Refrigerators are some of the most important appliances in any household. While having a working refrigerator is good, keeping a neatly arranged one can make it easier for you to preserve food and find what you need. Of course, there are times when you may be tempted to just stuff this week’s groceries into your fridge without much thought. How you choose to fill your fridge depends on you, but you can apply some best practices to ensure your food stays fresh and make the shelves more pleasing to look at. If you’re planning to rearrange your fridge soon, here are a few tips you might want to follow.
Plan around the Coldest and Warmest Spots
Most fridges are designed in a way that some spots tend to be colder than others. Usually, the top shelf and the middle of your fridge door are the warmest spots, while the bottom shelf has a lower temperature since this is where the heavier, colder air falls. As such, it’s best to organize food items based on how cold they need to be. That said, you may want to invest in a two door refrigerator to properly separate your frozen items from the rest of the contents in the main compartment that may not need as much cooling. To give you an idea of the ideal placements, here are some pointers to consider.
The top shelf is ideally where you should keep ready-to-eat foods such as leftovers, takeout, or snacks. This is also a great spot for condiments and non-gas-releasing fruits such as apples, melons, grapes, and oranges. Avoid keeping fresh meat or fish on this shelf to prevent spoilage and dripping, which causes cross-contamination between foods.
This part of the fridge is best for dairy products, eggs, cold cuts, and fruits. There’s not much of a difference between the top and middle shelves, so you can have a bit of freedom to switch items between the two areas. The middle shelf is typically the one with ample vertical space, which may be ideal for tall containers and drinks such as milk and soda.
As one of the colder areas of your fridge, the bottom shelf can be used for raw meat and fish. Highly perishable ingredients like these are generally stored in the freezer to preserve freshness, but if you plan to cook them within the day, it’s best to move them to your fridge to defrost them safely. Do make sure that they‘re wrapped tightly or placed in sealed containers so that they don’t contaminate other foods.
Your fridge’s vegetable crisper or drawer is designed to keep cold air from shriveling or dehydrating produce. As such, it would be ideal to place vegetables and herbs here to keep them from getting frozen.
This part of the fridge is the warmest, so it should be reserved for food that doesn’t require too much cooling. Butter tends to be softer when placed on the door, which is ideal for those who prefer quick breakfasts. You can also place jams, juices, and condiments here as well. While it’s fine to place milk on the fridge door, it’s better to do so only if you frequently consume milk.
Of course, this part of the fridge is most suitable for frozen meats, vegetables, and ice cream. But other than that, the freezer is also ideal for storing foods that can easily turn rancid with heat and light exposure. Such foods include nuts, fresh pasta, whole-grain flour, and even your leftover adobo or caldereta dinner.
Use Clear Plastic Containers
To keep your fridge’s contents well organized, you may want to transfer food into clear containers, especially your leftovers. Aside from being more compact and easier to store, plastic containers are also suitable for labeling. Moreover, air-tight containers are great for preserving the freshness of food. If you want to compartmentalize your fridge even further, you can separate containers using bins, trays, or small baskets.
Label Your Food
Placing labels on your food containers can make your fridge easier to navigate. Additionally, you can include details such as expiration dates or the date when you placed them in the fridge to give you an idea of how long they should stay inside. To provide labels for your food containers, you can use masking tape and a permanent marker. If you want to take your organizing skills to the next level, you can also keep a list of your fridge’s contents that you can constantly update.
Don’t Overfill Your Fridge
While it’s good to maximize the use of your fridge to ensure your food stays edible, it would do more harm than good to put too many items in your fridge. For one, you could make it harder to open the fridge door without having jars and other items fall over. Too many items can also block the air vents and prevent optimal cooling, leading to diminished energy efficiency. To keep your fridge performing at its best, consider filling two-thirds of it at most.
Tidier Fridge, Healthier Meals
No matter how high-end your fridge may be, not keeping it organized can have an effect on the safety of your food, the tastiness of your meals, and the cost of your electric bill. Organizing your fridge takes a bit of effort, but it’s better than tediously navigating through the clutter and resorting to food waste. People have their own methods for arranging their fridges, but you can always use some tried-and-tested strategies to do it in a smarter way.
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