Over the last couple weeks in the Friday Feast posts we’ve talked about better ways to grocery shop and what might be in your pantry.
This final installment of food organization and we’re going straight to the fridge.
Your fridge, as your pantry, will be unique to you and those in your household.
The better it is organized, the more likely you will use what’s in it. Using what you have bought will help save you money since you won’t be throwing items away you forgot you had. Or if you know you won’t need it for a while, you can transfer it to the freezer.
To aid in this discussion, I’m letting you into my life through pictures of my fridge. Let’s start at the top.
Top Shelf: Mostly dairy products and liquids. Yes, I eat dairy, mostly in the form of yogurt and cheese. For my smoothies I use almond milk. (I also have a few extra dairy on the right side because I need to bake a chocolate cake for my mom’s birthday, and when I bake, it’s traditional baking…butter, heavy cream…)
Second Shelf: Eggs and containers of pre-prepared fruits and veggies. I spend a little time each week cutting up some fruits and veggies so they are ready to go. Containers of leftover meals would also go on this shelf.
Meat Drawer: Pretty simple here – I put my meats and cheeses in here for easy access!
Third Shelf: Here you can see I’ve got bread, nuts, and seeds. You can see some containers from the bulk food section. I keep my bread in the fridge because it will keep quite a while in there. (Yes I eat bread. Not a lot, but I have it when I need it.)
Fourth Shelf: I’ve got some beverages on the left that are enjoyed on occasion, and you also see some fruits that will soon turn into a fruit salad (some will go into the freezer). This shelf is further down so this is stuff I don’t access often or is waiting to be used.
Bottom Drawers: Home of fruits and veggies! Fill these drawers up every week! But if you find you aren’t using all the produce that you buy, instead of letting it go bad and throwing it away, here are some tips.
- Only buy what you think you might use. Sometimes we have a plan for something and aren’t able to use it, but think through how much produce you actually will consume.
- Use Debbies Green Bags. I have found these do work to extend the life of your produce, so what might last a week will stay fresh for two.
- Put it in the freezer! Wash it, prep it as you might want to use it and then get it in the freezer. Now you have washed fruits ready for smoothies or chopped veggies ready for that stir fry.
I didn’t get good pictures of my side shelves, but these basically hold the jars and bottles of condiments, or other things that just fit better on a side shelf versus a deep shelf. The top shelves have things I access all the time such as wheat germ and milled flax seed. Below that the salad dressings and other condiments.
I should quickly mention the freezer. To me, the freezer is an extension of the fridge, just for longer term storage. Keep a lot of fruits and veggies in there. You will store some meats that you aren’t going to eat right away. And it’s a great place for leftover meals to save a for later.
Go through your fridge (and freezer) and get rid of everything that has expired. Wipe down the shelves and organize everything is a way that makes sense for you. Typically like-items should be put together and the things you access the most will be around eye level. If you have multiple people in your household, make sure the organization makes sense for everyone.
Eating healthy is a lot easier with a clean and organized fridge filled with the foods you should be eating!
If you have any organizational tips you would like to share, please add them to the comments below.