Organizing your fridge can feel like a chore but a neat refrigerator has so many benefits, plus it is aesthetically pleasing. Benefits of an organized fridge include saving you time (no more hunting for the hot sauce) and money (produce won’t lurk in the back past its expiration date) and helping you establish healthier eating habits. Here are five great reasons why you should keep those refrigerator shelves neat, plus how to maintain an organized fridge.
An Organized Fridge Saves Time
“Not being able to find what you need is like the ultimate time suck,” says Erin Steele, a professional organizer and owner of Joyful Tidying in Haddon Township, New Jersey. Having an organized fridge will make it easier for you to find items quickly. Plus, if your food is visible, it’s quicker for you to take stock of what you have so you don’t get half-way through a recipe before realizing you’re out of some key ingredients and need to run to the store.
To organize your fridge, Steele recommends purchasing clear bins. Designed with dividers, the bins allow you to better organize your items by food type (cheese on one side, deli meat on the other). Stacking the bins helps maximize space or you can use shelf risers that come with five adjustable heights so you can make the most of vertical space (bonus: shelf risers let you see behind items and into the depths of the fridge).
Next, create zones for dairy, drinks, meats, fruits and veggies. Remove the original packaging (if any) to save space and place corresponding items in each zone.
An Organized Fridge Helps With Cleaning
When food items are grouped together and placed in bins, it’s much easier to just lift the bin out, remove items, clean the bins and then place the reloaded bins back in the fridge. Steele prefers bins with handles since it’s easier to remove them from the fridge.
An Organized Fridge Saves Money
Saving money isn’t usually something people think of when they’re organizing their fridges, but consider that keeping the refrigerator door open uses 40% more energy than when it’s closed, according to research in the Journal of Applied Sciences. The longer you’re searching for food items in your fridge, the more energy you waste and money it costs.
Meanwhile, knowing what you have prevents you from buying duplicate items and having the excess spoil. Food waste is a big problem in the United States, with an estimated one pound of food per person wasted daily.
An Organized Fridge Helps Create Healthier Habits
By placing fruits and vegetables at eye level, you’re more likely to reach for an apple as opposed to a candy bar. If you see that freshly made salad, you’ll probably have it for lunch. Organize your fridge to put produce front and center and you’ll help create healthier eating habits.
An Organized Fridge Makes Meal Prepping a Breeze
When you know exactly what you have in your refrigerator (those clear containers make it easy to see everything), pulling together a meal is a breeze. An organized fridge door takes the guesswork out of which condiments you have on hand as you plan the family dinner. Pasta dishes are easy when you know there’s chicken and sauce at the ready.
How to Maintain an Organized Fridge
After you’ve organized your fridge, make an effort to keep it that way. The best time to take stock of your fridge organization is “the same day you go grocery shopping,” says Steele. As you restock items, follow the zone system you’ve already set up to make sure each one goes into its proper container, bin or shelf.
Now that you know the benefits of maintaining an organized refrigerator, take a look at the best way to organize your leftovers so they don’t go bad, sort your kitchen drawers and organize your pantry.