How To Organize Your Refrigerator

Updated on 30. Apr. 2020
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You’ve just returned from the grocery store during quarantine, are exhausted, and want only to throw all your new provisions into the refrigerator as quickly as possible. However putting items in your refrigerator just based on where there is enough room is a mistake, causing certain foods to spoil faster and thus leading to unnecessary waste and money spent that you especially don’t need during lockdown. In fact, putting your items in the correct places in the refrigerator can save you money and cut down on your grocery store trips in the long run. If you’ve found yourself with some extra time during quarantine, organizing your refrigerator is a cathartic and productive project that won’t take more than an hour or two but save you time in the long run. 

The Correct Way To Store Food In Your Refrigerator

In principle, the following applies to the classic refrigerator: The bottom is colder than the top. There can be a temperature difference of six degrees between the upper and lower compartments. This is what the correct storage of food in the refrigerator looks like:

Compartment Food
Top Shelf Temperatures range from 45-50 degrees fahrenheit on the top shelf, which is where you should store leftovers, prepared foods such as prep ingredients, cheeses and cured meats. 
Middle Shelf The temperature in the middle compartment is around 41 degrees. This is a good place to store liquid and soft dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cream.
Bottom Shelf This is the coldest part of the refrigerator, generally maintaining around 35-37 degrees. Its low temperature makes the lower shelf a good place to store foods that are at highest risk of contamination, such as minced meat, sausage, steaks, fish or fish products. In general, these foods should be covered so that possible pathogens are not transmitted to other foods.
Door On average, the temperature of the door tends to stick around 46 degrees. This is a good place to store butter, drinks, ketchup, eggs and sauces.
Vegetable Bin These are the cupboards at the very bottom of the bin, where you should only store fruit and vegetables to maintain peak freshness. However, cold-sensitive tropical fruits such as bananas or pineapples do not belong here.
Freezer Store all your frozen products here. Check in advance how long the food will keep in the compartment.

Do's and Don'ts When Storing Food In The Refrigerator

The Quicker The Better

It’s best to store your food in the refrigerator immediately after purchase, so that the cold chain is not interrupted for too long. When shopping, you should pay attention to information such as best before and use-by dates. It’s best not to purchase foods that are close to their expiration date.

Keep Your Refrigerator As Clean As Possible

Remember to always keep your refrigerator as clean as possible to ensure foods stay fresh and aren't contaminated. A deep clean of your refrigerator every few months might sound like a pain, but in the long run is much better for your foods and for your own health, keeping germs from spreading.

Wrap Your Food

Wrap all food leftovers in plastic wrap or aluminum oil before putting them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer. This also presents it from being contaminated by germs. 

To Conserve Energy: Let it Set

Let food leftovers cool before putting them in the refrigerator. Putting hot foods into the refrigerator will consume unnecessary energy during the cooling process. 

Not Everything Belongs In The Refrigerator

Most vegetables and fruits belong in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, however not all of them. Tropical fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, citrus fruits and bananas can lose their flavor when stored in the refrigerator, as well as certain vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumbers. 

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