It’s common to experience an ongoing fridge battle between new groceries and available fridge space.
Having enough space in a fridge is valuable, especially if it’s not possible to upgrade to a larger one.
Thankfully, there are solutions to your fridge madness, and it’s all about maximizing every square inch.
Keep calm and carry on by following these five tips to double your fridge space.
1. Organization is essential
There are many ways to organize your groceries. Keeping things in order will help eliminate some of your fridge frustrations.
Here are a few ways to keep everything organized:
Label and date everything
It may seem tedious, but by taking the time to do label and date every item will open up a lot more room. You’ll no longer have to guess when something has gone off or try to unbury expired items.
This is especially essential for meal leftovers because no one wants to eat bad food. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping leftovers for no more than 3-4 days.
Put dividers in bottom drawers
Bottom drawers tend to be a place to put random groceries, and not only do they get buried, but you forget what’s in there. To make better use of the drawers, try adding a divider.
Dividers make it much easier to arrange food items.
If you want to take organizing everything one step further, color code things that are alike.
For example, put a red sticker on meat, green on produce, and blue on fish or get containers in different colors.
2. Give meal planning a shot
Even if you aren’t a planner, that doesn’t mean you can’t start now.
Put together a calendar with weekly meals, and you’ll know what ingredients are you have and which ones are missing.
Try to always plan meals one week in advance.
When it’s time to go shopping, take a list of the ingredients you need. If there are other items you’re tempted to buy, but there isn’t enough room at home, leave them for the time being.
Only fill the fridge with food you plan to use for meals for one week.
Using this technique will help cut back on the clutter. Plus, having a meal plan in place will help you snack less, create a meal routine, and spend less money.
Only shopping for what you’ll use — and following through with that plan — has serious benefits!
See? There are many benefits to planning and cooking your own meals!
3. Always look for ways to implement more storage
Here are a few techniques to apply that should help improve fridge space ASAP:
Try sliding bins
If you find you’re jamming groceries in the corners of the fridge, you’ll have a hard time finding them later.
Buy deep bins you can slide in and out of your refrigerator to solve this problem. Try to find containers with handles to make what you need even more accessible.
When gathering supplies for your next meal, it’ll be easy to pull out the bin and find what you need right away.
Create a bonus shelf
Storing tall items, like milk, in an upright position is typical – even in a small fridge. But that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it.
Instead, to increase space, lay tall items on their side on the middle shelf. Use a purchased cabinet organizer shelf and use it to create an extra shelf in the fridge space you just created.
Only do this for things you don’t use very often. Also, for juice and other drinks, make sure the lids are on tight to avoid any spilling.
Give a lazy Susan a spin
Condiments are easy to lose sight of in a fridge. A lazy Susan is an excellent solution that maximizes shelf space on a rotating circular tray. Use it to store jars of food or condiments within easy reach.
Create a section for expiring food
Unless you are good at planning out daily meals at the beginning of the week, it’s hard to know which items you should eat right away. If there are leftovers that are going bad, label and put them in an “eat me” section in your fridge.
For example, if you’re aware there’s some leftover soup to eat that day or the next put it in that area.
Expiring condiments can also go in this section; however, to avoid confusion, you might want to create a separate spot for them. Not only will this technique make room for other groceries, but it will also save you money.
4. Avoid duplicates
If you can’t remember what’s floating around in your fridge, take everything out.
Next line everything up on the counter. You’ll be surprised at how many condiments you have!
Keep the items that aren’t expired in the fridge and use what’s going to expire first. If some foods don’t require refrigeration put them on a shelf in your kitchen until you need them.
5. Don’t forget about the freezer
Depending on what you eat, the freezer is either filled to the brim or only has a few ice cube trays. Just like the fridge, if you don’t use the food that’s going to expire, it’s only going to accumulate.
Even though food in the freezer can last up to 3 months, it’s easy to lose track of what’s in there.
Use the freezer to hold extra items
To prevent a pile up, treat the freezer just like you treat the fridge. Use what’s going to expire first and get rid of what should have been tossed out long ago.
After freeing up space in the freezer (unless it’s bare already), put overflow items from the fridge in there.
For example, if you bought too much broccoli, you can freeze it. However, just because the freezer is at your disposal doesn’t mean you should buy ten bags of frozen fruit because it’s on sale.
Dump frozen food boxes ASAP
Buying frozen food at the store is convenient, but too many boxes can take over the freezer.
You may notice there’s tons of space inside a frozen food box. Leave some spots open for other items by ditching the boxes and only keeping the wrapped food.
Some items, like pizza pockets or waffles, aren’t individually wrapped. In cases like that, store them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. A freezer bag will take up far less room.
Use a permanent marker to label the resealable zipper storage bags with what’s inside. If there are any cooking instructions you’d like to save, cut them out and tape them to the outside of the bag.
Follow this rule, and storing other frozen foods won’t be a problem.
In conclusion, don’t treat your fridge like a closet for food.
Use it to store the essentials such as meats, condiments, snacks, and leftovers.
Put things in the right place, toss what’s expired, label the rest, and plan inventive ways to make use of leftovers.
An organized fridge will save money, time, and the frustration of trying to find buried items.
Implement these techniques, and in no time you’ll be wasting less food and finding you have more money in the bank!
After your major fridge revamp, you’ll be able to locate what you need in record speed!
Now, what’s for dinner?