I finally have an organization tool that works for me so’s I know what’s in my refrigerator:  that big white thing in our kitchen that my family and I look into 456 times a day. Every time we open the refrigerator, it’s like turning a new page from an Eye Spy book.

Is it like that for you?

I Googled this problem, and found these refrigerator organization ideas:

 

 

  • I tried this method of writing on the refrigerator door with a dry erase marker. First of all, that is only a good tip for people who have hardly any food to keep track of or who don’t need assistance remembering. Second, dry erase marker does not wipe off a refrigerator door as easily as Pinterest claims.

    Third, once you start writing on the refrigerator with markers in a house of boys, it’s a FREE-FOR-ALL. #graffiti

 

  • I do put as much foodstuffs in glass containers and jars as I can, but I still can’t see everything. Stuff gets moved. Stuff hides behind other stuff, ya know?

 

This hack helps me with meals, because as much as I like to plan, I’m not yet great not at all good at meal-planning. What I am good at is making a great meal out of a variety of random foods.

What’s in Your Refrigerator?

 

This tool not rocket surgery. It’s the simplest thing EVER. You might laugh at me.

 

I call it: The-Simple-Paper-on-the-Refrigerator-Door method

(Ta-Da!!)

 

Refrigerator hack

This Simple Paper on My Fridge

 

Here’s a photo of a the last paper in all its glory: in an off-centered middle surrounded by fridge door mayhem. The list is in this photo is in need of review and replacement.  I use scrap paper, a piece of cardboard, and writing tools. That’s it. I can’t even be bothered to make it pretty. Maybe someday. (If you like pretty, you could use shelf paper and a frame or something like that.)

Refrigerator organization

This is several half-pieces of copy paper taped one on top of the other over a piece of cardboard and adhered to the fridge door with a magnet. That way, I can pull one piece off and simply start writing on the other.

 

For My Refrigerator List to Work:

  1. I do not put 100% of the items in my fridge on that paper.
  2. I have to, in some way, highlight leftovers and particularly perishable foods.
  3. I have to review the paper at least once a week and update it frequently. Updating is pretty quick and painless.
  4. I cross out foods on the list as those foods are used up.
  5. I have to rely on the list, albeit imperfectly.
  6. The list must be fluid, treated like a living, ever-changing object. The list is alive, because you make it so.

1. Not all of the foods in the fridge get written on that list

 

To list all the things would be insanity. That’s not the purpose of the list. My head knows (and my eyes clearly see): milk, eggs, half-and-half, orange juice. I might note that we are low on one of these things. (If I run out of half-and-half, my life as I know it comes to a crashing halt and anxiety kicks in and it’s not pretty). Also, I don’t tend to list condiments or any other items regularly in our refrigerator. The purpose of the list is to keep track of the things that tend to get lost and forgotten in the refrigerator.

 

2. Foods needing to be used soon (perishables) get highlighted in some way: circled, written in marker, accompanied by an exclamation mark.

 

I’m talking about restaurant leftovers, cooked meat, etc. I also highlight foods like hard-boiled eggs that don’t have a long fridge life, that thing that’s about to grow mold, and anything I should use in the children’s lunch boxes. I don’t like wasting food (and I regret to say I’ve wasted a lot). Sometimes, I write individual’s leftovers on that list: “Rhonda’s leftover chicken soup,” for example. I also write my kid’s individual leftovers, because what they don’t finish at one meal, they get to enjoy at the next. 🙂

 

This breakfast smoothie was made out of random food in the refrigerator: some berry sauce, a thing of yogurt, and almond milk (among other foods). Impressive, isn’t it? My boys say it’s good. I’ll take their word for it because I hate strongly dislike smoothies.

3. The list has to be reviewed at least once a week, or when new groceries are added.

 

This refrigerator tip won’t work without a review. Just the process helps me remember. When making the new list and taking photos for this post, I was reminded of purple cabbage, an uncooked pound of ground beef, and four pistachio muffins. (How does she forget about pistachio muffins, you ask? Let’s see: three boys, one husband whose come-and-go schedule makes me crazy, making roughly 20 meals plus snacks, helping out at schools, keeping track of papers, making sure my children can sound out letters and do long division. That’s how.)

 

4. Foods that get used up need to be crossed out.

 

If you think you have three big slices of pumpkin bread left, when in reality you only have two slices left, and you have three boys to feed for breakfast, well…you do the math. I’m already helping with long division, remember?

 

 

5. The list has to be looked at, relied on, believed (but not perfectly).

 

Use the to pilfer food for lunchboxes, and to come up with a last-minute supper. Use it to transfer items to the freezer and to decide what to make for that family who just had a baby. There are still times I crouch down and wonder what’s behind the milk but in front of the orange juice, or where in the world I put the leftover pumpkin bread, because where stuff actually is in the refrigerator is a different kind of organization. If you know how to do that, I’d love to hear it.

 

6. The list must be an ever-changing thing.

Almost like it’s alive. If the list doesn’t look like the first draft of an article or English paper, it’s not getting used correctly.

 

I’m curious: How do you know what inside of your refrigerator?

 

 

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