By Chef Alli on June 19, 2017
8 tips to keep your fridge and freezer organized
Bring peace and order to your heart and soul by implementing a few simple strategies for taming kitchen chaos. Even if you only put one of these into service for your family, you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.
1) FILL YOUR FREEZER WITH LABELED PLASTIC BASKETS.
This one organization technique alone has saved me so much time and hassle. Instead of frantically pawing through my entire freezer’s contents for a particular item, I now only have to pull out the designated basket for my search. If the block of Parmesan cheese I’m seeking isn’t in the basket marked CHEESE, I know it’s not available and I need to add it to my shopping list.
2) You just can’t beat baking sheets for the fridge.
I wasn’t sure about this one as first, but quickly discovered it’s much easier to pull out a tray to view what’s really in the back of the fridge than it is to dig my way back there. I place these on the lower shelf of the my fridge which happens to be the biggest one. If you can find trays with taller sides, these work even better.
3) Put a Lazy Susan beverage center to work.
We utilize this primarily in the summer when everyone is reaching for their particular beverage container as they head out the door. When our boys were small, this may have encouraged them to drink a little more water because they got to “spin” to find their bottle. We also utilize lazy Susan’s in our spare fridge for other beverage choices – there’s a lot more space here and it’s a nice way to easily see what’s available and what needs purchased, as well.
4) Create an “Eat Me First” bin for close-to-expiration items.
We try to keep this bin in the most prominent place in our fridge, each item plastered with a big label that’s got the expiration date clearly marked. This system hasn’t eliminated ALL of our food waste, but it’s definitely helped us cut back. I started doing this after a fridge purge that resulted in lots of guilt for having to toss so many date-expired items just because they got buried in the back.
5) Utilize a magnetic grocery list pad.
When the boys yell “Mom, we’re out of ketchup.” I can holler back “OK. Write it on the grocery list for me please. It’s right on the fridge.” I’ve even attached an ink pen beside it with Velcro so there’s NO EXCUSES.
6) Keep your meat budget under control by attaching a dry erase board to the front of your upright freezer.
As I pull meat items from my freezer, I cross them off my list; when I purchase meat items, I add them to the inventory list. Doing an inventory every month or so to adjust the list helps me keep a much better handle on what I have on hand. I’ve discovered this system also helps me keep track of which items in my freezer need to be used first so I can place them towards the front of each shelf for easy access and a reminder.
7) Set aside a special leak-proof tub for raw meats.
When you have lots of people getting in and out of the fridge like we do, cross contamination from raw meats can happen pretty easily. Place this tub on the lowest shelf possible in your fridge and make for certain it’s liquid tight. If meats leak their juices into the tub (and we all know they just do), it’s sure a lot easier to wash out a tub than it is to clean the entire fridge shelf and/or fridge bottom.
8) Divide your crisper drawers.
Turns out those adjustable dividers that I was using in my silverware drawers work great in both my vegetable bin drawers (I actually just cut the dividers to fit from cardboard boxes that I wrap in duct tape and secure into place). Then, be sure to label each divided area so you can see at a glance what you have and what you don’t...and also so the son putting away the groceries can see right where they need to go.