Looking for refrigerator organization solutions that won't clutter up your space? Here's what this busy mom of four uses to keep eggs, produce, snacks and canned drinks in order.
I'm so excited to tell you all about our sponsor, Spectrum Diversified Designs, and their clever HEXA™ refrigerator organization products! We've already talked previously about kitchen sink organization, medicine cabinet organization and even created a printable checklist of kitchen organization tips to help you make the most of your space. Now, it's time to get serious with the refrigerator.
The kitchen's most valuable storage area deserves the most well thought-out and purposeful design. As a meal-planning family, I've found that clear storage solutions are essential for simplifying my daily tasks. I used to order a ton of stuff in bulk – thinking that would save me money – and then try to dig through it later to figure out meal solutions based on what I had. Lots went to waste because I simply couldn't see it all.
Now, I do the opposite. I still shop in bulk for the pantry and frozen goods. To improve refrigerator organization, though, I order small weekly deliveries of fruit and vegetables that I immediately distribute into HEXA in-fridge organizers from Spectrum. I order from a local service that tends to just shove all the fruit and vegetables in a box, CSA-style, so it's really helpful to have a place ready to put them.
Getting exactly the amount I need in smaller amounts definitely minimizes food waste for our family. That's one of our big home organizer hacks that goes against a lot of conventional advice I've seen. Everyone encourages larger stock-up trips to decrease time spent at the store. With ease of delivery nowadays, though, it's easy to pare down your groceries shopping list to precisely what you need, right when you need it.
These have been SO key to making my kitchen a relaxing place for me to be. When I open my refrigerator, I have all the meat laid out on one side. It's kept in packages straight from the butcher, directly on the refrigerator shelf surface so I can easily wipe it clean in-between shopping trips. On the other side, my produce gets divvied up between my stylish HEXA bins.
Without plastic wrapped tightly around each individual item and trapping moisture in pockets, the fruit and vegetables last longer. The hexagon pattern at the base of the tray keeps air flow going around to keep food fresh longer. The bins are slender and stackable, dishwasher safe, and can even be labeled with dry erase markers!
The bottom of the bins have ridges, so there generally aren't any juices or crumbs that fester like when I used to put fruit and vegetables in containers directly on the refrigerator shelves. Still, I like to pull all the bins out, wipe where they normally sit and run them through the dishwasher each week. If there are any contents remaining, I whip up a quick snack with it all.
With a clear space, it's meal-planning time! I start with the bulk foods from our pantry, then see what meat is on sale at nearby stores, and customize my produce delivery order based on what will best round out my meals.
HEXA has an awesome wipes container that I keep on the kitchen table for easy access to wipes during my refrigerator cleanup. I also keep paper towels on a magnetic rack attached to the side of the refrigerator so they're always within reach. These two home edits have saved me a ton of time searching around the kitchen! It's also been helpful in getting the kids more engaged in cleaning, since everything they need is readily accessible without the need to search.
Plan Snacks, Too
If I don't plan snacks and little treats for myself ahead of time, I wind up eating all the ingredients for my meals and messing up my meal plan. I've found that when I'm feeling snack-ish, my body is usually asking for protein or for a drink. I use HEXA containers to corral hard-boiled eggs and my go-to sparkling water.
Having those items front-and-center every time I open the refrigerator means I'm less likely to go rifling through everything else. It saves me time, and keeps me from snacking on less-healthy options.
Customize your Refrigerator Even Further
We've had apartment refrigerators in the past that did an awful job of keeping produce fresh for any amount of time. Now that we're on our own, we research very carefully when buying refrigerators and specifically look for reviews that state that they're good at helping food last longer. The vast difference we've found between brands has been astonishing!
That initial step is crucial in having a well-organized refrigerator that can properly support a family. I've seen other food storage advice like keeping leftovers on the top shelf, deli meats in the middle and fruits and veggies on the bottom shelf. Since buying quality refrigerators, however, we don't follow any particular pattern like that.
I think one of the primary reasons that our produce is able to last so long is that we keep a lot of fruit out on the counter. Things that produce a lot of ethylene gas (like bananas, pears, apples, and avocados) don't go in the refrigerator at our house. They're left on the counter, where they'll be eaten more quickly and their off-gassing won't be as likely to negatively impact other fruits and vegetables.
We reserve the refrigerator for non-ethylene-producing fruit and vegetables that tend to spoil quickly, like strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and cucumbers. Even on the counter, we're careful to keep bananas away from soft-skinned fruit like peaches and pears.
In the refrigerator, I keep a small container of baking soda tucked in the door to soak up any yucky smells that manage to form from spills or leaving items in there too long. I also use a refrigerator ionizer that claims to help reduce bacteria within the refrigerator. I store salad dressing in the door, checking expiration dates often since I've found that to be our most often-spoiling item.
Finally, if you have a large fridge with corners and shelves that are overwhelming to navigate, it can be a huge help to use a lazy susan to gather oft-used sauces! I really like that theirs has that familiar hexagon shape, and it does a hexagon-style up and down design around the rim to make it easy to grab items. This product is particularly awesome if you like to use a lot of small quantities of different foods in recipes, and want to slice-and-dice them in advance. Stash them in little containers, set them beside your large HEXA plastic storage solutions, and you've got a grab-and-go meal solution.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you on top of refrigerator organization? Got any tips to share with us?