Are you tired of finding expired food in your fridge?
For many households, there’s a grocery shopping routine that impacts this problem.
Often times, shoppers go grocery shopping with a list of what they need, pick out all the food they want, then come home to swap out all the fresh food they bought with the stale food they didn’t eat.
It’s not difficult to fix this problem, but it takes some initiative. We’ll walk you through the process with these three steps:
Step 1: Completely clear out the fridge and take inventory.
The best way to begin this process is to start with a clean slate. Before you go grocery shopping, empty out everything from your refrigerator and wipe it clean. Throw away all the food that has gone bad now rather than later.
If you’re serious about organizing your fridge once and for all, do the same for your freezer. Just be careful not to leave the food out for long enough that anything defrosts.
Once the fridge is completely empty and clean, as you place items back inside, create an inventory list. For each shelf you place an item on, take note. Consider the shelves and doors to be categories of your fridge, then place items into the categories they belong. The top shelf might be drinks and dairy, the second shelf might be leftovers and fruits, the bottom shelf might be vegetables and meats.
Step 2: Write a grocery list.
The mistake many grocery shoppers make is that they create lists based on cravings and what seems easiest to buy. The first items they write down might be quick snacks. Instead, refer to everything you put back into your fridge from cleaning it and think only about the food that is essential to a meal.
Your grocery list is going to be separate from your inventory list. Keep the inventory list on the outside of your refrigerator and continually update it as you take items out so that it always reflects what is inside. You want to bring your grocery list with you to the store then save it to reference next time.
Your priority with creating a grocery list is to come up with items that will complement what you have on your inventory list to create breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For example, when you clear out your fridge you might still have a jar of pickles left behind. When you create your grocery list, consider what kinds of meals go well with pickles. Bread, cheese, and turkey might come to mind as a simple lunch meal. For dinner, you might rather want burger patties and buns. These are great items to stock up on if you’d like to eat the same meal a few times, or if you’re hosting dinner with friends for a night.
Step 3: Organize your fridge efficiently.
Once you have only the essentials in your fridge to cook meals, the next step is to make it easy to organize. There are a few creative ways you can do this.
If you find that you have a lot of drinks that crowd your doors and shelves, such as craft beer, wine, or soda, you should consider picking out a beverage cooler.
In addition to freeing up space for your food, a separate space for your drinks can enhance their taste. Wine is meant to be kept separate from food with a strong odor, like meats and cheeses. These smells contaminate the bottle through the quark and alter the taste of the wine so that it can’t reach its peak. You may also have kids in the house that shouldn’t have access to your drinks, and the beverage cooler can have a lock on it.
Some foods are best stored next to each other, such as potatoes and apples. The apples produce ethylene that prevent the spuds from sprouting. It’s also a good idea to keep you milk on the top shelf away from the door where the temperature fluctuates the least, and meats on the bottom shelf so they don’t drip onto food below.
Plastic storage bins are convenient for labeling and placing on shelves. All your veggies can go in one bin, and all your fruits in another. These bins can be sub-categories on your inventory list too, such as if you have a shelf for dairy products and a bin for cheeses.
Investing in plastic containers that can stack will also save you a lot of space. When you cook a meal, you can always make a little extra to place in a container for tomorrow. A square one will fit nicely into your fridge and allow you to fit more around it.