Organizing guru Marie Kondo is bringing mindfulness to cluttered closets around the world, but we have yet to see her tackle a refrigerator. It’s not for lack of opportunity—a fridge shelf packed with foods in various stages of freshness isn’t all that different from the messy closet drawers Kondo loves to purge, and her methods may work even better with food than with socks. For one thing, it won’t take long to determine what to keep and what to part with. After all, the only joy sparked by a forgotten take-out container with moldy food will be the thought of quickly placing it into the green bin.
Now let’s get started properly, Marie Kondo-style. The 10-minute Fridge Reality Check can help guide you as you take everything out of the refrigerator and assess. What is spoiled or no longer edible? As you take those foods out of their packaging, thank them for the nutrition they once held and gently place them into the compost bin. Now onto the rest. How can you organize foods so they are easy to find and maybe even help you prevent them from going to waste? Marie Kondo’s rule of keeping similar items together is a good guide. You probably already do that, storing condiments on the refrigerator door and produce in the crisper. Consider adding another category—perishable foods that need to be eaten soon, like leftovers from yesterday’s dinner, open containers of dairy, and other partially used ingredients. Consider giving those items a prominent place in your fridge at eye level, maybe even marked with an “Eat This First” sign as a reminder. You can download and print one at www.stopfoodwaste.org/resources.
After you’ve placed your food back into the fridge, take a moment to reflect. Does a well-organized fridge feel good? To keep the joy coming—and prevent food from going to waste in the future—check out the tools, tips, and recipes at www.stopfoodwaste.org.