The holiday season is almost here, and with it, the promise of loads of leftover meals. Soon your fridge will become inundated with the remnants of this year’s Thanksgiving feast and the culinary residue of a dozen Christmas parties.
If you take the time now to keep your fridge neat, tidy, and organized, you’ll be better prepared to meet the savory storm when it arrives.
1. Start with Sterilizing
Before you do any major rearranging, it’s important to take time to clean out your fridge. It’s going to see heavy use for the next couple of months, and it will be a pain to clean when it’s stuffed with holiday goodies.
Take time now to clean your fridge, inside and out. Wipe out each drawer and put an open box of baking soda in the back to control the smell — put a date on it so that you know when to replace it. Check any water lines that run to the fridge and keep that 24-hour emergency plumber’s number magnetized to the fridge in the event that anything goes wrong.
Don’t forget to give the outside a little TLC as well. Wipe down the sides and the door — be extra careful if your fridge is made of stainless steel, as certain cleaners are too harsh. If the top has accumulated dust, wipe it off so that none of the dirt gets into the fridge when it’s opened and it looks great from the outside for when guests come over. If you notice that dust seems to gather on the top of your fridge quickly, you may consider getting your air ducts cleaned.
2. Light it Up with Labels
Label everything. Sure, that gallon of milk or bottle of beer doesn’t need a label, but anything and everything that is difficult to identify should have a label on it. This one works for your pantry as well.
On top of labeling the current contents, set up a good labeling system before the leftovers begins to arrive.
3. Pare Down on Perishables
While keeping your fridge stocked with fruits and veggies is generally a good idea, consider letting your stock run a little low over the next couple of months.
Keeping fewer perishable items in your fridge during the holidays will free up more room and make sure that nothing goes bad, creates smells, or invites bugs.
If you struggle with knowing where each item is in your fridge, you may want to think about getting a handful of smaller bins. It can help consolidate smaller things like snacks, holiday treats, leftovers, and condiments.
5. Orient Everything
Orient items from oldest to newest. You can do this by going either from front to back or left to right. Either way, put the newest leftovers on one side of the fridge and keep the oldest leftovers on the other side.
This allows you to eat things before they go bad and helps to avoid old food from getting shoved to the back.
Prepping Your Fridge for the Holidays
While creative organization and storage is fun to implement all over your home, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as properly organizing your fridge for the holidays.
The thought that you’ll be able to eat those delectable holiday treats before they go bad is about as good as it gets, and the fact that you won’t have to deal with any nasty smells is a great added bonus.