If you’re a fan of saving money (and who isn’t?), it might surprise you that your fridge is the first place you should look to pocket a little extra dough. Not only can you avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store – and buying more than you need – but with our tricks, your food will taste better and stay fresher longer. Ready to organize your fridge? Read on.
1. Sort fridge foods from pantry foods. Most fruits and vegetables prefer the fridge, but bananas, pineapples, potatoes, avocados, nectarines and onions fare better in cool, dark places. And don’t believe the old wives’ tale about putting bread in the fridge: It turns moldy quicker when it’s refrigerated.
2. Think about shelving options. Place meat and seafood on the bottom shelf to prevent it from leaking onto other foods and contaminating them. Dairy products and milk are best kept on the middle shelves – they’re cooler than at the top.
3. Keep tabs on the fridge door. The shelf on the fridge door is most susceptible to temperature changes. Because keeping eggs at a stable temperature is key, it’s best to use the middle shelf for them instead.
4. Clean it out regularly. A clean fridge is a happy fridge. Because air needs to circulate around food in order to keep it cool, make sure to regularly weed out expired foods or old leftovers to avoid overcrowding and warm spots, which can lead to spoilage. Then use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable to easily remove stuck-on gunk from fridge shelves, and wipe down refrigerator shelves with Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Spray and a Bounty paper towel. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, squirt a little Dawn dish soap on a soft damp sponge to clean the exterior. (Get the full guide here.)
5. Use baskets and labels to organize. Not sure what’s in your fridge at any given moment? Organize with plastic baskets and removable peel-and-stick labels. Decide on an organizing plan (do you keep all yogurt cups together? All lunch-packing items?), and stick to it so you can know at a glance what you have – and what you’re about to run out of.
6. Be mindful about the temperature. The right temperature can add three days to food’s storage life. Aim to keep your fridge-freezer between 32 and 40 F, and check it regularly. Too hot or cold means food spoils, and it’s not good for energy saving either.
7. Rotate, rotate, rotate. Before you go to the grocery store, move older items that may have gotten lost at the back of your fridge to the front – that way, you’ll know what you already have and won’t overbuy.
8. Don’t neglect the freezer. Use your freezer wisely. Save money by storing items like leftovers and meat in there. They can be quickly thawed and won’t spoil if you forget about them for a few days!
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