Meal prep can feel like a scramble if the fridge is a mess. Here’s how to make your appliance work harder, smarter, and better.
LABEL DOOR SHELVING: It’s easy to stick condiments wherever there’s space, but making, and following, a plan for each door shelf is more efficient. Designate and label a top-right door shelf for sweeter condiments such as jams, for example, and a lower one for salad dressings and marinades.
CREATE A KID ZONE: Foster independence in younger children: Designate a portion of a bottom or low shelf as a kid zone and stock it with healthy munchables. Try ready-to-eat fruit, cheese sticks, and yogurt.
PREP THE PRODUCE: Before you refrigerate vegetables and fruits, prep them. Need a snack or want to make a salad? Chop up bite-size pieces, stash in mini containers, and eat or mix together as you please. Plans for stir fry? Assemble the building blocks before you open the fridge door.
KNOW YOUR TEMPS: Drawers are designed to help your food last longer — higher humidity for vegetables, lower humidity for fruit. Meat likes it cold, so store it in the back. Cheese, cold cuts, and hot dogs should be in the shallow middle drawer, which stays cool even when the fridge door is opened and closed frequently.
STASH LEFTOVERS AT EYE LEVEL: Finding last week’s (or last month’s) pizza in the back of the fridge is never fun. Stick anything that needs to be eaten right away on the middle shelf toward the front and label it so you know when it needs to be eaten.
SKIP THE FRIDGE: Not all produce is best when refrigerated. Avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, and bananas should be stored at room temperature. Some things, such as bread, can be placed in the freezer if you need the room.
ARRANGE BY HEIGHT: Too organized? It’s not possible for your fridge. For example, as you group dressings on that labelled shelf, tuck the tall jars in the back.
INVEST IN STACKABLES: They’re cute and clever: Stackable storage containers not only help with visual zen, they take advantage of shelf height for your fridge’s benefit. Use a label maker to record the type of food and storage date on each.
ADD BINS: Do you do a daily battle with half-empty containers on shelves? Put easy-to-pull-out plastic bins to work to help minimize rummaging. Create an “eat-me-first” bin or label one for healthy breakfast options to reduce clutter and make smaller items easier to find.
ADJUST THOSE SHELVES: Your fridge designer created adjustable shelves for a reason: You may have to cool a pitcher of iced tea on summer days, and your shelves can move to help. Shelves also make it easier to put away bulkier items.