10 Steps to an Organized Fridge: Reducing Waste and Saving Money
A well-organized fridge is not just visually appealing; it also plays a crucial role in reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions and adding up considerable cost savings. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about one-third of the food produced worldwide goes to waste, contributing significantly to carbon emissions. By taking steps to keep your fridge organized, you can make a positive impact on the environment and your wallet. See below for all linked items, I may make a small commission from your purchase.
Clean It Out Regularly: This might go without saying, but start your journey to an organized fridge by emptying it out completely and giving it a good cleaning. Remove expired or spoiled items and wipe down shelves and drawers. This not only ensures food safety but also helps you see what you have.
Categorize Your Items: Group similar items together to create categories. For example, place dairy products in one section, vegetables in another, and condiments in another. This makes it easier to find what you need quickly and sets limits on the amount of one category that you can own.
Utilize Clear Containers: Invest in clear storage containers (all links below). This truly is where the magic happens. Transparent containers allow you to see what you own and as mentioned above, you can use them to set boundaries, preventing overbuying of a particular category. You'll find the containers make cleaning much easier, the ability to remove one section at a time and wash it is a game changer.
Avoid Bulk Shopping: Bulk shopping has a place, provided you'll actually use all of the item. Let's be real though, do you truly need a gallon sized jar of mayo? In my experience, the savings doesn't amount to much when the unused ends up in a landfill. Shop bulk intentionally!
Create a Leftover Zone: One of the most critical aspects of an organized fridge is the leftover zone. Designate a specific shelf or drawer for leftovers. Label containers with the date to track freshness and ensure you use them before they go bad. This reduces food waste and saves money. In our home, we have a leftover drawer. When the drawer starts to get full, it's time for leftover night.
Prioritize FIFO: Implement the "First In, First Out" (FIFO) system by placing newly purchased or cooked items behind older ones. This ensures you use the oldest items first, reducing the likelihood of food spoilage.
Prep Food: Consider prepping food. Prepped food leads to less waste and studies show that what you see at eye level is what you eat the most so think remade salads and prepped veggies!
Limit the Amount of Condiments: Setting limits is a critical part of staying organized. I've found that the more condiments a clients owns, salad dressings especially, the less likely their system is to succeed. Pick a reasonable amount based on your space and don't add more until one is finished.
Label and Date: Labeling and dating your food containers is essential for staying organized. Use labels and markers to clearly indicate the contents and the date when you stored them.
Regularly Review and Rotate: Make it a habit to review your fridge's contents regularly, ideally before your weekly grocery shopping. Remove any expired or unused items, and rotate older items to the front for easier access.
An organized fridge offers numerous benefits beyond just cleanliness and cost savings. It significantly contributes to reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions. When you know what's in your fridge and where to find it, you're less likely to forget about items that may spoil, leading to less food waste. By following these ten steps, especially the importance of a leftover zone, you'll not only save money but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. An organized fridge is not just about cleanliness; it's about making a difference in the world, one shelf at a time.