How To Organise Your Hot Mess Refrigerator In 10 Steps

Clean and clutter-free

Quick question: Who else finds home organisation TikTok videos to be incredibly satisfying and sometimes even therapeutic to watch? If you’re fond of these types of content as well and wish to declutter your living space, why not start by organising your refrigerator?

Why you should organise your fridge

Storing and Organising Food In Fridge

An organised fridge, an organised life.

This icy ‘food vault’ is prone to mess, spills and may even become a hotbed of bacteria and cross-contamination if you fail to take care of it. Furthermore, studies have shown that living with clutter — be it in your bedroom or in your fridge — can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.

Hence, make time to organise your fridge to keep these issues at bay. This process of cleaning can even help improve your focus and mood too. With this, read on for a 10-step guide on how to organise your hot mess refrigerator.

1. Start with a clean slate

No shortcuts; no excuses. Remove everything — and we mean everything — from your fridge and give its interior a good scrub. Remove the trays where possible and clean them thoroughly as well.

Fridge organisation hack: Get rid of the icky grime feeling from your fridge by wiping those surface areas with warm, soapy water. Avoid using overly harsh cleansing detergents as they may damage the fridge.

2. Throw away expired products

Food products typically come with either of these food expiry labels: “use by” or “best before”. The former indicates that you mustn’t consume or use the product after its expiry date, while the latter suggests that you enjoy them before the stipulated date for optimum freshness and quality. Check through all of your food products and chuck accordingly.

Fridge organisation hack: Sort your food products according to their expiry date, so you should place the ones that need to be consumed the earliest at the front. This way, you’re reminded to use them every time you open the fridge.

3. Store your products temporarily in a cooler bag

You may take a while to sort through all of the items in your fridge. Hence, have a large cooler box by your side to keep the rest of the items cool in the meantime before they’re being placed back in the fridge.

Fridge organisation hack: Place larger items at the bottom of your cooler box, and smaller and more fragile items at the top. This way, you have better visibility of your items.

4. Organise your food by their categories

This sounds like a no-brainer, but this step is often overlooked and can result in cross-contamination when you don’t manage your food items properly. Separate your fruits from your vegetables and seal and store your raw meats. Avoid placing your eggs and milk cartons inside your fridge door too — shift them to the back where it’s the coldest.

Fridge organisation hack: As a general rule of thumb, place items that are prone to spillage (fish, poultry, raw meat) on the bottom shelf so that they do not drip onto the other foods. Meanwhile, cooked food should be placed at the top or middle shelf so you remember to consume them before they go bad.

5. Switch to clear food containers

Storing food in clear containers

Clear food containers give you more visibility over what you have in your fridge.

Colourful opaque containers may be fun to use, but clear food containers make it easier for you to identify the ingredients you need — or lack — with just a few quick glances.

Fridge organisation hack: Measure your different fridge compartments before purchasing your clear food containers. This ensures that the containers fit your fridge and can easily be shifted around to adapt to your needs.

6. Label your containers

Purchase sticker labels and paste them onto your containers. Label each container so that you have a clear overview of what you have on hand. No more ‘ploughing’ through every corner of the fridge just to find your favourite sauce!

Fridge organisation hack: Look for waterproof label stickers instead of conventional ones as the former holds up much better after you clean the containers. Opt for pre-labelled ones for convenience or write your own with plain ones using a marker.

7. Switch from plastic bags to reusable silicone food bags

Storing Food in Silicone Food Bags

Pack your loose food items into silicone food bags instead of disposable plastic bags.

When dealing with ad-hoc food items such as cut fruits or snacks that won’t need to be in the fridge for more than a few hours, remove them from disposable plastic bags and store them inside clear, reusable silicone food bags instead. It’s a kinder move for the planet and makes your fridge look less messy as well.

Fridge organisation hack: Purchase reusable silicone food bags in a variety of sizes to accommodate different types of foods. Look for ones that are microwave-safe too — this saves you a lot of time especially if you need to reheat the foods quickly before consuming them.

8. Stock up on fridge mats

From half-opened bottles to moisture from raw meats, minor spills are inevitable but there are ways to keep these in check. Stock up on washable mats or liners to keep your fridge clean and tiny.

Fridge organisation hack: Look for mats with tiny ‘grooves’ or bumps on them — these may be helpful in preventing your glass bottles and smaller sized drinks from falling over.

9. Place your condiments on a turntable

No matter how neatly you arrange your condiments, you may still have trouble finding the ones you need given the sheer amount of items you store inside your fridge. Pick up a turntable – also known as a ‘Lazy Susan’ storage rack — as it lets you reach for bottles at the back with a quick spin.

Fridge organisation hack: Place your smaller condiments closer to the front-facing you and place large bottles at the back.

10. Maintain a list of items that need more attention

While it’s tempting to have an “out of sight, out of mind” approach when it comes to storing food in your fridge, this poor habit can result in unnecessary food waste. Optimise your food product usage by checking your fridge regularly and writing down a list of items that need your attention. Stick this list onto your fridge’s door so you have more visibility on the items.

Fridge organisation hack: Use a magnetic whiteboard so that you can easily make changes to your list. Avoid using old receipts or pamphlets as these may pile up easily and make your fridge look more cluttered and messy.

Next, discover seven things that you can do everyday to improve your mental wellness.

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