Refrigerator Organization

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Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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Refrigerator Organization

I am not happy with our generic fridge and how we have to dig in the main shelves to find anything. I find that the back is getting bare and the front is just crammed  full and feels disorganized and ovrrall is inefficent. I had been putting jars in low bins that acted like drawers, but it was too dark to see whatall was in there (a case of excess??). Seeing YouTubers also is contributing to my issue. Such dreamy kitchens...

Do you do anything that is working really well for your family? Please share details...

We eat a high veggie diet but can have several jars of condiments, pickles, nuts, cooked rice and soups on hand. Also, I like to see at a glance what is in there so pretty frustrated with even my two veggie bins on the bottom. We have just white wire shelves (no glass) so have considered putting liners in for easy cleaning but then heard this will impede cold air circulation.

Bea has her drawer style fridge which facilitates viewing contents at a glance, what are you doing?
Trish Trish
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Re: Refrigerator Organization

As with all things zero waste, I feel that the answer lies in avoiding the clutter not organizing it. Here are some of my suggestions...

1) We try not to keep too many things on-hand for some vague unspecified future meal - our menu is planned at the beginning of the week, and we just buy what we need for those meals (and a couple snacks). we also shop twice a week, so we only store fresh food for 3-4 days.

 Making my own salad dressings and teriyaki sauce and other condiments really reduced the number of things in the condiment shelves in the door.  As a result I can group like-things (soy sauce, hot sauce, and fish oil in one section-- breakfast condiments like PB, jam, and maple syrup in another section, and lunch condiments like mayo and mustard in the third section.  

2) I have seen some interesting things about storing food without refrigeration, which might be a bit out-there, but it kind of makes sense. If the grocery store stores it at room temperature, perhaps you can too.  We are starting to keep things in water in the window sill, in baskets on the kitchen island, or in the dark in the pantry.

3) I like organizing my food in the fridge by meal-- one night's dinner ingredients on the top shelf, one on the middle shelf, and one in each produce drawer.  The bottom shelf holds milk jugs and stacked pyrex with tomorrow's lunches.  

4) if all of  your jars sort of look the same, what about some sort of labeling on the lid (with a crayon?).  That way your bins-as-drawers system will work even if you can't *see* what's in each jar.  


5) In our house, cheese is always in the deli drawer, eggs are in the slim section under it, and milk is under that on the bottom shelf.  


 
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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Re: Refrigerator Organization

Thanks Trish, I appreciate your reply. I saw a youtuber who does thar organization by meal thing too, radical!
Then I found this video and think it might work for us, moving the shelves, putting my "drawer" bins up high and leaving lowest shelf for heavy, bulky items.

I have reduced to some standard items, but could probably get them all to the door. Speaking of which my first chore is to swap it so it opens more efficiently, right now it means we have to step out of the main kitchen area just to open it.

If If I feel brave enough I'll post a picture when done.

https://youtu.be/Q7AiSqmYIeg
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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Re: Refrigerator Organization

Here is the YTer that I thought of when Trish mentioned organization by meal...she has a higher end refrigerator compared to what I have to work with but this is probably doable by most. Her pantry has similar streamlined organization with corresponding bin for each meal so cooking would be a breeze. She isn't ZW but this is a starting point for folks working their way to an organized, ZW  and minimalist kitchen, imho.

https://youtu.be/ac0hU1SI9so
Jay Jay
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Re: Refrigerator Organization

In reply to this post by Catherine Sultana
 Boy, this brings back memories. Long ago we lived in an apartment in Germany, and had both an under counter refrigerator and an under counter freezer -apparently typical at that place, that time. Worked out well as I learned what really needed to be refrigerated. Froze meats, and was able to go twice a week for veggies, so very few needed refrigeration. Great to have the extra counter space in a minuscule kitchen! Worse, a few years later we lived on a boat with *just* an under counter fridge. That was difficult, but again just didn't refrigerate what didn't need to be kept that cold…
I believe folks typically tend to "collect" condiments, and to purchase in volume for economy, ending up with lots of lost half bottles of "stuff". So… I'd suggest a sweep of any half bottles of stuff, and re-eval what needs to be in your fridge at all -as has been said before. Skip the stuff you only use once in a while or come up with a way to make it on the spot (tamarind paste comes to mind -argh!). If you have certain condiments that you could make at home, you can make smaller amounts, then put into whatever [uniform] size container you want…
Meal planning helps of course, so that you don't need so many different things in the fridge at the same time.
Strategize placement of food: cold air falls, it's always consistently colder in the back of the fridge, and closed bins regulate humidity better for fruits, veggies. Also remember the temperature on the door of your fridge is much more inconsistent, so don't store things there that must always have a cool temperature.
That said, our fridge is a bit of disaster too :) and wish we had more freezer space.

Yeah, having to step out of the main area to open your fridge is awkward…..