4 steps to more order in your fridge
Is a packet of yoghurt, whose expiry date has long passed, vegetating in the back corner of your fridge? Do you constantly have to throw away vegetables because they spoil so quickly, and do you regularly lose your fridge food supply? It's high time to do a fridge cleanse. Avoid food waste, save money and redesign your fridge in just 4 steps!
1 - Basic cleaning of the refrigerator
The best time to tidy up your fridge is before your next shopping trip. Then it is usually quite empty and you can check exactly what food products are already in stock.
First of all, clean out all the products in the fridge, without exception. Make sure you know which products can be thrown out, for example because they are spoiled.
Now you also have the opportunity to clean your fridge from top to bottom. A hygienic fridge not only makes you feel better, it also prevents food from spoiling more quickly due to bacteria or unpleasant smells. Clean all drawers, shelves and compartments with warm water and washing up liquid. You can also wipe the door seals with a damp cloth and while doing so, vacuum the metal grille at the back of the unit and clean the condensation drain. To do this, we recommend switching off the fridge and unplugging it from the power supply. Is your fridge iced up in some places? You can then safely defrost the appliance by moving on to the next step.
2 - Divide the compartments by category
Now the organization begins! Before putting food back in its place, think about what categories and where you want to put it. Does the refrigerator have different cooling zones? Include this in your plan to keep all products fresh for as long as possible.
- Refrigerator door: One of the warmest places in the refrigerator is best for eggs, butter, prepared sauces, dips and drinks.
- Upper area: Heat rises to the top, as we all know. That's why you can store foods with a long shelf life here, such as pickles and jams. But there is also room for leftovers from the previous day, if you eat them quickly.
- Middle section: optimal temperature of 5° C and comfortable height are ideal for dairy products, open preserves and cured meats.
- Bottom section: the bottom of the refrigerator is the coldest, so fish and meat should be stored here. However, for hygienic reasons, always keep them separate from other foods.
- Vegetable compartment: as the name suggests, this is the best place to store vegetables. However, not all fruits and vegetables tolerate cold - exotic fruits and watery vegetables should not be stored in the refrigerator.
Food can also be organized by category, such as breakfast, snacks or products for frequent use. Most importantly, set up the refrigerator according to your own living conditions and needs - only you know what works best for you!
Storage boxes - longer shelf life and more order
You can use storage boxes so that the products in each category are not mixed up again after a day. This way the compartments are divided into smaller ones. What kind of boxes are best for this? It depends on what kind of food you want to store in them.
There are special containers for fruits and vegetables, in which they can be stored longer. This is because they filter ethylene gas, which is responsible for the ripening process, and ensure optimal humidity. Cheese and cured meats can be protected from drying out by using resealable boxes, and sealed foods are best stored in open boxes so they can be removed quickly. With all refrigerator containers, however, always make sure they are free of BPA and harmful substances - only then are they suitable for food storage. It's also helpful to choose a transparent material so the contents are immediately visible.
Tip if you want to get to the table quickly: store everything you need to prepare a delicious breakfast in a box. That way, you can take the cold cuts, cream cheese and jam out of the refrigerator at one time, and then put them away again later. You can do the same with barbecue sauces or snacks for children.
3 - Re-sort the food
Sort your food so that the older products don't disappear behind the newest ones and you don't forget about them. Put new foods in the back and those that are nearing their expiry date in the front. Another or additional option is to place in a separate compartment or container all products that have already been opened or must be eaten soon. The aim is to avoid wasting food, and therefore money, as much as possible.
Do you live with your family, with your partner or in a shared flat? So that the rest of the household can also find everything in the fridge and sort it out accordingly, you can label boxes and compartments with category names.
4 - Check your refrigerator regularly
Humans are made of habit - you or other household members will not always take care to put everything in the refrigerator correctly and according to the new conditions. Therefore, once a week, take 5 minutes, such as before you go shopping, to put everything in order. This will also let you know what products you no longer need to buy, so you won't have too much in the fridge.
You should also clean the inside of your refrigerator once a month to prevent the spread of germs. If you store food in different boxes, it's especially easy to take them out every so often to clean the fridge.