The holiday season is all about festive fun, good cheer. and a whole lot of food. Between the makings of your family’s holiday feasts and the plethora of delicious gifts you’re destined to receive, your fridge is going to be more than a little crammed. Overstuffed Fridge Syndrome can lead to all sorts of food-related tragedies: spoiled forgotten food, messes in hard to reach places and – most heartbreakingly – dislodged jars of condiments in pieces on the kitchen floor. Thankfully, with a little forethought and some savvy organizing, you can make an overstuffed fridge work for you instead of against you. Here are our top 7 tips to organize your fridge this holiday season (or any time of year, really)…
7 Tips to Organize Your Fridge
1. START WITH A CLEAN SLATE:
Before you even write your holiday grocery list, clean out your fridge. Take everything out, clean every nook and cranny, and throw away anything that’s gone fuzzy. You probably won’t have an opportunity to do this again until sometime in mid-January, so be ruthless.
2. ANTICIPATE MESSES:
Messes happen, particularly when your fridge is stuffed. Attempting to clean a crowded fridge is an exercise in insanity, so anticipate the inevitable with a little preemptive cleaning. Line bins with paper towel to catch drips, double bag meats and store them on the bottom shelf, and keep sticky jams and syrups in removable bins for easy cleaning. If you encounter a spill, spot clean it with a sponge and a little baking soda; it will tackle the mess and freshen the fridge at the same time.
3. DON’T WASTE PRECIOUS FRIDGE SPACE ON SHELF STABLE ITEMS:
We love a cold can of pop as much as the next person. But when the fridge is fit to burst with holiday goodness, cans of cola (and beer) are better left in the pantry. You can still have a refreshing glass of your favourite pop, provided you add plenty of ice. Or keep a cooler in the garage or outside to keep drinks and other items cool that would be undesirable for your local urban creatures.
4. MOVE LEFTOVERS TO THE FRONT:
Leftovers are apart of the holiday experience, but they can overwhelm an already-stuffed fridge. All too often, a perfectly good serving of mashed potatoes or green bean casserole goes to waste because they get buried and sadly forgotten. Organize your fridge and move leftovers front and centre, so they are an easy choice for those in pursuit of a midnight snack.
5. STACK IT:
Every inch counts when your fridge is groaning with food, so it’s best to invest in stackable containers. Clear square containers are great not only because they’re stackable, but because they also give you a clear view of what they contain. You won’t have to take lengthy scans of the fridge if your inventory is easy to see. Not only will this make compiling grocery lists easier, it’ll also save you money on your energy bill.
6. ALWAYS LABEL:
Clear storage containers provide you with a good look at the leftovers you have on hand, but when you’re staring at a serving of stuffing, dating back to who knows when, a little clarity would be nice. No one likes wasting food, but food poisoning is not something you want to tango with. Simply by recording the time each container was packed you can have piece of mind about either digging in or chucking out.
7. DON’T OVERPACK:
This may be an impossible request – particularly when your fridge is housing a 15-pound turkey – but, if you can, try to leave a little space between items. When a fridge is too full it limits the flow of cool air. This results in lower efficiency, higher energy bills, and increased bacteria growth. If your fridge is consistently jam-packed it might be time to consider a roomier model or consider adding a separate freezer to the family. If these suggestions aren’t feasible, make smaller, more frequent trips to the grocery store, enlist the help of coolers or – if the weather cooperates – snow. No one is going to complain about fishing a frosty beer out of a snowdrift.