I am so intrigued by the sections of cookbooks where the authors go through the items they keep in their pantry and fridge. Space in any fridge is a premium but if you look to people who cook for a living, their fridges are often relatively bare. As it turns out, you can make a lot from a little when you stock (and clearly organize) ingredients that carry more flavor.
I realized that the way I organized my own fridge could help me cook off the cuff more than I already do. I’ve gone through a couple of different fridge organization systems and I’ve hit my stride lately. It’s not necessarily the prettiest but it’s about function first and foremost. Since I’ve started using this fridge organization method, I’ve noticed that grocery shopping is a lot easier too.
This is where I keep ingredients that add flavor to all sorts of recipes, including horseradish, miso paste, wasabi, roasted red peppers, olives, and more. They’re things that tend to last a long time, anywhere from months to a year (with the exception of eggs, which are also stored here).
This shelf is mostly home to foods that I’ll go through more quickly and/or that are more perishable. This typically includes things like a batch of beans, yogurt, cream cheese, a tub of hummus, and plenty of lemons and limes.
This shelf is typically home to leftovers I’ve cooked recently (or takeout leftovers). I’ll often reuse these things in future dishes, like adding roasted vegetables to an omelet or leftover soba noodles to a salad.
I keep grab-and-go things for the kids, like cheese sticks, in one drawer. In another, I store meat items like bacon, pancetta, and chicken. In the bottom crisper drawer, I store vegetables. I’ll often wash veggies right when I get home from the store, line plastic containers with paper towels, and store the vegetables in the containers until I’m ready to cook with them. I’ve found this process extends their life quite a bit.
On the side shelves, I store go-to condiments like hot sauce, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. I also like to store my herbs here in glass jars with water. Lastly, we keep our orange juice and any cream or milk on these shelves.
1. To keep our fridge organized, I make a point to spend half an hour or so each weekend sorting through what we have. I take out things that are expired and take stock of things we should use up soon. I also wipe out any residue or crumbs that have accumulated.
2. I have a couple of products I use to keep things separated and organized, including:
3. In terms of storing leftover food or prepped ingredients, we use mostly glass jars and plastic takeout containers. I use masking tape and a Sharpie to date most things, which makes it so much easier to scan and remove things as needed.
4. For inspiration on how to make the most of what I have in my fridge and pantry, I’ve loved these cookbooks in particular.
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Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - March 16, 2022
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
I love a good stocked fridge, it is game changer for making meals. I can’t imagine not having things ready to go!
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I agree! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I love a well organized fridge but have 4 family members who cannot retain what goes where and put things back willy-nilly. Drives me crazy!
Oh no!! I’d feel the same way!
I used a label maker to label shelves and bins. That makes it easier for my family to put things where they belong.
Yes! this is very useful to do
how do you make sure everyone else in the family puts things back in the right spots?
It doesn’t always happen, but for the most part, others put things back where they found them! And since I do almost all of the cooking and all of the unpacking after grocery shopping, I’m able to keep the system in place pretty well. Good question!
I’ve always read that milk and cream should not be put in the door. It looks as if you have one interior shelf tall enough to put them.
Thank you! Good article. I like your system. 🙂
Thank you, Melody!