Not all of your fridge space serves the same purpose or temperature. Which means that you need to organize the fridge efficiently so that every item of food you store there gets the best conditions imaginable. This ensures that your food lasts longer and you have minimal waste.
One of my greatest pains is having to throw out food gone bad in the fridge. Especially since I know that food waste is a big problem and there are parts of the world where people don’t have that much to eat. It’s simply a form of guilt that I have trouble holding on my shoulders. Now, beyond my occasional laziness or lack of time for cooking, there are some tricks to organize the fridge which would help ensure that the food stays good to eat longer.
Of course, not all refrigerators are identical, but for the most part, they do have similar drawers and shelves. Two drawers at the bottom – the coldest part of the fridge –, and at least three shelves: top, middle, and bottom. Storing your food depends a lot on the best temperature the specific food thrives in. Let’s dig in!
Side note: if you live with a flatmate like I do, things might be a little difficult. Until recently, we had shared the fridge shelves: she got two for her food, and I got two for mine. I am still negotiating this transition, but I think we will reach consensus on how to organize the fridge and you will too! Good luck!
6 tips to organize the fridge efficiently
1. Keep very perishable items away from the door
This literally shocked me! The temperature fluctuates too much in the door area, which means that very perishable items, like milk and eggs, should be kept away! And I find this out after keeping those exact items on the door shelves for as long as I can remember, like my parents before me!
2. Where should you move the milk?
The best place for the milk and other dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream is the coldest place in the whole fridge: the back of the bottom drawer. I know, it’s harder in the morning to reach for it and have your cereal, but it’s the right thing to do. Promise!
3. Keep the eggs stable
I mention my obsession regarding eggs every three articles, I think. And yet, I just recently found out that I wasn’t treating my eggs properly, by keeping them in the refrigerator door. Apparently, the best place for them is the area with the most consistent temperature: the middle shelf. And they fare better if they’re kept in their original container, not the plastic fridge container.
4. Fruit and veggies best kept separately
Another mistake I made: keeping my fruit and veggies in the same drawer, together. Now, in my current apartment, I only have one drawer in the fridge. But most refrigerators have two separate ones. One should be labeled for high humidity, which benefits your vegetables, and one should be labeled for lower humidity, which is good for your fruit! Also, when storing these, remember not to suffocate them in plastic bags. Loosely tie these and give them some room to breathe. Don’t wash them before storing, because water promotes mold and bacteria growth.
5. Cheese and condiments best kept in the door
Condiments like mayo, ketchup, pickles, or dried salsa usually contain salt and vinegar, which act as preservatives, so they can stay in the door shelves. Also, you can keep nut oils like sesame and walnut, near them. Butter and soft cheeses can stay where they belong: in the dairy compartment on the door. You can also keep pasteurized orange juice there.
6.The meats go on the bottom shelf
This just leaves packaged raw meat and deli meats, which belong in the same place: near the milk and yogurt, in the bottom shelf, where it’s nice and cold and they’ll keep perfectly. Try to separate the two types of meats, because one of them can drip juice, and you don’t want to contaminate the other one!