Speed meal prep: those are like magic words.Especially if you live alone and don’t want to bother spending hours on recipes for one, or you’re serving a family that doesn’t care to wait more than 20 minutes for a meal. Did you know if you just reorganize your refrigerator and freezer according to spaces you access multiple times a day, you could streamline the entire meal prep process? Organizing not only decreases stress levels but can also help save you money by making ingredients you might have forgotten you have more visible. Here are some tips from The Container Store on how to learn the recipe for successful organization in your most often used kitchen appliance: the refrigerator!

ChefOpenCropTake Inventory

Discard out of date items or items you will not likely use.

Take Advantage of Adjustable Shelves, Drawers and Baskets

Many shoppers like to buy the same brands (with the same packaging) over and over again, taking time to set your shelves and drawers accordingly will save you time in the long run.

Organize Food Items by Size

This creates a function for each shelf and makes it easier to locate your small, hard to see items.

Store items in jars or bottles in the refrigerator door and bagged items in the freezer door. 


Keep the Most Often Used Items in Front

Create easy access the whole family will appreciate. You may also find that ready-made snacks are helpful to curb your cravings — fresh fruit or veggies that are pre-washed and ready to eat will suddenly seem more enticing! 


Label Your Meals

When you get home from the grocery store, group items you’re going to use for a meal in a bin labeled with the day. For example, carrots, celery, cheese and chicken in a bin labeled “Monday” for that night’s casserole.

Don’t Forget the Baking Soda

Keeping an open box of baking soda in the back corner helps combat odors. Vanilla extract will also keep your fridge fresh. Soak a cotton ball or paper towel, put it on a paper plate and wait for it to dry before removing.

Keep it Clean

Clean out both your fridge and your freezer once a month. Make it part of your household cleaning routine. Doing so will make it easier to know what you have and what you still need, in addition to keeping the areas clean.