We’re just about to kick off that whirlwind stretch on the calendar that begins just after Halloween and continues through New Year’s Day – the one where your refrigerator is often filled to overflowing with food and drink for holiday meals and parties, and then with a seemingly endless supply of leftovers.
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or preparing appetizers to take to a holiday party, these NYC professional organizer tips for cleaning and organizing your refrigerator before the holiday rush begins will make meal preparation and storage much easier in the busy weeks ahead. You’ll save money and waste less because you’ll know what’s there, and meal planning and food shopping is easier when you can see what you have on-hand and what needs to be re-stocked.
Start by Cleaning
Our NYC professional organizer recommends beginning by removing all items from the refrigerator. Take this opportunity to toss any items that are past their use-by date. Use a mild spray cleaner to wipe down shelves, and drawers. You can make a simple cleaner using one gallon of hot water, 1 cup of clear ammonia, ½ cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda. Just pour into a spray bottle or use with a sponge.
Set a time limit for storing leftovers. Our professional home organizer in NYC has found that the novelty of having holiday fare to snack on wanes after a day or so, and the containers of leftover goodies not eaten take up valuable space.
Organize as You Restock
Group like items together – beverages, meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, etc. Take inventory of items that you frequently use in preparing meals, such as salad dressings, sauces, condiments and butter, and make a shopping list to replenish those that are getting low.
If your refrigerator is small, our NYC professional organizer suggests using beverage can racks and free-standing racks and containers that can be used to subdivide refrigerator shelves can make the most of your space.
Keep frequently-used items like milk and butter in the easiest to reach locations – either in door shelves or pull-out drawers. Less frequently items can be stored at the back of the shelves, accessible but out of the way.
Keep a limited supply of soda, beer and wine chilled for unexpected guests and be sure to replenish as you use them.
Don’t Forget the Freezer
Your freezer gets a good work-out during the holidays too, between items prepared ahead of time for special occasions and leftovers frozen for later use. Here are a few simple tips from our professional home organizer in NYC for keeping your freezer organized:
- Stack boxed items together.
- Store leftovers in square and rectangular containers to maximize space.
- As in the refrigerator, store like items – vegetables, fruits, ice cream, etc. – together.
- Pack food in individual serving sizes so that you can thaw just what you need.
- Label food containers with contents and the date it was frozen. Note any reheating or preparation instructions.
- Place older items near the front of the freezer so that they’re used first.
Feeling overwhelmed just thinking about cleaning out your fridge in preparation for the holidays or in need of an entire home organizing overhaul before your guests start arriving? Reach out to our NYC Professional Organizer. We’re here to help you transform your combat zones into comfort zones – just in time for the holidays!