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It's day 7 and the end of the first week of neatntiny.com's 30-Day Spring Tidying Challenge! If you're just joining us, check out the link above explaining how it works and the links below for what we've covered so far:
Day 1: Kitchen Counters
Day 2: Under the Sink
Day 3: Dining Area
Day 4: Cutlery & Utensils Drawers
Day 5: Tupperware Drawer
Day 6: Remainder of Kitchen Drawers, Cabinets & Pantry
Today we're organizing the fridge and freezer, and catching up on any unfinished business from the past week!
If you haven't already, please subscribe for a free, printable 30-Day Spring Tidying Challenge schedule!
Below are my suggestions for how to declutter and organize your fridge and freezer:
1. Clear out your fridge/freezer. I would start with the fridge, instead of emptying both at once, so your frozen goods don't melt.
2. Clean the inside of the fridge/freezer with your favorite multipurpose cleaner.
3. Decide what food/condiments should be disposed of. Get rid of food that's expired or that you don't see yourself consuming before its expiry date. Bonus points if you don't find anything over a year past it's 'best before' date!
4. Divide the contents of the fridge/freezer into three groups/bins.
i) belongs in the fridge/freezer
ii) belongs elsewhere in the kitchen
5. Return the food you decide to keep to the fridge/freezer.
Fridge Organization Tips
- If you have doubles (or triples...) of anything, put the oldest one in front, so you remember to use it up first.
- Store like items together; it makes it easier to find things and to return them to their proper places (i.e. condiments together, meat together etc.). This also helps to prevent cross-contamination.
- Organize by temperature: the bottom shelf is the coldest, so this is the best place for raw meat, milk and soft cheeses; the top shelf is warmest, but adequate for deli meats, anything pickled and pre-made meals/leftovers; the middle shelf works for just about everything else. It's supposedly the best place for eggs, which do best when the temperature's consistent.
Don't be afraid to play around with your shelf heights to suit your needs. There's a reason they're adjustable!
The doors are the warmest spot, so it's best to stick to juice, condiments and butter, here:
A lidless piece of Tupperware from day 5 makes itself useful to corral takeout condiments in the fridge door:
- Organize by humidity: in general, most fruits do better in the low humidity drawer (it prevents things from ripening too quickly):
Most vegetables do better in the high humidity drawer, as it keeps them from wilting:
My favorite drawer of them all, the booze drawer!
You may recall that extra bottle opener and corkscrew from day 4. Call it unorthodox, but I'm liking having these right where we need them!
Fridge Organization Ideas
Two-tier Lazy Susan for the Fridge ($17.99, Amazon.com).
Fridge Organizer Set - 6 Pieces ($34.99, Amazon.com).
Freezer Organization Tips
- Get rid of unnecessary packaging. Space is limited in the freezer, so taking food out of bulky boxes makes a lot of sense.
- Organize similar items together (ex. frozen veggies/fruit vs. frozen meat).
In our freezer, the left side of the bottom drawer is for smoothie ingredients (i.e. frozen berries, beets, and kale):
and the right side is for cooking ingredients (i.e. frozen peas, mixed veggies, okra, brussels sprouts).
The shallow top drawer houses the ice tray; we also keep frozen meals and ice packs here.
6. Redistribute the items that belong elsewhere in the kitchen, or somewhere else in the home, to their appropriate spots. Admittedly, this step doesn't translate particularly well to the fridge/freezer.
If you're short on fridge space, here's a list of foods that shouldn't/don't need to be kept in the fridge: potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, peaches, plums, bread and honey.
7. Dispose of and/or recycle items from the designated garbage/recycling bins.