Organizing refrigerators and pantries is not just for aesthetics; it’s necessary. Membership shopping, cheaper delivery fees and the community quarantine have forced Filipino households to buy in bulk.
Products are often cheaper when bought wholesale and delivery fees are often waived when you reach a certain amount. The problem starts when you forget that you have all these items because they are pushed to the back or hidden at the bottom of a storage box.
This is why having an organized pantry is necessary. The area must also be kept hygienic to keep rats and cockroaches away. And you must also have a system so you can easily find the item you are looking for when you need it.
We tapped organizing enthusiast and Neat Obsessions girl boss Issa Guico Reyes to help us organize our pantries and fridges better. For starters, Reyes said that we should study and follow our fridge’s zones.
“Our fridge came in our homes with built-in zones for every type of food to maximize their shelf life. There is a space meant for produce, meat, fish, eggs and beverages,” she said.
Homemakers can create their own food categories so they can easily find a snack, condiment or spread when needed.
Reyes suggested investing in turntables or pull-out bins for easy access. “Most of the time, food stored at the back of the fridge expires or gets neglected simply because it takes a lot of effort to get them.”
The needs of the household should also be considered. Reyes cites a carton of milk as an example. If there are kids in the house who consume it every day, the carton should be within their reach. She said that the same concept should be applied to other food items.
Leftover food should be stored in clear food containers, she added.
“This has always been one of the most efficient practices we have at home, because putting leftover food in glass containers allows us to see what food we have left. We can also just pop it in the microwave. It saves us a lot of time and energy,” she said.
The mother of three said that she also avoids storing leftover food in their original takeaway containers because there might be germs and bacteria. Food may also not look as enticing the following day. Another option is to cook just enough for a meal to avoid leftovers.
One should also practice having a system on pantries. Reyes said that items needed on a daily basis should be placed in accessible areas while items that you don’t use daily can be placed in higher areas. She also suggested storing the heavy and fragile items in accessible shelves to avoid accidents.
“Decant items that you can measure. Food items in different sizes and shapes of packaging can easily make shelves look cluttered,” she said. “Decant items in uniform containers, label them accordingly, and write/print out expiry dates as well. Also, there’s no need to decant food items that you consume in one cooking, such as pasta or noodles.”
For better efficiency, she suggested clustering food items that go together. For example, pasta and noodles can be placed close to sauces. Shelf risers should also be used to maximize vertical space of pantry shelves that are too tall for food items.
Finally, she suggested using organizing bins and baskets sparingly.
“Not everything in the pantry should be stored in bins or baskets, as some food items are fast moving. Before buying organizing solutions, make sure first that you know what you will store inside your pantry, then decide which of them need to be stored inside bins or baskets,” she said. INQ