Most of us probably aren’t organising our fridge freezers properly. It’s just so easy to get in after doing the weekly shop and throw everything in without thought because we either have too many other things to do or because we just can’t be bothered.
But taking an extra few minutes once a week to organise can help to minimise food wastage, prevent accidental food poisoning and help you to save money whilst giving you an aesthetically pleasing fridge that makes cooking convenient.
Here, you should try and store your cooked foods - this includes chilled leftovers in food containers and any packages of sandwich and deli meats. Keeping your cooked foods on the top and far away from raw items helps to prevent cross-contamination.
A great way to prevent food smells from contaminating your fridge is by using glass food storage boxes. Not only does this help to make your fridge cleaner and more attractively structured to look at as boxes can be stacked, it also helps to keep like items together, making them easy to grab and go.
This shelf is the optimum place to store your dairy items as it’s the part of the fridge with the most consistent temperature. Even though it’s tempting to keep milk in the door for convenience, it’s best to store it on the middle shelf. The door is the warmest part of the fridge and has the most temperature fluctuation, which could affect your milk, so it can spoil far quicker.
Alternatively, you can decant your milk into a glass drinks dispenser, or if you prefer the portability of a carton, a drinks dispenser is a wonderful way to keep water, juice, lemonade, and more cool on warm days without packing your fridge with individual cans and bottles.
Along with your milk, you should store your yoghurts, hard cheese, and eggs here. However, if you’re lacking space on your middle shelf, soft cheeses can be kept in the door and eggs on your counter in an egg house.
As you probably already know, the bottom shelf should be reserved for raw meats and fish. This prevents any of the juices running and accidentally falling on to your cooked foods. The bottom part of the fridge is also the coldest, helping to keep your raw foods fresher for longer. For further protection, raw meats, especially open packets, can be stored in a high-sided container that's easy to clean and allows you to store other food items beside it.
Here we recommend that you store your fruits and vegetables. Being in the draw protects them from freezing on the back or bottom of your fridge and keeps them protected from smells, leaving you with veg that you can’t wait to cook with! For further organisation, you can even put certain fruits and veggies into separate containers (i.e, all your alliums together, your root veggies in another tub, squashes in another, and citrus fruits, etc.) This helps you to know where everything is and makes it easy for you to see what needs going on the shopping list.
A unique and convenient way to store your open condiments is by placing them on a lazy susan or turntable. Now you can simply turn the stand to find your mayo instead of moving your perfectly stacked items and rummaging to the back of the fridge.
It can be easy to chuck your leftovers into the freezer along with your normal frozen foods, but if you’re doing this regularly then you’re probably not utilising your freezer space.
Check what you have before you buy more to go in the freezer. It’s easy to forget what you already have when you don’t have an organisation system in place.
Start labelling your leftovers! Occasionally, when you freeze certain foods, like stews, soups, or stocks, they can look very similar which makes cooking and re-heating a lot harder. Labelling foods allows you to see what you have at a glance and stops you from cooking more than you need.
Freeze flat. By putting your leftovers into a freezer bag and storing it flat in the drawer, you're taking up as little space as possible, helping to keep your freezer looking neat and utilising the space so you can fit more in if needs be.
Use airtight containers that hold almost exactly all of your leftovers with little space remaining before the lid. This will help to reduce freezer burn as the cold air cannot penetrate the container as easily.
With these simple tips, some convenient storage boxes, and a little time to rifle through your fridge, you're sure to make the most of your fridge freezer.