the Organized Life, Clean your fridge!

OK, when was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator, as in take everything out, wipe down the shelves, check expiration dates…

I have had more than my share of refrigerator “Encounters”.  My mom, bless her heart never threw anything away ever and when I would get to California to visit her, it could be pretty terrifying.  Salad dressings that were years expired and leftovers that were hidden in the back turning into science experiments.  I also had to clean out my in-laws refrigerator when the power had been out for 5 days one summer.  NIGHTMARE.  Hazmat [Hazardous Materials] suit needed!  Also, my own fridge after Hurricane Ivan took the roof off our beach house.

And a few more which I won’t mention, I have taken a vow of silence, after all a refrigerator is a personal thing, a window into your personality, a journal of your private life…so no comment from me, I certainly have my share of guilty secrets and my fridge usually has more wine than fresh produce…

But I recently discovered that if I clean out my fridge regularly on Sunday or Monday before I do my weekly shopping, it makes life so much easier! When I get home from the grocery it is a dream to have an organized space and no slapping myself for buying something I already had.

I always plan our dinners in advance anyway, it might be at the start of the week or even the week before, but I put the meals on my calendar, the ingredients on my shopping list, and
If you can get this into your routine, I promise you will save time and money!!

When you keep things organized you can easily see what you have on hand to use instead of buying duplicate items. Use that fresh produce before buying more, and why not substitute that Edam cheese for the cheddar in the casserole recipe.

Train your family to put things in their proper place, label shelves and drawers to remind them. Put things back in place as soon as they start to wander around!  Hungry Husband is terrible at this, but keeping things organized and in the same vicinity helps him find what he needs without coming constantly to me.  “Honey, we don’t have any milk” type stuff.  Oh and heaven help you if you buy a different color package or brand because he can’t read…I try to keep all the same type stuff together on the same shelves and when it wanders around I just put it back and I can see at a glance what I need and what I should plan to use up.

Same for the freezer, I smile every time I open it…

I keep all the entrees on the left, meats and casseroles wrapped, dated and labeled.  On the right side is bread, doughs, potatoes

and a section for desserts. Hungry Husband LOVES ice cream, but if you ask him, he’ll say he doesn’t eat sweets. What!  And a section for frozen veggies.

I recently discovered freezer paper. It’s right next to the foil and saran and I’ve never even really noticed this fabulous stuff.

One side is heavy white paper, and one side is coated.  You can wrap fresh meat tightly and secure with masking or freezer tape.  It will keep the air out of your package and protect the item from the dreaded freezer burn.  I can’t believe I never knew about this stuff, so much cheaper and better than ziplocks!  Also great for children to finger paint on, wrapping gifts, and I am going to start using it for disposable painting palettes.

Invest some time into organizing your fridge once, and maintain it weekly and you will be so happy!

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