Tuesday, January 10, 2012

21 Days to a More Organized Home: Day 7

Welcome back! How did managing your magazine clutter go? Are you still working on it? I am. I have 2 more magazines to rifle through before placing them in a binder. I should be done with it tonight and I will share my binder with everyone tomorrow. Trust me, its not going to be anything outrageously amazing. Haha!

On to day 7 of the challenge! I can't believe its been a week already!

DAY 7: Attacking your Fridge


This can be a huge problem area for many people if you don't stay on top of general care for your refrigerator. Same goes for the freezer, but we'll talk about that tomorrow. One step at a time!

The first thing you need to do is pull EVERYTHING out of your fridge. Toss all old food, condiments, empty containers, and anything you know your family isn't going to eat or use within the next couple of months. I know that last part sounds crazy, but we had miso paste in our fridge for almost a year and only used it once. I decided we will never use it again and since it is taking up valuable space and therefore acting as clutter, I decided to toss it. I do this every two weeks when I bring home new groceries. This allows me to free up valuable space and keep my fridge from being cluttered. No one likes a cluttered fridge.

Next, wipe down all the surfaces with a disinfectant. Make sure it is food safe though. You should clean out your fridge every 3 months to prevent viruses and bacteria from congregating in your food. Just because its cold doesn't mean there are nasty germs in there.

After cleaning your fridge, organize like the pros. Professional kitchens organize their fridges with food safety in mind, this means according to the food's cooking temperature.

Starting at the top, you will find prepared foods that are either served cold or will be reheated. Next, whole cuts of meat, then ground meats, and finally poultry at the bottom. Each shelf of food is cooked at a progressively higher temperature so if cross contamination occurs, it is taken care of during the cooking process.

You can adapt this same idea to your fridge. In my case, we don't keep meat in the house, so I don't have to worry about it so much. Store drinks, left overs, and ready to eat foods (such as cheese, yogurt, deli meats, etc) on the top shelves. Store raw ingredients on the lower shelves. You can put your condiments back into the door shelves.

Drawers, however, are a little more tricky since you run the risk of contamination. Drawers are made for fruits and vegetables since they allow you to control the humidity, but they are normally at the bottom of the fridge, underneath all that meat (if you have meat, that is). We put all of our produce, except fruits, in the bottom drawers because there is NO meat in our fridge. However,you need to be careful if you have meat in your fridge. If you have two drawers, store meat in one and vegetables in the other. If side by side, you needn't worry about which drawer is which. Just clean the meat drawer often. If they are stacked, put meat in the lowest drawer, again cleaning often.

If you HAVE to store meat above your produce, place it on a rimmed plate, cooking sheet, or another rimmed platter to catch any drips. This will help prevent cross contamination with your produce. Be careful when removing these from the fridge. You want to avoid spills at all costs.

These are of course general guidelines, not rules. In some refridgerators, the top ends up being the coldest and the bottom the warmest. To test, you can set up thermometers in each section and monitor the differences. Unfortunately I don't suggest storing meat in the top of your fridge, no matter how cold it is, because it can and will contaminate other foods. However, if your fridge is like mine and full of vegan foods, you needn't worry. You can rearrange your fridge from bottom to top or keep the top to bottom method.

Want some more tips? Well, I have a couple more for you!

1. Place Big Items in the Back. This will help you avoid losing smaller items.

2. Keep Like Items Together. This is kind of a given.

3.Use Clear Containers. This will allow you to see what is in the container, how much is left, etc. No surprises here!

4. Stack Items Properly. Do this when you bring home groceries. It will make your life so much easier in the long wrong and can prevent damaged foods.

5. Clean You Fridge Often! I do this every two weeks. I wipe mine down every 3-6 months.

Today I challenge you to clean out your fridge. It shouldn't take you longer than an hour, so do it all today. You will find it will make cooking so much easier and every time you open your fridge you will be greeted by a clean and organized fridge, which is honestly so relaxing, at least to me.

Need inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board labeled "Organization" or check back later this evening to see some organized refrigerators! 

Look Alive!
<3The Morticians Wife


Previous Posts:
Day 1: Welcome
Day 2: Time Management 
Day 3: Using Your Planner 
Day 4, Part 1: Mail Clutter
Day 4, Part 2: An Action File
Day 5: Other Paper Clutter
Pin It! Organized Home Edition 1 
My Planner 
Day 6: Magazine Clutter 

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