FRIDGE ORGANISATION

I think when it comes to our fridges, there are two types of people. The organised and the unorganised. When you go to the supermarket, and bring home all your shopping, do you love putting it away or is it a chore? 

Honestly, I will admit, I hate doing it. I do love to have a visually clear and perfect looking fridge, because I do believe that it inspires me to cook better, but I also look at the shopping and dread putting it away.

If I’m having a bad day, or cannot be bothered, I will literally throw everything in the fridge, shut the doors, and hope nothing falls out when I reopen it.  We are human, and we are all busy, and putting things away in the fridge nice and neat seem like a huge effort to most people. But what if I told you that by spending just one hour of your day, when you bring that shopping home, could save you time and money? What if I told you that life would become much easier if you had everything sorted?

I’m a mum of 3. The number of snacks I need to produce in one day is crazy. They eat breakfast, and then they want the next snack. After they eat that snack, they want another snack. As parents, we want our kids to be eating the right types of food. It's easy to pull out the packet foods and feed them that, but what nutrients are they going to be consuming in a day?

For us as a family, my solution to get my kids to eat the right foods is to have everything ready to go. When my kids are hungry, they want to eat then and there, otherwise their little hands will start wondering the cupboards and start shoving their mouths with whatever thy can find. I like to have a range of fruits and vegetables already ready in the fridge for them, so if they need a snack, I am ready.

Let me ask you, how many times have you bought a watermelon and it’s just sat in the fridge until someone decides to cut it up? I am so guilty of this one. I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve thrown out watermelon because it turned bad because we haven’t eaten it. In actual fact, it’s not just the watermelon I’ve thrown out. It’s the soggy cucumbers that were at the back of the fridge, or that tub of yoghurt that I bought but also forgot about. 

I got to a point that I realised that when I eventually cleaned the fridge out, and threw away 4 bags of food, I knew I needed a plan. I needed something that would save me money, and I wouldn’t throw away as much food as I did. I found I was overbuying at the supermarket, because I clearly couldn't see what I had in the fridge.

I did so much research into how to keep my fridge neat, and clean and just practical. I’ve tried many containers for my fridge. When I say many, I mean at least 10 different containers. I have re arranged my fridge about 100 times until I have found something that works for my family. When I say family, I mean me, what’s best for me! I want an easy system, and something that’s affordable and practical.

I like to have a dedicated section for the kid’s yoghurts and cheeses, so if they need a snack, they know where to get it from. I like to have all my fruit cut up and stored into containers, because if they are hungry, I can just pull a container out and they are happy!

I wanted to make my life easier, so I could spend less time in the kitchen.

So here is what I did...

After a lot of reading and research, I found that glass containers were the best to keep things fresh. For many years I used the plastic Tupperware fridge containers. They were great don’t get me wrong, but I found after a few days there was a lot of moisture sitting at the bottom of the grooves. My vegetables and fruits were not keeping very fresh for very long, so I decided it was time to change.

I ended up buying 3 glass containers to try from IKEA, and same thing happened. The water sat at the bottom, and the food wasn’t staying fresh. Honestly, they were okay, but nothing I would rave on about. I left it for a few months and just tried to maintain my fridge to the best I could. I remember being at the supermarket and walking past the container section seeing the 50% off ticket next to the glass décor container.

At this point I was sceptical because I had already given up. I bought 2 of the glass containers to take home and try, and I instantly could tell the difference.  The lids of the décor containers have lids that have soft seal that makes the containers airtight and leakproof. The lid also has an air release vent, which allows the containers to be used in the microwave for reheating. 

I tested them out for a week, to see how fresh it would keep them, and if the condensation issue would still happen with these containers. I used one container for grapes, and another container I used for watermelon.  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate soft grapes. After one week of the grapes being in the container, they were still as crispy and juicy as the day I bought them! I was sold! I instantly went back to buy more.

I will admit though, I am tight when it comes to my money, so if I can get a bargain I will! The décor container that I really love are the decor match-ups oblong glass container 1.5L, the ones with the light green lid and they retail for $16, to fill my whole fridge up would cost me hundreds and hundreds. So, I waited, I waited until Coles, Woolworths or Spotlight had another 50% sale, and each time they went on sale, I would buy 3-4 each time.

After I got enough containers to fit in my whole fridge, I then started to get myself into a rhythm. When I get home from the supermarket, or when my fruit and veg got delivered, or when I get home from the butcher, everything has a spot and a place.

I spend one hour at night, and I wash all the vegetables and fruit, cut everything up and place them into containers. It has made such a huge difference to my cooking time, and my preparation that if I need something, I can quickly get it out.

For example, celery, when we buy it, its huge and bulky, and normally would turn soft within a few days. Now I wash it, cut it into lengths and place them into the container. Broccoli/cauliflower, I will cut the florets and store them into the container. Spring onions cut into lengths and stored into the containers. Watermelon/cantaloupe/pineapple, I will cut them into cubes, and store into the containers. I honestly cut anything I can and store it in them. I cut up carrots, zucchini, salads, and have everything prepped, so that when it comes dinner time, everything is already cut and ready to go.

I very rarely throw food out because it has turned to mush or gone brown. I don’t overbuy because I can see what I am running low on. Everything is visible, and clear, and that inspires me to be a better cook.

Obviously, what might work for me might not work for you. The brand of the containers I like, you may not like. This is what works for me, and my family. Play around with containers you have at home and see what works best for you. I would suggest starting off with any clear containers you have, if you can see what’s inside the container, that’s the main aim.

Just remember to start off slow, you don’t need to blow the budget on fancy containers. Test out what works for you and buy them as you go.

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