In today’s post, Nancy tells all about an area in her home that she struggles to keep organized. To me the big takeaway is this: sometimes it makes sense to make peace with a bit of disorder. In the case of Nancy’s fridge, she would actually have to change some pretty useful time-saving and money-saving habits to address her refrigerator disorder. Are there areas in your home that could benefit from the same thought process? Read on and see!

Aby

Organizing fail: my refrigerator 

Is there a spot in your house you just can’t keep organized? For me, it’s the refrigerator.

I wish I could arrange items in my fridge in a way that feels more logical. I would like to keep all the produce together, for instance. Or to have a consistent spot to put food I am defrosting or otherwise holding for the next night’s dinner. But the truth is, my refrigerator is not huge. Storing my carrots away from my other produce may bother me in theory, but in practice, it’s not that big a deal.

So what really bothers me? The way my refrigerator defies my attempts to easily remove and return food. In every other part of my kitchen, I’ve arranged things for ease of use: keeping only essential tools, using turntables, avoiding stacking. But in the fridge, I am constantly moving items around to get what I need. I often have to remove several things to reach the one I want.

Sometimes when I see a picture of a beautifully organized refrigerator I wonder, Does its owner always buy foods that are the same size? Because I don’t. For instance, right now a really big bag of kale—much more than I usually buy—is blocking several other items. Half a watermelon is hogging half a shelf. So yes, I think refrigerators are inherently tricky to organize, because they often house varying sizes and types of food.

But I wondered what else might be blocking my own organizing attempts. I realized that my preference for once-a-week grocery shopping plays a part, because it leaves my refrigerator very full when I get home. Thinking about this made me feel better: I’d rather deal with a crammed refrigerator than make extra shopping trips. I also store food in ways that take up extra space. To save washing extra dishes, I often keep food in the bowls or pots I prepared it in, and I prefer to use glass containers instead of plastic bags. These take up a lot more room, but it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.

Then there’s the freezer section. My family freezes stuff that a lot of people don’t. All of our bread goes in the freezer, for instance, and lots of other baked goods. I portion out measured ingredients for later use (applesauce, leftover egg whites, grated cheese). And then there are the doubled-up recipes I try to make (eat one tonight, freeze one for another night). It’s a constantly shifting mix of foods and containers, and I have never been able to make it fit into a nice, organized system. But again: storing this stuff in my freezer makes my life easier in many ways, so I’m OK with the inconvenience of digging through it all.

I suppose I could change my habits and finally impose a good organizational system in my refrigerator. But in this case—and it’s a rare one in my house!—I’m willing to abide some disorganization. So for now I’ll focus on how lucky I am to own a fridge and to be able to keep it well stocked. After all, lots of people are not so fortunate. And I’ll remember how helpful it is to have the other areas of my kitchen, and my home overall, well organized and running smoothly.

Are you able to keep an organized refrigerator? Do you have any other trouble spots in your home?

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Nancy Vorsanger loves how her organized home makes her family’s life easier. She opened her own organizing business to help other families get—and stay—organized, with practical, no-fuss strategies tailored to their own needs and lifestyles. Nancy also loves coffee, word games, blogs, her husband, and her children—not in that order. She lives in central New Jersey.

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