The Functional Fridge
9 chilling ways to get your kitchen's cold storage to work for you
The family fridge is one of the hardest working appliances in the house. Are you getting the most out of yours? Here are 10 easy ways you can save energy, improve storage efficiency, and ensure healthy food gets eaten, not wasted.
1. UPGRADE AN OLD FRIDGE
Today’s refrigerators run more efficiently than those from a generation ago. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star consumer agency, refrigerators made before 1993 cost $50 more to run per year, while those made before 1980 cost $150 more per year in utility costs! Replacing that avocado green dinosaur with a new Energy Star certified model makes environmental sense—not to mention design sense.
2. MAKE A MEAL PLAN
For busy families, eating out can become a default habit. Often this can lead to perfectly good food being tossed in the trash. Plan your week realistically and write weekly menus, factoring in convenience food nights (i.e. heat-and-serve entrees), eating-out nights, and cooking-from-scratch nights, and buy what you need for each meal. Avoid impulse buys. This will lead to a less-cluttered fridge and not as much waste.
3. TACKLE LEFTOVERS, FAST
Save money, stress, and cut your intake of fatty fast food all at the same time, by packing leftovers immediately after dinner each night. Break out the TakeAlongs single-serving storage containers, and have each family member pack what they want for lunch the next day. Put them in the fridge, with name labels so they’re ready to go the next morning.
4. MAINTAIN CLEANLINESS
Although the cold refrigerator environment slows the growth of bacteria, it is still crucial to wipe up spills with paper towels and a cleaning agent to avoid food contamination. Mop up liquid, then spray cleaning product directly onto fresh paper towels and wipe again.
5. COMBAT ODOR
Besides cleaning spills and washing the interior of the fridge once a month, be sure to store a box of baking soda in there all the time to absorb and neutralize odor.
6. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE SETTING
Opt for the manufacturer suggested fridge and freezer settings on your temperature control dial. They are set for optimal general performance and efficiency. The minimum setting may not cool an entire fridge of food properly, while the maximum setting can freeze salad leaves and vegetables.
7. USE YOUR CRISPERS
The fruit and vegetable crisper drawers in your refrigerator control humidity and temperature to help keep produce fresh. For optimal freshness, store your produce in Rubbermaid’s Produce Saver food storage containers inside your crisper.
8. ADOPT THE 1-MINUTE RULE
If you hate finding the milk on the counter when you get home from work, adopt the “One-Minute Rule”: anything that comes out of the fridge has to go back in within a minute. Milk gets poured and returned, dip gets spooned into a bowl and returned, yogurt comes out of the tub and returned.
9. SAVE SPACE
Use similar containers to save space (stacking, where possible), and avoid the confusion of overlooking leftovers stored in butter containers or foil wrap. Use products including Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lids family to make fridge-surfing easier for all.
Searching for lids can be a stressful chore when you’re trying to pack a lunch in the morning or get leftovers into the fridge before starting homework or housework. Rubbermaid’s new Easy Find Lid food storage series is the perfect solution. The lids stack together, or snap onto container bases, so you’ll never lose one. Plus each lid matches multiple container base sizes. The containers also nest together to save space in your cupboard. Their super-clarified construction makes it easy to identify the contents, whether in the fridge or the freezer.
Learn more about Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids