Organized Home Week 1 – The Refrigerator

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

Our Home Organization challenge begins today, and we start with a refrigerator makeover and a giveaway!  Double yay!

My refrigerator stays pretty organized during the year UNTIL the holidays.  After all the re-arranging in order to fit the extra food that I make for our Christmas Morning Breakfast and holiday gatherings, the fridge is a mess.  So I dedicate the following picture to those that wonder if my kitchen is always sparkling and my fridge is full of perfectly arranged bpa-free bottled waters that always face forward:

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

Here are the steps that I took to get my refrigerator in top shape:

1.  Empty the refrigerator and throw away expired food.

I emptied it out the refrigerator which was a good opportunity to sort and group like items on the kitchen table.

2. Give the refrigerator a thorough cleaning.

I was so ready to get my fridge looking good again!  At this point it needed more than just organizing, it needed a good thorough cleaning.  I removed and washed all the shelves and drawers and also cleaned the refrigerator walls.

Hey there good looking!

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

3.  Add coasters and/or fridge bins to the shelves.

Then I added a new pack of Fridge Coasters.  I have shared with you in other posts how much I love them!  They have different patterns and colors – this year I chose green.  They will help to keep the refrigerator clean by soaking up any spills.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

Love. Love. Love.

 

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

After adding the coasters, I added all the bins that I use to corral items.  Some of my bins (like the one in the picture below) are simply OXO bins without a lid.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

 

4.  Place the food items back in the fridge.

The fun part, add the food and drinks back in the clean fridge!

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

No more expired salad dressings.

I may or may not have over done it purchasing butter for holiday baking.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

I keep asparagus in a wide-mouth sturdy cup and I add a little water.  It lasts way longer than if I kept it in the veggie bin.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

It doesn’t matter where I keep the milk, it doesn’t last more than a few days around here.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

I love to re-position the shelves to accommodate the groceries.  This really narrow shelf is for yogurt.  I don’t like to crowd the very top shelf of the fridge so that air can still circulate freely.

 

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

Although I love fridge bins and I am linking them HERE, I suggest that you only purchase bins for items that you always buy.  If you never buy juice boxes or yogurts then you don’t need empty bins taking up space in your refrigerator.  I also keep an open bin to place whatever I am defrosting for the following days dinner.  This avoids spills and keeps the fridge clean.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

Adding just one bin to this drawer keeps onion or garlic skins from taking over the bin and helps to keep veggies separate.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

Let’s not forget the large sliding drawer.  It is my favorite part of french top refrigerators (my least favorite part being the freezer section).  This is where I place the treats for little ones since the height it perfect for self-serve.

I use this container for the eggs which comes with a lid but I rarely use the lid since we buy so many eggs.  You can find a slightly larger one HERE.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

 

So maybe for the next 19 seconds my fridge will be sparking and full of perfectly arranged bpa-free bottled waters that always face forward.  Until the boys realize that I have replenished the fridge.  At least I have the pictures to remember it by!

But really, aside from the direction that the bottles face :-) it is easy to maintain a refrigerator when everything has a designated spot.

Refrigerator Makeover and a Giveaway

If you like the fridge coasters, then don’t miss out on the giveaway below!  Two Graceful Order readers will be given 2 sets of their choice..all courtesy of Fridge Coaster!

 

The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. January 16th.  Good luck to all of you and Let’s Organize 2015!

Maria

 

~ Graceful Order’s disclaimers and giveaway regulations can be found “here”.  This posts contains links, a few are affiliate links.  As always, thank you for your support of Graceful Order!

 

 

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The Graceful Refrigerator

Let us begin our 2014 organizing series with the kitchen.  More specifically, the refrigerator.

Refrigerator Organization

I don’t know about you, but after the holidays my refrigerator is a mess.  During the holidays, I purchase food items that are either for Thanksgiving, Christmas breakfast and other holiday get togethers.  All these items, in addition to our regular shopping list, culminate in a messy refrigerator.

January is the perfect time to completely empty the refrigerator and start fresh!

The first thing you want to do is remove all sauces and dressings and place them on the counter.  This is a good opportunity to look at all the dates and toss out all the expired items.  Also, you may have opened a container of ricotta or sour cream, but you only needed half a cup…throw out what has since spoiled.

Refrigerator Organization

Once you have the bottles that you are keeping, wipe them clean and set aside.

Next, let’s remove the refrigerator shelves and bins (if they are removable) and soak them in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of warm water.  You can use the same solution to wipe down the rest of the refrigerator.  Clean, dry and put all the bins back in place.

I use refrigerator coasters from “Fridge Coaster” and I had not changed them out in almost a year.  I used this opportunity to pick out a new set.  I love the pop of color that they add to the fridge!

Refrigerator Organization

This is also a good time to reposition your shelves to better suit your needs.  I adjust them fairly often to fit the products I buy.

Start placing all the items back in the refrigerator.  Designate a spot for everything.

Refrigerator Organization

And the side bins…

Refrigerator Organization

I keep clear OXO containers (without the lids) inside the pull out bins so that all the garlic and onion skins that collect at the bottom, can be easily cleaned up.  Also, any vegetable that has gone bad doesn’t seep all over my clean bin.

Refrigerator Organization

Lastly, the deli drawer.  My kids favorite and the only one that my toddler can reach.

I have clear bins in here as well to keep like-items in place.  Also, I have a bin for oily items like pesto and other spreads, that would otherwise leave oily circles inside the refrigerator.  I keep a larger clear bin in the top shelf for defrosting items.

You can find some bins in my amazon shop under “Refrigerator Bin” and Fridge Bin.  You can also find them at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Sometimes, even Homegoods will have a few.  Just make sure that you purchase bins that are refrigerator safe so that they don’t crack.

Refrigerator Organization

Having a clean and organized refrigerator has more advantages than just being visually appealing.  If you always put your butter in the same spot, then you know when you are out.  Even grocery shopping gets easier.

Stay tuned next week as we move on to the rest of the kitchen, and eventually the whole house!

Happy Organizing!

Maria 

Kitchen: Refrigerator Organization

Give them food and they will come…the fridge.  Everyone congregates in the kitchen and everyone is always checking out what there is to eat in the refrigerator.  With all the hands coming in and out of the refrigerator it is bound to get messy fast.  There are ways that I have discovered to minimize the mess.  Here I will share with you how I organize the refrigerator in my home.  These systems work for me and maybe they can work for you too.

The fridge.  We have had this refrigerator for about 5 years now.  When it is clean it is perfection.  When it’s not….its gross.  I have to clean it everyday to keep it looking like this.  It’s part of my night routine to give it a little wipe down before I sit down to watch some TV with the boys.  Considering that I have a toddler that is always putting his little sticky hands on the freezer drawer, it doesn’t stay clean for very long.  I must admit it is kind of cute when I see his little hand print there at the end of the day.  When I see my 40-year-old husbands hand print it isn’t quite as cute :-) .

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Here it is on the inside:

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It’s ready for its close-up!

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The first thing I want to share with you are these adorable fridge coasters that you can see below and also peeking through the picture above.  They are so cute!  This proves that you can bring beauty to anything and everything.  They are from fridgecoaster.com and they are very absorbent and should be changed out as often as you change out your water filter unless they are still in great shape.  They come in many colors and designs.  I couldn’t decide on one design so I mixed and matched different designs in the yellow.   I don’t endorse the product, I just love it.  I will be doing a giveaway on the coasters at a later date so I will keep you posted!

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You see the huge blue water bottle?  How could you not?  Well, here is the story behind it:  I used to buy individual water bottles which I would later recycle.  The recycling helped me feel better about the environment but not about the BPA that was in the bottles.  I found these gallons at Whole Foods Market and they are BPA free and just cents to refill.  I place two of these in the bin (I took one out so that you could see the cute coaster).

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Here is the deli drawer.  My favorite drawer (also my toddlers favorite because it’s the only one he can reach) because somehow it stays organized most of the time.  I purchased the clear refrigerator containers that you see below and they help keep the items from shifting and the refrigerator clean from spills.

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More bins!  I have one container that I use exclusively to hold meat that is defrosting or marinating.  So many times I have had to clean one whole side of the refrigerator because of some spill from meat…gross.  This avoids that problem so I don’t put anything else in the large shallow container.  Next to it is a smaller container that I use for the boys juice boxes.  My 9-year-old started taking his lunch to school so I grab a juice from here everyday.

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Below is where I place the milk and creamer since I now place the large water gallons on the door bin.  As you can see the shelves on my refrigerator don’t line up.  I move them around to fit what I currently have in the fridge.  I have a really tall space for the milk and then a really narrow space for tortillas and small items.  You can really maximize the space in your refrigerator if you do this.  The bins on the door are also removable and I have moved those around as well.  Most newer refrigerators have bins and shelves that can be repositioned.

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The freezer.  I don’t like it.  I love the rest of the fridge so much that I just try to work with the space in the freezer.  We have to have a separate freezer in the garage because this one is so small and I can’t stock up here.  Also the ice bin takes up quite a bit of space.  In the top wire bin I keep homemade chicken stock and homemade waffles.  The bottom wire rack has an awkward shape so I just place things in there the best I can.  I do love the design of the fridge and having the freezer in the bottom.  I just think the freezer should have a better design.  Oh well!  That’s a first world problem.  Not a big deal!

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Enjoy organizing your refrigerator and thank God for the sticky hands!

Maria