and Vegetables

Refrigerators equipped with fruit and vegetable drawers work wonders in keeping your produce fresh, crisp and free from rotting. Vegetable drawers should contain a bit of humidity, thus they should be stored in the drawer marked, “moister.” Vegetables stored in the veggie drawer should be placed in loosely closed plastic bags or their original packaging.

Fruits on the other hand stay fresher in a lower humidity environment. Many refrigerators have a drawer marked as “crisper”, which is the perfect spot for fruit that needs no ripening. It is important to store the fruit in loosely tied plastic bags without washing them, as the extra water can promote the growth of mold. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons do not need to be placed in a plastic bag. However, nectarines, peaches, pears, tomatoes and banas can be stored on your counter until they are ripe and ready to eat.

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6. Keep Your Deli Meat in Prime Condition

Many refrigerators will have a shallow but long drawer to store your deli meat and cheeses. These drawers maintain a temperature just below the rest of the refrigerator in order to keep these products fresh. If your fridge does not have a meat drawer, store your sliced meats and cheeses in airtight bags on the very bottom shelf.

7. Utilize the Side Door

The side door is the perfect location to keep condiments containing higher amounts of salt and vinegar, which act as natural preservatives. Examples of these condiments include:

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pickles
  • Salsa
  • Salad dressings
  • Nut oils such as walnut, sunflower and sesame

Vegetable oils, such as canola and olive, can be stored in your pantry or shelf, as they do not require refrigeration.

8. Spin That Dairy ‘Round and ‘Round

Dairy products such as sour cream, cottage cheese and yogurt should be stored on the bottom shelf. You can find kid friendly and just plain fun Lazy Susans or turn tables to place on the shelf. This makes storage, stacking and access simple and a bit fun for everyone. Remember to tightly seal the lids of these products, as this will help them maintain their flavors and freshness.

9. Remember Your Writing Utensils and List

An often over looked part of the refrigerator is the outside door. This is the perfect location to place a magnetic pad of paper and a pen. The pen can be used to label your containers and the paper is the perfect place to make a list of items you need to pick up on your next trip to the grocery store.

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You can also purchase magnetic chip clips to help you keep track of coupons and newspaper ads to save money on your food or storage materials. You can also purchase a small magnetic white board, or if you are feeling in the mood for vintage, small chalkboards are available in today’s home goods market as well. Writing pads and boards can also be used to write reminders or ideas for recipes!

10. Keep Shelves Clean With Contact Paper

If your fridge is prone to having sticky shelves from juice spills or other messes, why not line them with contact paper? Available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, this removable paper means you will not have to spend any more time removing drawers and shelves for scrubbing. All you have to do is tear out the sheet and replace it with a new one!

Keeping your refrigerator clean and organized is a simple way to give your family access to healthy foods without worrying about spoiled meats, rotten fruits or the questionable container of leftovers. With a wide selection of storage and organization materials to choose from, your refrigerator can look and feel brand new in no time.

Kara Zorn

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