Having an organized refrigerator (you know, the kind with fruits and veggies in pretty reusable produce bags and snacks neatly packaged in pull-out dividers) is a level of adult I have yet to reach. But according to Marie Kondo, it's actually easier than you'd think—and has nothing to do with those perfectly labeled inserts crowding up my Pinterest feed.
Instead, Kondo (of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo fame on Netflix) says it has everything to do with making the most of your space. Here's the trendy organizer's top tip for a more put-together refrigerator along with our own expert's favorite hacks.
How Marie Kondo recommends organizing your refrigerator
It's simple: Think less is more. That's what Kondo posted on her Instagram story, writing, "Don’t stuff your fridge. Keep it about 30% empty and use the extra space for leftovers and new groceries." After all, the more open space you have, the more room you have to organize and separate your food in a way that makes sense for you.
Why you shouldn't keep your fridge completely full
Not only can an overly full refrigerator look more cluttered and disorganized, but it can also make it easy to forget to use things up before they go bad (a.k.a making it a smelly mess!).
"Keeping your fridge well below capacity (but still well-stocked) helps it stay organized and helps you eat more of the food you actually have and prevent food waste," our kitchen and cooking editor, Cassidy Olsen, explains. "If you can actually see and access everything you have, you're more likely to eat it. Also, it allows the room for leftovers you might otherwise toss out."
Our expert's tips for an organized refrigerator
While Cassidy admits she might be a little extra when it comes to her own fridge ("I'm constantly organizing, cleaning, and trying to reduce the amount of food in my fridge, particularly when I'm feeling anxious"), she also says, "I think everyone could benefit from a chilled-out version of my own approach: know what's in your fridge, keep it clean and organized, and your life is going to be better."
Cassidy also recommends frequently checking for expired food and, to prevent mold and unpleasant odors, keeping a box of baking soda or a fridge deodorizer inside.
And once you have your fridge organized to your liking, leave it alone, says our kitchen and cooking staff writer, Valerie Li. "Moving food from one part of the fridge to another exposes it to more temperature fluctuations, which decreases its quality while increasing the speed at which it spoils," she advises.