Is your refrigerator organized?
When things have a designated spot, it’s less wasteful, because foods don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge, and forgotten about, where they mold or go rotten. It’s also easier to clean an organized fridge. Let’s look at these tips to help free your fridge of clutter.
Clear away old or expired items
Ensure that you unplug the fridge and freezer from the mains. This is a basic safety measure since it is an electrical appliance.
In addition, if there are glass shelves or drawers avoid dipping them into hot water as the temperature change may cause breakage.
The first step is to get rid of all the stuff in the fridge and freezer that are past their prime, or that you are not likely to eat anymore.
You will need to take everything out of your refrigerator and freezer, evaluate each item and decide whether to keep it or not. Check the condiments on the door(s) whether they are expired or not, check the dates on the jars and bottles to be sure none of them has expired. You will be surprised that some of those items have been there for years!
Clean the refrigerator and freezer
While the refrigerator and freezer are empty, clean them out. Mop up quickly any spills, sticky messes and other dirt and odours.
It is good to use a paste of baking soda and water to clean your fridge and freezer, since it both cleans and remove odors. If you have any meat juice spills, you will need to use a disinfectant. In addition, you can wash drawers and shelves with hot soapy water.
In addition, if you do not have a freezer which automatically defrosts this may also be a good opportunity to defrost your freezer.
Organize the items
You may choose to let the items stay loose or you may put them into containers to keep them together.
Be mindful of overstocking the refrigerator. You should allow enough space to allow air to circulate freely so that the fridge can cool efficiently and effectively.
Items can be arranged as advised below;
Eggs are best where the temperature is most consistent—on the middle shelf. Store in the original cartons (don’t transfer to the fridge egg container).
Milk tends to land on the top shelf, but it should be on the bottom, all the way in back, where it’s coldest.
Yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese fare best on the bottom shelf for the same reason. Stack items on a turntable to keep everything accessible and expiration dates visible.
Packaged raw meat should go on the super-cold bottom shelf. And if juices drip, they won’t contaminate the whole fridge.
Vegetables stay fresh longer with a bit of humidity. The drawer labeled vegetables or high humidity is the moistest spot in the fridge. Store in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied.
Fruit belongs in the low humidity drawer (sometimes marked crisper). Keep in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied (citrus is fine with no bag). Tip: Leave vegetables and fruits unwashed until you use them. Water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow. In the produce drawers, you can keep fruits and vegetables. Modern fridges come with humidity drawers to help keep your produce fresh.
Deli meats belong in the shallow meat drawer, which is slightly colder than the rest of the fridge, or (if there’s no such drawer) on the bottom shelf.
Butter and soft cheeses do not need to be super cold, so they can live in the dairy compartment on the door (the warmest part of the fridge). Place soft cheeses in an air-tight container after opening them.
Condiments are generally high in vinegar and salt, which are natural preservatives. So ketchup, half-used tomato pastes, mayonnaise, and salad dressing are fine on the door. Olive and vegetable oils can remain in the pantry. But nut oils, like sesame and walnut oils, belong in the refrigerator, also on the door. This is where I keep our jar of sugar mainly to keep it away from ants. Believe me it works perfectly. You can also keep packs of tea bags there too.
Juice and drinks can be stored on the door, as long as it’s pasteurized. This place is particularly good for drinks that have been opened but not finished because placing them on the main shelves will mean tilting them and this may cause the packs to leak if not well closed . So it is better to have them upright on the side shelves on the inside of the fridge door. Fresh-squeezed should be stored on the bottom shelf
Medicine and drugs can be stored on the door, some fridges have a small shelf designed for that purpose.
Meat, fish, chicken and other frozen foods are stored in the freezer.