refrigeratorYour refrigerator and what you keep in it (along with how you keep it) can say a lot about you.
A cluttered and dirty refrigerator can not only spoil your food, but your mood too!

Eating healthy, eliminating wasteful spending, and having order in your refrigerator can improve your life in many ways.

You want to keep your fridge as clutter-free as possible so cold air can circulate properly.

Here are some guidelines to follow…
1. Upper Shelf: For easy access, store last night’s leftovers and healthy, snack-size munchies (baby carrots, celery sticks, cheese sticks, etc.) in a clear, plastic container here. When you are hungry for a quick bit these should be the easiest things to reach for. Make sugar free drinks (like Crystal Light or Wylers) and keep them easily accessible.

2. Top Shelf: Put the most perishable items – such as milk, eggs, sour cream, and yogurt – in this cool spot. This is the closest spot to the fan. (Eggs kept in the door will go bad faster from the changing temperature every time you open and close the door.) Tip – To buy the freshest eggs, don’t go by the ‘expiration’ or ‘sell-by’ date on the carton. Every carton has a #1 to #365 printed on the side. That number is the day of the year the eggs were packed. If one carton has the #225 and the next has #240, the eggs with the #240 are 15 days fresher!

3. Middle Shelf: This is the ideal place to store lunch meats that are stored in airtight containers (not in the bags provided by the deli counter). Lunch meat can spoil quickly if not stored properly. If the meat has a sweet smell or has a slippery/slimy coating, toss it out. Before storing hot soups or sauces, let them cool on the counter for no more than two hours or chill the soup container in  ice water before refrigerating. Otherwise, the heat from the soups/sauces can raise the refrigerators temperature. Tip – Keep the fridge set at 34 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer set at zero degrees Fahrenheit or less. These temperatures help prevent the growth of microorganisms that can cause food to spoil.

4. Bottom Shelf/Drawer: Raw meats and poultry should be kept on the lowest level to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods, which can pose a safety risk. If you have two bottom drawers, store candies, soda, beer, and other ‘junk’ foods in the top drawer. If they are out of sight you are less likely to think about or reach for them when you have a craving.
5. Butter Hood And Egg Cups On Door: These are cute compartments, but should be left for nonfood items like batteries, medications, and makeup. Butter and eggs can quickly lose quality due to the area being too warm. 6. Door Shelves: Use this space for foods that are not so temperature-sensitive, like salad dressings, ketchup, and jelly. Store dry herbs and spices that are not used frequently here as well. The cool, dark refrigerator will help to keep the flavors of the herbs and spices to last longer.

6. Door Shelves: Use this space for foods that are not so temperature-sensitive, like salad dressing, ketchup, and jelly. This is also the ideal space to store dried herbs and spices since the coolness of the refrigerator help keep the flavors lasting longer.

Tip: Have a pre-printed list of foods commonly consumed on or near the refrigerator for easy access. Highlight or check off items that need to be purchased. Just grab-n-go next time you head to the super market.