Keeping your fridge organised makes life more efficient, helps prevent food waste and is safer too. Here’s our guide on how to store food in the fridge – follow these few simple rules to achieve organisational mastery.
First steps to organising your fridge
- It’s a good idea to give your fridge a deep clean before you reorganise. Remove everything from the fridge. Take out all the shelves and drawers (top tip: take a picture first so you can remember how it all goes back together). Then wash in the sink with hot soapy water.
- To help with future cleaning, line with plastic placemats or shelf liners, which are super-easy to peel off and wash.
- Before you put everything back, sort through what you have, paying particular attention to out-of-date items and duplicates. Look for anything that can be consolidated.
- Consider whether it needs to be in the fridge at all. Bananas, apples and oranges are better in a bowl on the kitchen table, while potatoes and onions do better in a cupboard. To find out what foods are safe to freeze, explore some freezing basics here.
Clever ways of storing food in the fridge
- Plastic baskets or see-through stackable containers are a great way to keep everything in its place. Store like with like – for example put all the condiments or dairy items together.
- Try raiding your office supplies. Plastic magazine holders can be repurposed as storage for small and loose items such as yoghurts and fruit juice cartons. Use bulldog clips to hang bags from wire shelving, while drawer dividers can be used to separate salad ingredients in the crisper drawers.
- Remove cardboard packaging from the likes of yoghurts and canned drinks so that the items are easier to find and access – not to mention your fridge will feel less cluttered all round.
- Make labels for your containers and for the sections in the fridge door so you can find things easily. Do the same with leftovers but add the date as well (if you do end up having to throw out some food, check out these food recycling tips and tricks). You can find labels to print online – or if you’re really dedicated invest in a label maker.
How to store food safely
- Check the temperature. You want your fridge to be between 0oC-4oC to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Fridge thermostats aren’t always accurate, so if you suspect yours is off, use a thermometer to double-check.
- Fridges have zones that are typically at different temperatures. The door is usually the warmest part and should be used for those things with longer shelf lives, such as condiments.
- To prevent cross-contamination, cooked foods should be kept on the upper shelves and more at-risk foods such as raw meat and fish at the bottom (which is also usually the coolest part). If uncooked meat must go on a higher shelf, make sure to pop it on a plate to stop it dripping onto to any prepared food below.