by Susan McCarthy
Your refrigerator may be the most often visited spot in your home so regular decluttering is a must. You can also clean and organize your refrigerator to help support your health goals.
For the many times that we go into the refrigerator during the day, have you considered using this space to support your goals? If you want to save money, you can make certain food gets eaten – and you can even skip the meal services by taking time to prep your own meals.
And if you want to eat more healthfully, you can place the foods you want to consume in a space more obvious than the crisper drawers. (Also, put food you want to eat in clear containers; wrap in foil or use opaque containers for things you don’t want to be tempted by. (Still, label those containers.)
A great time to set up systems to encourage these habits is when you declutter and organize the refrigerator.
Fridge Decluttering and Organizating Tips
You can declutter your refrigerator in a couple of ways, depending on how much time you have. If you’ve been putting off cleaning your fridge thinking that you need to find an hour or two for this task, there is another option.
All at once – When we think of cleaning the refrigerator, this is what we tend to think of – pulling out everything all at once, scrubbing all the shelves, and returning what’s still good. This method can take an hour or more, particularly if you include pulling the fridge away from the wall to clean around, on top of, and behind the appliance.
The benefits to this method include completing the task but also getting a comprehensive view of what’s in your fridge. This could help you notice that leftovers are getting shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten.
The Minimal Mess Method – If you want to sneak in some decluttering without a big-time commitment, this method encourages you to work on one shelf or drawer in the refrigerator during each cleaning session. And if one shelf is too much, do half.
If you don’t want to clean a single shelf and then forget that you were cleaning the fridge, plan when you’ll do this work. You could tie decluttering the refrigerator to another task, like cleaning up after dinner or while the coffee is brewing in the morning.
If you’re hoping to reorganize the contents of your fridge, focus on decluttering first so you’re dealing with less stuff. Also, while you are cleaning out the fridge, use the time to think about how you’d like to organize things. Reorganizing can become its own session.
How to Declutter a Refrigerator
Whether you are using the ‘all at once method’ or the Minimal Mess Method, you’ll engage in the same steps. You may want to plan this task right before trash day so any food items can get taken away without smelling up your house or attracting wild animals to your trash.
Keep a Tidy Fridge
Wouldn’t it be great if refrigerators were wider and shallower? They’d take up more space in the room, but things wouldn’t get forgotten behind four layers of stuff. Alas, everything can’t go up front, so consider what gets used all the time and what you want to remember to eat.
Food items that get used all the time should be positioned up front, so they are easy to see, retrieve, and return. If items don’t get returned in a convenient location, they may get forgotten.
If you want to eat more vegetables, then storing them in the crisper drawer may put them out of sight and out of mind. But a head of lettuce sitting on a shelf might be obvious, but not convenient when it comes to taking a salad for lunch. Consider if working food prep into your schedule would help you eat more of the foods you want to consume. (Another option is to spend more money on cut vegetables to save time.)
Do you need coordinated food storage containers or gadgets that will organize your yogurt containers? Only if it will make it easier for you to retrieve and return (or put) items in the fridge. If your yogurt containers fall over and end up rolling about the fridge, then something to keep them together and organized could be useful; but don’t try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
Label leftovers with the identity of the item and the date it is going into the fridge. This takes seconds to do and saves you the hassle of wondering if something is safe to eat.
Is There a Best Way to Organize Your Refrigerator?
There’s no one-size-fits-all system for organizing your refrigerator. What looks cute on Pinterest could be unnecessary for your household. And remember that repackaging food and using a label maker might be photogenic, but is it really something that you’re ready to do more than once?
Tired of taking one step forward and two steps back while decluttering? Learn why the clutter comes back and what you can do about it with the FREE guide, 9 Reasons the Clutter Keeps Coming Back.
Hi, I'm Susan
My mission is to help you learn what decluttering can add to your life. Find out more about what I do here.