Your Refrigerator – 5 Tips on Keeping it Low Maintenance while Keeping it Organized
By : V. Tam
Did you know that your refrigerator can be home to a few unwanted organisms if not kept clean? Every household has at least one or more refrigerators. We open it a countless number of times in a day. It is important to keep it clean, tidy and organized to avoid cross-contamination and maximize the use of the "foods" inside before their expiration date.
It's good to do a clean-up quarterly. Check and throw out any expired BBQ sauce, salad dressings, condiments, freezer burned meat, etc..
To prevent food-to-food cross contamination:
- store raw foods that is likely to drip on the lower shelf in a drip proof container
- store cooked food on the middle or higher shelves
- store food that is ready to eat on the highest shelf
- cover or wrap foods
It is also important to wash, rinse and sanitize your fridge. In order to do this in natural ways without the use of harsh chemicals and abrasives, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water to sanitize with. Dry and then use 1/4 cup baking soda with 4 cups of water to wash with. To prevent odors you can use coffee grinds in a small container or bowl. They will absorb the odour so you can keep it in your fridge overnight or daily if needed.
If you're finding that things don't get seen and they expire before you get a chance to use them or that you're not maximizing the space in your fridge, here are some tips that can help:
#1 Many places like Kitchen Stuff Plus and even your Local Grocery Superstore, Wal-Mart and others have fantastic fridge organizers that allow you stack things making it easy to see and access your food and condiments. See the photo below.
#2 Even simple things like putting a small lazy Susan in your fridge and a couple of Dollar Store containers may make all the difference. It may be time consuming in the beginning but once you have a system in place, it will take no time at all to keep it maintained. See photo below.
#3 Having a Sharpie Marker nearby to label when you opened cartons or bottles are good identifiers of how fresh an item might be. You can write the date you opened it on, on the bottle lid or carton itself so that you and your family members can quickly identify when it was opened.
#4 You can use a China Pencil to label plastic lids of left overs to ensure that they're eaten in a timely manner.
#5 Having a Boogie Board or some kind of White Board that is on the fridge can remind you of things that need to be eaten or things that are expiring soon. We actually use a dry erase marker directly on our fridge door for this (if you're gonna do this, make sure to try out a test spot - try only at your discretion). For those who love technology, there are a number of apps that can keep track of expiration dates. Here are some that have received good review ratings: Best Before, ExpiSave, Best Before (Shelf Life).
Freezer cleaning is another story. Just like the fridge, you want to be able to access what you need in a timely manner. Keeping a system for this on your dry-erase board is good as well as you'll know exactly what's in there and when to use it before it goes bad. Organizing things such as meats on one side, frozen vegetables and fruits on another and ice cream or frozen desserts in another section will make it easy to find what your looking for.
We hoped you will be able to utilize some of the recommended tips when cleaning, organizing and maintaining your fridge.
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