Friday, October 29, 2010

43 October Featured Space: Kitchen - Fun in the Fridge

I had gotten some notes mentioning that you would like to take a peak into my fridge....

At first I was like, OK, no prob!  Then, I opened it up and started snapping some pics and was like... hmmm... I may be judged for all of the food choices we make.... so I am begging, no judging allowed and the fridge is yours for the viewing!  And I know you love me, so when you see that we have two tubs of delightful, yet oh so sinful cream cheese, you will just look the other way, wink wink!

It's kinda funny because after the first time I opened the fridge for quick water bottle pic, I realized that I could be doing a better job in the fridge department. 

So, I did what any organized obsessed gal would do.  I drew a diagram of how I wanted the inside of our fridge to function!  And then I decided to make it pretty by giving you a diagram I whipped up on the computer....


Yep, I really did that.  I however, have a brain that doesn't stop and a gazillion bazillion ideas flowing by the second, so in the moment, I grab paper and let it flow.

Putting my ideas on paper was much easier for me to categorize all the types of foods we stash in our fridge.  And that way I didn't have to wrap myself in blankets while I stand in awe in front of our open fridge....

Then, I just moved some things around, made sure nothing was expired, and called it a day in about 5 minutes.  And here is what our fridge looks like.... {I know, this is some pretty exciting stuff!}


Let's start with the door.  I made sure I utilized the space provided by all the bins, and tried to group like items accordingly.


All of our dressings, spreads, dips and condiments get stashed in the top two bins...


And dairy products went in the other bins....


I tried to stick with the keeping like items with like items theme throughout the fridge, just like I would in just about any organizational project I tackle.  I like to keep it simple for the fam to know where to look, and by keeping the fridge in categories, it's easy for them to open the door and quick grab what they need!

The bottom shelf is perfect for all of our taller bottles... so that's exactly what is there!


So now let's play the, "One of these things is not like the other" game... Anyone notice a little something that seems out of place?


Yep, this cleaning crazed mom keeps home made cleaner, right in the fridge door.  Here's why.  I have three little kiddos.  They literally climb into the fridge with their bare summer kissed feet and leave lovely mud marks inside while trying to snag some water from the filtered spout.  Plus, things leak, or drip or leave marks on the glass.... so having cleaner right in arms reach is my magical secret for keeping our old fridge looking like new!  {Looking for the home made recipe?  I shared it here}.

And that's the fridge door!  So now I will move along to the hub of the fridge.  The guts.


We can move top to bottom.... The top shelf is used to hold oodles of fresh fruit.  I recently read an article on MSN.com that has since changed my life in the kitchen.  It was about the recent hoopla on BPA, and I have since changed a lot of how I grocery shop and store my foods.  First, we not only save a ton of cash, but we have moved towards eliminating buying canned foods and drinks.  This means more fresh produce and only glass bottled beverages.  However, bottled beverages come at a pretty price, so we typically opt for the make it yourself options, which not only saves money, but also saves waste and our health.  Win, win, win!

So, when it comes to fruit, which we adore as a family, I just take a couple of extra minutes each week to give it a quick wash, cut and pluck, and place into some glass storage containers.


This itty bitty time investment ends up being a huge time saver throughout the week.  It allows me to quickly grab fruit for cereal in the morning, and for the kids to have a healthy go to snack place in the afternoon.

The right side of the top shelf is for sammy {a.k.a. sandwich} making!


I just snagged an empty bin and tossed all of our cheese slices and deli meats inside, to make for a quick grab and take to the counter option!


And if we decide to opt out of a sammy for lunch, we could always grab some leftovers, which live right below.


We keep some Post-it Labels and a Sharpie pen right next to the fridge in our memo station, to make it easy to pop a quick label on the leftovers, so we know when we placed it into the fridge.


Next comes cups and eggs.


Typically for the kiddo's lunches, we end up with cups of yogurt, pudding and applesauce.... so I just line them up and keep 'em together.  Eggs fit perfectly next to them!

Right below is a drawer which I love to use for all those Pillsbury containers and bagels!


Keeping them in a drawer keeps them from rolling out of the fridge each time the door opens.  Drawer + Rolling Objects = Love!



I already gushed all about our water bottles here.... and those make it yourself juices are now stored right by their side.

I really adore these glass juice containers, which are perfect for mixing and shaking!  {I actually found mine awhile back at Walmart or Target for fairly cheap}


The other part of the bottom shelf really feels kinda like that hodge podge table at a wedding.  No one really has anything to do with one another, but you had no where else to put them.  These are mostly just our food in tubs or jars, sides and toppings.


And the bottom drawers are filled with fresh produce on one side, and meats and cheeses on the other!


And that's a wrap!


All this fridge talk is making me chilly, time for some coffee talk instead....

I would love to hear from you guys, what your tips and tricks are for keeping your fridges organized.  Anything you are doing to make for a stress-less week?  What's your favorite fridge accessory or storage item?  Any money saving or green tips when it comes to food?  Anyone else drawing organizing diagrams?


P.S.  Looking for ideas for your freezer?  Check out this post here!

43 comments:

  1. You have some very balanced and fun choices in food, so no judging from me. You have an enviably clean and neat fridge. :)

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  2. I'm inspired to tackle my fridge this weekend. Nice job! Especially with kiddos!

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  3. Great inspiration! Just curious - where do you get the great little milk bottles? Do you refill these from the large plactic gallons?

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  4. you live in wisconsin, why are there Kraft singles in there?

    ;)

    love the post it notes idea.

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  5. I'm so inspired and just did a quick 5 minute spruce up in my fridge. Where do you find the Izze bottles? I can only find the cans now. Thanks!

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  6. I would also love to know where you get the milk bottles. Those are adorable!

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  7. How do you get everyone in your family to put things back where they are supposed to go?

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  8. Let me start with Archer Farms salsa = WIN. Try the Cilantro or the Black Bean flavors (unless you think cilantro=soap), they are fantastic and I buy every jar on the shelf when we're at Target.

    One of my favorite fridge organizers is a plastic lazy Susan I found years ago at Big Lots. I love putting odd and end jars/bottles on it and with a spin I can find what I need.

    Your fridge is awesome, I love how uncluttered it is!

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  9. I'll admit I laughed when I read that you stood in front of your ice-cold fridge taking pics of it (and drew a diagram), but then I realized that your fridge is much more orderly and efficient than mine (it always looks like a bomb blew up in there!). :) Time to take some pointers!

    Thanks for the inspiration (and laugh, too!).

    ~Chelsea

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  10. I'm stopping by the fireworks outlet, buying six quarter sticks of dynamite and heading home, where I will then light them, toss them in my fridge, and run like hell.

    I'll start from scratch with your diagram in hand tomorrow.

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  11. I'm with Shannon - how on earth do you get everyone else to follow your system? I only live with one other person and he'd wreck my efforts within the week. :/

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  12. I really enjoyed your post! So lovely...

    I recently did the same to my fridge - and then my dearling husband messed it up again!

    So my solution... I labelled my shelves :-) So far I've just used little stickies - but my plan is to make them cute - so putting together some pretty tags to attach...

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  13. I hang my head, but am inspired to improve! Thx for the great ideas. I WILL attack my fridge this weekend. :)

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  14. Hello Friends!

    The milk bottles are from our local grocery store, they are the organic milks, typically on the bottom row of the milk case.

    And April, I LOVE the Cilantro salsa, however, I can only find it at Super Target... which unfortunately for me isn't as close as I would like!! {I kinda live in the middle of nowhere!}

    As far as the family keeping up with the fridge {and all other things around the house for that matter}, maybe it's just a way of life that the kiddos have been raised into, but they are pretty good about knowing that things have a place and usually just put things back where they originally found it {or where the labeled bin tells them too}. Maybe I have instilled this in them without even realizing it? They are definitely not perfect at it and my OCD self will typically just put things back without evening thinking about it, when they haven't. As far as the hubs, he isn't always on the same page, it's all about making my systems easy and fool proof for him. And he typically sees the benefits in the organized life, so he tries to stick with it.

    Thanks all!!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  15. And Emily!

    My local grocery store stocks the Izze for me!! I am spoiled, I know, maybe one of the benefits of living in a small town. I just asked a store manager. I have however, begun to see them pop up at Super Targets as well, they are typically on the top shelf of the soda isle.

    Best luck in your searches, Izze is my weakness!!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  16. GREAT post. I felt like I was on cribs! :) One trick I have is to chop up my fruits, veggies, and cheeses into little snack size baggies. Then, I put them in one of the drawers. When I pack lunches, I just pull out the little bags and everything is ready to go! :) I might try your Sammy making Kit!

    Thanks!
    -Jessica

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  17. I love when my fridge and freezers are clean. I however, haven't ever drew a diagram. One of my tips on keeping it clean is wiping down the shelves once a week. I do it when I buy milk and its usually easier to keep up on then.

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  18. And. . . this is why iHeart your blog. :) Seriously, who organizes her fridge? Oh, you do! I thought of organizing mine...but never did. Now I'm off to do it. Yay!

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  19. Ditto the blog love! You rock! I'm going to try to re-organize my fridge and pantry tonight. I do like having a place for everything but it usually is short lived at my house.
    CJ-Q

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  20. Your fridge is amazing! Mine is {almost} looking that good...almost. I am curious where you found the spray bottle for your homemade cleaner. I love the look of it! Thanks!
    {Rebekah}

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  21. I cleaned and organized my fridge this weekend. We have a side by side and it's super tiny. I have a hard time keeping much of anything in there. The hubs isn't so good at keeping things in their place so it's an ongoing thing to keep it organized. I also spent some time organizing our panty! Next I need to work on the drawers. They are a mess and my 1yr old likes to pull all of my cooking untensils out. We will see how it goes.

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  22. i have the exact same ol' fridge! with the leaning drawers on the bottom! i had given up on it, but you've inspired me that it CAN be functional and pretty - is it sad that i'm excited about cleaning the fridge out tomorrow? no, you'll understand! :)

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  23. I have a diagram, too! i'm the only one in my house who *uses* it, but i have one. i find that with the diagram, everything is grouped together, so i don't "miss" stuff and accidentally overbuy items that we already have.

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  24. Jen, you sure are one organized gal! I can't recall where I read this but it was just in last few days but the article said you are to keep your milk in the coldest place in your refrigerator, not the door because it isn't cold enough.

    I couldn't find a comment area after the House Tour but wanted to compliment you on all the improvements you made. Good thing you are not afraid of color! I've never tried Behr paints before but I know Home Depot sells them. Seeing the red room..reminded me of our Chinese red exterior door at our previous home. We had consulted with our Duron Paint Mgr. and she recommended a painting contractor that she knew of his workmanship and work ethic. We bought another brand of paint and it was thin like water. Took it to her to see if she could match the color with Duron. She asked if we'd added water to the paint as it was that thin. I can't remember what brand of paint it was now but it wasn't a Duron or Benjamin Moore paint..She worked for over an hour to get the perfect match and she did. She told me to tell the painter to prime the door with either black or navy blue primer paint so the red color would go on smooth and cover well. He'd never heard of using those dark colors as primer. He used a grey and 3 coats later, it still wasn't covering well. You could still see the brush strokes. The contractor went and bought another brush because he wasn't pleased with the job the first brush was doing. Finally, we told him to not bother putting another coat on the door. He said red is very hard to work with and also to cover, so if you decide to change that red..make sure you use several coats of a good primer. We almost ended up in ER when we used Kilz primer one time from the fumes; from then on we use only Zinsser brand.

    Wished they had all the organizing things when my kids were little..45 and 42 yrs. ago. Sure would have helped me a lot.

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  25. Do you make own juice or buy juice in plastic container and transfer to glass. I cant find anywhere that does juice that you can put into personal containers.

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    1. We make our own juice. I either purchase it frozen or use Crystal Light. Saves us tons of moolah. :)

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  26. Does your produce last long by washing and cutting it like that? I was always told that if you wash the produce and then put it away it goes bad faster.

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    1. We eat ours so quickly - it rarely goes bad. We try to only purchase what we eat frequently or have meal planned for, and being a family of five, between lunches, snacks and dinners it goes fast. I think we also eat is quicker since we already have it ready to go.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  27. I, too, would like to know how long your produce lasts ... I've been hesitant to cut it because of the potential it wouldn't last me all week.

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    1. We eat ours so quickly - it rarely goes bad. We try to only purchase what we eat frequently or have meal planned for, and being a family of five, between lunches, snacks and dinners it goes fast. I think we also eat is quicker since we already have it ready to go.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  28. Linked to you at http://zerotoorganized.blogspot.com/2012/02/weekly-roundup-to-do-list-week-of-feb_13.html

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  29. Good tips! These will really help me keep my fridge organized so it's easier to find things.

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  30. Great tips! Question- What do you do when you have to put away leftovers from a dinner? That is usually when my fridge gets out of order. Thanks.

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    1. We use storage containers, label the contents and clean the fridge out each week when we return from grocery shopping.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  31. I have read that dairy, especially milk should not be stored in the door. I am inspired by your great organization. I'm about to get busy with my awful fridge.

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  32. AH! I love this:) Thanks for the idea about keeping "sammy items" together in a bin so that you can take them to the counter top together. So smart and gonna try that out. Thanks again Jen

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  33. I'm interested in the article you read about BPA - I followed the link and didn't see it.

    I love this, btw!!!

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  34. Hey Jen! Thanks for the great fridge post, and well for your blog. I'm a fellow organizing addict but I'm not done with school quite yet so finding coherent time to clean is a bit of a challenge right now. So your blog has become something of a guilty pleasure of mine when I might have a few minutes between things. On to the point- I noticed you pretty much only use glass storage in your fridge (and you buy your milk in glass bottles). Is there a reason for that? And I can't even imagine how much milk you must go through! Those little bottles wouldn't make it a week in my house. How does the organic glass-bottled milk compare to the gallon jugs in price? I don't ever remember seeing anything like them at my local grocery store, so maybe it's a regional thing?

    Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah!

      I always use glass just because I feel like it gets colder and stays colder longer. It's my own theory, but with boys who leave the milk out when they have their morning breakfast, I like to keep it as cold as possible.

      Our local grocery store does the organic milk in glass, there is a small deposit for the glass, that you receive back when you return them to the store.

      xo!
      Jen

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  35. Hi! I am a fellow addict of cleaning and organizing. I don't have kids yet but have an Air Force husband that keeps me on my toes Two great tips for you: Press 'N Seal by Glad helps so much (I just use it on my solid surfaces in my fridge and peel off at the end of the week) and also those glass containers can be found at any Bed Bath and Beyond and what is nice is that the coupons they send to your address never expire so you can use a 20% coupon for every item you purchase! You have inspired me to draw before I organize ;) thanks so much!!!

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  36. I know it's been a long time since you've posted this, but I'm hoping you might come around and answer my question... I've been storing my eggs/yogurt sort of the way you do, but I find it a total pain to not be able to see the ones in the back (different flavors) and to have to constantly re-organize them to make sure the ones with the more imminent "use by date" are near the front. Do you have a strategy for this or do you just reorganize each week? I am thinking of getting some sort of tray (cookie sheet maybe?) that I can pull in and out of the fridge to make it easier... thoughts?

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    1. Hi Katie!

      Yes! I now keep my yogurts in a basket instead. It has worked much better for me this way!

      Glad you followed up!

      xo!

      Delete

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