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Keeping your fridge clean and organized is one of the best ways to keep your family healthy and make dinner prep a breeze. So, the next time you put in the effort to clean out your fridge, make sure you also take the time to organize it when you’re finished. And I’m here to tell you that organizing your refrigerator is easier than you think! We’ll dive right into how to organize your refrigerator below!
An organized refrigerator will not only make it easier for you to find what you need as you’re cooking, but it will also help your family reduce food waste. Not to mention how great it will look each time you open the door to grab your ingredients! So, do I have you convinced to hit the fridge and start organizing? These easy tips will help guide you through the process of organizing your refrigerator.
The Best Way to Organize the Refrigerator
While organizing many other areas in your home can be based on preference and the needs of your family, there really is science behind a perfectly organized refrigerator. That’s because food should be organized inside the fridge based on the temperature and amount of moisture needed to keep the food safe as it chills.
Typically, food items that don’t need to be cooked before eating should be placed at the top of the fridge. While everything else is organized downwards based on the temperature at which it needs to be cooked. That means food that needs a high internal temperature when it’s finished cooking, like poultry, should be placed at the bottom of the fridge.
This simple organizational method not only helps keep food at the correct temperature within the refrigerator, but it also helps prevent cross-contamination between the items you grab and eat and the ones that need to be cooked to kill harmful bacteria that may be found on the ingredient.
How to Organize Your Refrigerator
Using this easy concept as a guide, taking the time to sort all the items you store in your fridge before placing them back inside is a great first start. When organizing your fridge, consider these easy guidelines for storing food:
- Upper shelves: ready to eat foods, leftovers, butter, and drinks
- Middle shelves: eggs and some dairy items
- Lower shelves: milk and raw ingredients that need to be cooked, like meat and poultry
- Doors: condiments and sauces
What to Store in Your Refrigerator Drawers
Depending on how your fridge is set up, it can be difficult to know what to store in the drawers in your refrigerator. While the drawers in your fridge are designed to store produce at specific humidity levels, their placement at the bottom of the fridge puts that produce at risk for cross-contamination with your meat. Consider these guidelines when organizing your refrigerator doors:
- If the drawers are located at the bottom of your refrigerator, consider using one drawer for produce and the second drawer for raw meat.
- If the drawers are stacked inside your refrigerator, be sure to place your meat in the bottom drawer and your produce in the top drawer.
- When storing meat in one drawer, be sure to thoroughly clean the drawer before using it to store produce.
- Do you need both drawers for produce? Consider separating your raw meat from the rest of the food in your fridge using a refrigerator organizer. A clear plastic bin placed on a refrigerator shelf will help contain the meat to reduce the chances of contamination.
Organizing According to Ingredients
While organizing your fridge based on sections of the appliance are a great idea, sometimes you just need to know the best place to store a certain ingredient. If you would prefer to sort your fridge based on what you place inside, these guidelines are a great starting point:
- Milk should be placed at the bottom of the fridge, toward the back of the appliance – the coldest spot in the fridge.
- Sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt is also best when stored at the back and bottom of the fridge.
- Eggs should be placed in the middle of the fridge for consistent temperatures.
- Vegetables stay fresh in high humidity, so storing them in a vegetable or high humidity drawer is the best option.
- Fruit needs low humidity to stay fresh, which means they should be stored in the crisper or low humidity drawer.
- Keep raw meat at the bottom of the fridge where it’s the coldest.
- Store deli meats in the shallow meat drawer or on the bottom shelf.
- Condiments can be stored in the door, along with salsas, pickles, and sauces. Most of these items are made with vinegar and/or salt, which act as a natural preservative. That means they don’t need to be kept at an even temperature inside the fridge.
- Butter and soft cheese can also be stored in the door (in the dairy compartment) or on the top shelf of the fridge.