The Good Dish How to Organize Your Fridge to Reduce Food Waste
We all know the feeling of finding a moldy, expired what-is-that item in the back of the fridge. By organizing your fridge, you’ll prevent food waste, which will make your weekly food budget stretch even further. When your fridge is organized, it can help keep the rest of your kitchen organized as well. Here are some simple ways to organize your fridge and reduce food waste.
1. Remove Everything
Empty your fridge completely. That’s every single thing — from the rogue ketchup packet to the half-empty pickle jar. Keep a trash bag nearby, and be sure to toss anything that’s expired or just sitting there — like the leftovers you brought home but still haven’t eaten. Chances are, your fridge is also in need of deep cleaning, so take advantage of the empty shelves and get scrubbing.
2. Create Zones and Categories
Group your items in broad categories (veggies, condiments, dairy, meats, drinks, etc.). This will ensure that all items have a “home,” which is crucial for maintaining an organized system. Once you’ve made your categories, look at your sparkling clean fridge and choose spaces for each category to live. Every category should have its own designated zone, and the items should be kept together at all times. Resist the urge to throw something in and “move it later.” Move it now!
We also suggest investing in clear, dishwasher-safe containers to store your items in. This allows everything to be seen and maximizes shelf space.
3. Label Everything!
Sure, it’s great to have everything in its own place, but how will you know what’s in every container? Even with clean containers, it might be hard to tell certain items apart.
Labeling might be the most important part of the entire organizing system because it not only helps you stay organized; it helps other people around you keep things organized. By identifying each item clearly, you’ll know exactly what to reach for, even if in the dark for a midnight snack.
You can start labeling with standard expiration dates, or label by the date you cooked it. If you’re a fan of meal prep, label by days of the week. Whatever your organizational preference, a clear labeling system will help to reduce food waste by reminding you to consume or donate before it expires.