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Refrigerator and Pantry Organization?

December 30th, 2007 at 03:25 pm

A pet peeve of mine has long been having food go bad, since it seems like pure insanity to buy something, let it sit for a while, then throw it away! So in the interest of preventing that, how do you organize your refrigerator? Our problem is mainly that we have a big deep one, so things in the back can get hidden. So I definitely try to keep things that will only last a few days up front, but what can legitimately go in back? Jars, etc.? Since I'm cleaning it this morning to find a bad smell, maybe a regular cleaning once a month or so is the ticket. Actually, this reminds me, has anyone read David Allen's Getting Things Done? It's a great little book, where his main point is that you need to review things on a regular cycle once you are organized.

We also have the problem that I'm sure others may share in that when my wife stocks up on something in a sale, say for instance salad dressing that usually expires in about six months, we often can't use it all by the expiration dates. That's a whole other subject, Sell By dates. Use By is pretty clear, but even then is it "Use by xx for best quality, or to prevent a horrible death from bacteria? "There's a difference, you know!

So let me have the suggestions! Since this site seems to have more women than men, I think I'm in good hands. [Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that only women can organize a refrigerator or that women don't have many other skills or interests than domestic chores, just that I'm sure you have some good ideas. Please don't kill me!] Thanks.

5 Responses to “Refrigerator and Pantry Organization?”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Better not look to me for fridge organization tips. This woman totally forgot a large package of zucchini in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Frown Hubby found it a couple days ago and put it in the compost pile. It was really yucky.

  2. reginaastralis Says:

    One of the tings I did for my cupboards was write everything down, and the quantity I had of it. I then mde an excel spreadsheet of what I had, and highlighted the boxes. When I use one of them, I mark it off the end. I usually keep the same amount of goodies in the cupboard, so when I need to go grocery shopping, I can easily count whats missing from the list. If I find something on an amazing sale, I can just add mre highlighted boes. I usually onlybuy staples once a month, so I only have to reprint the list once a month.

    It's worked the past two months I have tried this. I am thinking about doing the fridge and freezer his week and starting the same process.

    I also organize my fridge/freezer/and pantry by meal, unless I have a stokpile of something. I have a prettylarge pantry, and the top shelf (that I can easly reach) is all my meals for the month. Anything I have stockpiled is grouped together on the other shelves.

    Gosh ... does tat even make sense?!?! I don't know, it works for us. I guess that's all that matters.

  3. Ralph Says:

    On that subject, I wish my wife wouldn't buy supermarket cucumbers. Those darn things turn to mush VERY quickly. You definitely have to remove them from the plastic bag so they don't mold. And what is up with supermarkets hosing down their veggies? I hate that!

    I don't like any food you have to use within days. Apples are the best! I bought a $10 bag from our local orchard that lasted all fall! Sweet! (And tart - they were Empire, one of my favorite varieties.)

  4. scfr Says:

    This isn't for everyone, especially people who like lots of variety. But what has worked for me is to strictly limit the things I keep on hand. For example, I only allow myself one jam and two salad dressings and two types of cereal on hand at a time. [Tho' if I'm going to be having lots of houseguests coming for an extended period of time, I'll temporarily up that to 2 jams and 3 salad dressings, because I know at least one of each will get used up.]

  5. Ralph Says:

    regina, your answer certainly makes sense. I thought of doing that, but balked at the work involved. Maybe later - the pantry really is even more out of control. It might make sense to install those wire drawers that give you better access, since there is just so much buried stuff in the backs of the shelves. Our freezer is also quite frightening! I have no idea what most of the stuff in there is! On the plus side, I did a great job on the fridge, cleaned all the shelves, and pitched some bad blue cheese (who knew that already moldy cheese could go bad, but it did, it was brown!) and some imitation crab meat that was over a year old, but luckily wasn't stinky. It had fallen into a crevice.

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