Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kitchen/Pantry Organization - Inside the Refrigerator

How is your refrigerator organized? A better question might be: Is your refrigerator organized? Some refrigerators are almost empty, which makes it very easy to see what is inside; some are so crowded, food gets lost behind other foods, bottles, jars, etc., and is not found until it has already gone bad. 

Source: Might want to remain anonymous, but it is not mine.

Just like I wrote about in a post about kitchen organizationhaving zones is significant in the refrigerator also.

  • Fresh produce should be in the crisper drawers provided for them; this is especially significant if your drawers’ humidity levels can be set for vegetables and fruit. 
  • The deli meats and cheese should be kept in the drawer designed for that purpose, too.
  • While the butter holder is in the door, other dairy should not be stored there. The door is exposed to the warmth of the kitchen when it is opened. For this reason, it is better to keep non-dairy items, like soft drinks, water, and condiments, there. 
Source: The Container Store
  • Many models have an egg holder on the door, but they should be stored in the interior to keep them cold.
  • When leftovers are covered, it is sometimes difficult to know what is inside a plastic container. Be sure to label them with the contents and the date. Try to use leftovers up within three days; freeze them if it will be longer.
  • For a chart of refrigeration times, visit
Remember that heat rises, even in a refrigerator, so the items that you want to keep the coldest, like milk, should be on a low shelf. The placement may also be dependent on ease of use. I have a bad back, so bending over to pick up a heavy milk carton is not ideal for me. When I needed a new refrigerator, I purchased a freezer-on-the-bottom model making it easy for me to keep milk on the bottom shelf. 

  • The freezer compartment of older refrigerators need to be defrosted periodically. They work more efficiently if they are full of food, not frost that can cause freezer burn.
  • Newer refrigerator-freezers are frost-free, so build up is not an issue. However, the very thing that keeps the frost away sucks moisture from the food inside. For this reason, all foods that are uncovered lose moisture and cause the mechanism to work hard. Therefore, keeping contents covered is vital.
  • In the freezer, keeping like items together makes it easier to inventory the contents before a shopping trip. 
  • If possible, store vegetables in a pull-out bin to keep them all together; the same goes with fruits. 
  • Date freezer contents with a “use by” date. The chart below is from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).