Fridge Organization Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less!

Fridge Organization Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less!

Keep your perishable food and beverages in order with these easy tips.

By: Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I like to open my fridge to find nice, neat shelves stacked with eggs and lean protein, crisper drawers full of fresh, wrapped vegetables, and door racks holding up to 10 condiments, salad dressing bottles, and some kind of lemon or coconut seafood marinade.

But in reality, that scene rarely plays out. Usually, I open my fridge and find drinks on four different shelves, at least five expired or old salad dressing bottles, and produce that has no business being on the middle shelf of the fridge next to the eggs.

Here, professional organizers share five things you can do in five minutes or less to organize your fridge so it looks more like a lovely food destination:

1. Do a quick purge. Don’t have an hour to clean and rearrange your entire refrigerator? Take just five minutes and toss everything older than three days, suggests Annie Irvin, a professional organizer with The Occasional Wife in Atlanta, Georgia. And while you're at it, write the date on the lid of takeout foods. “Being conscious about dates is important,” says Irvin. Also, if you can get in a routine of cleaning out the fridge and purging old stuff, it makes the task shorter each time you do it, says professional organizer Barbara Reich, author of Secrets of an Organized Mom.

2. Put similar items in small plastic bins. Putting “like with like” is a top rule for professional organizers everywhere. When applying the rule to your fridge, try to keep separate areas for sauces, produce, beverages, and dressings. Even better: Take a few minutes to put some items into clear bins so they’re easier to spot. “Use clear bins to store snacks and smaller items, especially if your kids are going to run in and grab,” says Reich. “There are all kinds of clear bins you can purchase … from square boxes to containers designated for soda cans. Decide what you want to contain and how much room you have in your fridge and buy accordingly. I highly recommend anything that is small or clutters your fridge go in a container. This may include snacks like juice boxes, yogurt cups, and applesauce -- anything your kids will grab and run off with. Put those containers on the lower shelves so they can reach.”

3. Label each area of the fridge. You’ve already grouped like items together, but why not take your organization to the next level and write or type labels. “Label each area of the fridge so not only you know where things are, but your family does as well,” says Reich, who prefers using a label maker and heavy duty labels. “Use [any labeling system] that works for you -- you can print from your computer, use masking tape and a permanent marker -- anything that will show where things go. You can label broad categories so that there are dedicated areas of the fridge like fruit, drinks, dairy, or snacks. Or you can be more specific and actually label a place for everything -- milk, eggs, butter, meat. The system will depend on what you have in your fridge. Once it’s in place you'll need five minutes a week to go into the fridge to see what you need to stock up on.”

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4. Rearrange perishable items. Often times, busy parents just want to get groceries into the refrigerator, so they don’t think about placement and logical order. But just putting your fresh produce in the crisper so it stays fresher longer and taking your milk and putting it directly in the fridge (instead of the door rack) can help you keep expensive perishables fresher longer, says professional organizer Kari Laser of Los Angeles, California-based organization company Simply Organized by Kari Jane. The best part? It only takes about a minute to make the switch.

5. Store lunch fixings in one place. Does getting your kids’ lunches ready at night or in the morning feel like a mad scramble? If so, take a few minutes to box their lunch items together in food containers in the fridge or even just put them in the same section. This way, making their lunch and getting them off to school in the morning is less hectic. “If you do this, you don’t have to go searching for them when the time comes to make lunch,” says Robyn Reynolds, a professional organizer with Organize2Harmonize in Los Angeles, California. “You can even put them in fridge organizers. Keep all the dressings together, sandwich spreads together, veggies in the same bin, fruits with fruits, and so on.”

What are you doing to keep your fridge from getting out of hand?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a freelance writer and guitar teacher who lives with her husband and two young sons in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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