Fridges are feeling the pandemic pinch right now, and that’s no surprise. We’re all cooking more at home, and that, mixed with the urge to stock up and the need to make fewer trips out for groceries, means our refrigerators are maxing out.
Rest assured, postpandemic, we’ll be saving money for larger refrigerators. But for now, a 25-cubic-foot Bosch French Door stainless-steel model is the stuff of dreams (on sale for $3,495 at Coast Appliances, for those lucky enough to still have a big paycheque rolling in).
Look instead to the hashtag #FridgeGoals: it’s a thing. No teetering condiments, no Saran-Wrapped leftovers, no fading vegetable sprigs caught in the crisper drawers here: on Instagram lies a serene new world of neatly arranged, and sometimes even meticulously labelled or colour-coordinated, containers. They’ll inspire you to declutter and take on the art of cold-storage organization—an approach that will save your sanity, help you to preserve produce longer, and cost a lot less than a gleaming new Bosch.
Armed with your new ideas, first prep your 20-year-old Whirlpool or Frigidaire with a good cleaning with old-fashioned soap and water. Check the pull dates, and make some room for clean air to circulate.
When you’re ready to tackle reorganizing, here are some pieces that will help compartmentalize your consumables so they aren’t exploding from every shelf and drawer.
Plastic is passé. Instead, store your leftovers in glass—with the added bonus that you can see what’s in there before it’s too late. The best basic set might be the Pyrex Simply Store Glass 18-piece food-storage set, whose stackable rectangular and circular containers won’t hold odours and can withstand a preheated oven, a microwave, a freezer, or a dishwasher. Yes, the lids are plastic, but they’re colourful, BPA-free, and top-rack dishwasher-safe ($58 at Amazon.ca). Some container brands even claim to prolong the life of your fruits and vegetables.
The Prepworks Produce Keeper has an innovative design featuring dual vents that provide air flow that is supposed to double the lifespan of your produce ($20.49 to $38.49 at Bed Bath & Beyond). And in a bright lime hue, Debbie Meyer’s GreenBoxes are BPA-free and made from food-grade polypropylene and natural substances. Stackable and microwave- and dishwasher-safe, they’re designed to prolong the life of everything from baking to leftovers and vegetables ($26.59 for a 32-piece set in a range of sizes at Amazon.ca).
Summer is berry season, and strawberries or raspberries can get crushed in an overpacked fridge. Get them out of their cardboard containers and into something like the InterDesign Fridge Binz Clear Stackable Berry Basket ($8.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond). The vented design lets air circulate to keep items fresh, while openings allow for washing and draining. For something pretty enough to leave out on the counter, we also love Crate and Barrel’s Berry Box White Colander ($6.95), a crisp porcelain version of the classic farmers-market standard. It doubles as a colander.
I’ll drink to that
And finally, let’s get to what might be the most important storage riddle in your fridge during the pandemic: where to put your booze. Beer drinkers clogging up fridge shelves with radlers and pale ales should check out the InterDesign Fridge Tipper Organizer for “soft-drink cans”—a rounded dispenser that neatly packs nine cans and is grabbed easily without knocking the nearby egg carton on the floor ($19.94 for one, $36.99 for two, $110 for set of six at Amazon.ca). As for wine fans, they can neatly stow their Mission Hill 2019 Reserve Rosé and Bianca Vigna Prosecco in InterDesign’s stackable, transparent three-bottle holder ($86 at Amazon.ca).