The Incredible Shrinking Refrigerator

LAT1963 Posts: 1,375 Member
edited August 2019 in Motivation and Support
I have a refrigerator full of food so that there's no room to put more in it, yet when I go to try to put together a meal I have nothing to eat.

How does this happen?

How do you guys approach managing refrigerator space so that you have enough healthy fresh food and nothing in the back turns to mulch before you can eat it? Is this some secret of "adulting" that nobody bothered to teach me?


  • BarbaraHelen2013
    BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,877 Member
    Good advice above, to start with! Impulse buying is probably my biggest problem. 😳 I’m a keen cook and love to experiment!

    I often find myself with far more food than I could eat in a month. No room in the fridge, or the cupboards, for that matter...but then nothing to eat either!

    Some of it is not about ‘nothing to eat’ but ‘nothing I want to eat/can be bothered to prepare and cook’. When it’s that I just make myself do it, or decide I wasn’t hungry anyway!

    I also empty my fridge once a week, give it all a wipe down whilst I can, then rearrange stuff so the items that need using up first are at the front. This helps a lot with food waste because not only can I see immediately what I should use I’ve also spent all day knowing what was in there so have already subconsciously formulated a vague plan on how to use it.

    Same with the cupboards, but that’s more like once every two weeks that I go through and mentally inventory/tidy them.
  • GrizzledSquirrel
    GrizzledSquirrel Posts: 120 Member
    All of the above.

    Also - get to grips with soups and salads.
    Soups are great for using up all that veg that has started to look a bit sad. Whizz up with a stock cube, maybe some herbs, that last bit of blue cheese - get creative. You can even add lettuce and fruit (an apple can be great in some soups)

    Salads - thing have to be fresh, yes - but you can always put some combo of veg together and again - make more interesting with a few hard boiled eggs, nuts, dried fruits, croutons (made from leftover stale bread), cheese. The good thing about a salad is you don’t need much of any one thing to make something delicious and satisfying.

    Use your creativity and love of cooking to come up with some awesome combinations. Cooks such as Nigel Slater (UK) is always very good on leftovers - look up his “Simple Suppers” show or pretty much any of his books.
  • mochapygmy
    mochapygmy Posts: 2,123 Member
    A lot of space is taken up by jars and jars of condiments. Sometimes people have multiple bottles of the same exact ones and more than one open. Check the expiration dates on all of them. Make sure all similar items are grouped together

    I try and eat down the contents of my fridge/ freezer and pantry 1-3x a year. Check the expiration dates of the food in your pantry too and if bought something "aspirational" that you won't make donate/ give it away before it goes bad.
  • LyndaBSS
    LyndaBSS Posts: 6,971 Member
    edited August 2019
    I keep most of my seafood frozen and only put in fridge the day before I eat it.

    Most veggies and fruit don't need refrigeration so that saves tons of space.

    I don't drink anything other than water and the very occasional glass of wine, so there are no huge bottles taking up valuable space.

    I sort my fridge according to temperature, the top shelf being warmest, the bottom coolest. The top shelf is used for leftovers, mushrooms and defrosting fish.

    Middle shelf is eggs and berries.

    Bottom shelf is Ezekial and lavash breads and wraps, along with carrots and celery.

    Door is bottled ingredients like salad dressings, fish oil, mustards, pestos, one bottle of wine, 1 bag of Hershey dark chocolate kisses and the butter container.

    Cheese drawer has cheeses and sugar snap peas.

    Crisper drawers have veggies that need refrigeration like lettuce, spinach and brocolli.
  • LAT1963
    LAT1963 Posts: 1,375 Member
    I think the condiment containers are part of my issue. No duplicates but some are things I use very rarely.

    I drink milk at bedtime for the tryptophan-->(biology)-->melatonin, to offset the effects of artificial lighting (I hope). It does make me sleepy. But I buy pasteurized un-homogenized bottled milk, so that takes up some space.
  • grinning_chick
    grinning_chick Posts: 765 Member
    Meal plan, eat leftovers until gone before putting together something new, stick to a grocery list more often than not, only shop for 7-10-14 days max at a time if planning to eat things that can last a week before being used. Condiments get checked and ruthlessly culled 1-2X/year. I eat down pantry, cabinets, and both freezers at least once a year as well since I will stockpile when raving deals on things I routinely use are present.

    The only times I have a fridge space logistics problem is when I impulse buy BOGO free chicken breast family packs or pork shoulders are under $1.49/lbs. when I look. But the problem only lasts until the chicken is poached and the shoulders turned into carnitas/caramel pork/etc. and all frozen.
  • LyndaBSS
    LyndaBSS Posts: 6,971 Member

    What is caramel pork? Sounds yummy!