Refrigerator Organization

Freezer and Refrigerator

Putting things in order is a vital skill that every boy should be taught in preparation for them to become future men and leaders and to manage their own households. A man with a shop out of order may spend a lot of time searching for a misplaced tool and this is a great waste of time that could have been avoided if everything is well-organized and each tool is kept in the proper place.

Boys can also learn about helping their mother put things in order (such as the refrigerator) because if things are not organized well then some food containers can be forgotten and the food inside them can spoil and be wasted because it is not used.

Another problem with food storage is using numerous containers of various brands. If these containers all use “different-sized” dimensions then it can be hard to find lid-sizes to match the containers. This means it can be confusing and a lot of time can be wasted trying to find the right-sized lid for a container (when they have similar dimensions (appear that they might fit) but in fact they are not compatible.

Various Brands of Containers

Over the years we accumulated a wide assortment of various brands of containers that did not have the same exact dimensions (meaning that the lid sizes were not compatible (so much time was wasted trying to sort through the various sized lids trying to find one that fit the container we wanted to use.

Various Sized Round Container

Also we discovered that round-containers were not good for the best utilization of the available space within the refrigerator. There is a lot of wasted space that exists between these round food containers.

Random Assortment of Sizes

Even if the containers were rectangle or square-shaped, they often were not compatible for arrangement within the available refrigerator shelf-space.

Large Containers are a Space Waster

Often, if we cooked a large batch of food and placed that food in a large food storage container, then that container would take up a lot of space as the food was consumed inside. This resulted in a partially-filled “big-container” that was taking up a lot of space (even when there was only a small amount of food remaining inside).

Three Containers of Uniform Size

We discovered that if we put one batch of food into three uniform sized containers, then we can remove and wash each container as the food inside was consumed. Thus, we are not taking up all of the space within the refrigerator by having big food containers that are only partially full.

Over-Filled Refrigerator

Used Large Refrigerator

The situation got so bad with the lack of storage space in our refrigerator at home, that I actually considered buying a larger refrigerator because we were always running out of room. The problem however was that the “refrigerator-space” available in our kitchen for installing a refrigerator was limited and would not accept a giant-sized refrigerator (needed to gain more storage space). Also, the increased refrigerator size would require more energy to operate and thus increase our monthly energy bills.

Answer Found in Organized Containers

Plastic Trays

I happened to find some plastic trays that fit the top shelf of my refrigerator perfectly. These trays allowed us to pull out small containers (inside the trays) so we could easily find food items even if they were in the back (so nothing was forgotten or left to spoil).

Top Shelf Tray Reaches Back

This plastic tray just happened to be the perfect length to reach all the way to the back of the shelf and it also reaches fully to the front of the shelf. It was unusual to find something that fit so perfectly.

Five Trays Fit on Top Shelf

As it turned out, five of these trays had the perfect width, so that all five fit upon one-shelf with no space wasted between them and no space wasted on the sides.

Trays Hold Boxes of Uniform Size

These five trays happened to hold food storage containers of uniform size (same outside perimeter) and which all used the same-sized uniform lids.

Short and Tall Boxes of Same Lid-Size

I found some containers of the same brand that use the “same-sized” lids for both the tall and short containers. These containers happen to fit perfectly within these trays (with no wasted space).

Tall Container Holds 850ml
Short Container Holds 400ml

Both the tall and the short containers (pictured above) have the exact same lid size. This means that these can use the same lid so things are greatly simplified in finding the right size lid when using these containers and these containers all happen to fit within the trays perfectly.

Two 400ml Stacked and One 850ml

The image above shows two 400ml food containers stacked on top of each other (as seen on the left-side tray). The tray pictured on the right side has one 850ml food container (which is the same height as the two 400ml containers stacked on the left). The short 400ml containers are nice for small portions and the tall 850ml containers work well for larger portions. No space is wasted because these containers replaced the “over-sized” and partially filled big containers which we had previously used.

Two Stacked 400ml Same Height as one 850ml

When I began to sort out all of the odd-sized old containers and the old round containers, I found that I could put almost everything on one shelf. Most of the refrigerator space was cleared and the contents of the old containers fit into these 400ml and 850ml containers seen above. This was amazing because I thought we needed a new larger refrigerator to gain more space, when actually all we needed was to use the proper-sized containers that fit perfectly without wasting any space.

Five Trays on One Shelf with Two Container Types

The five trays on the top shelf ended up being able to clear out most of the room in the refrigerator because they enabled us to get rid of all of the odd-sized and round-shaped and over-sized containers that were wasting so much space. We did not need to buy a larger refrigerator but only needed to organize it using containers that fit perfectly (with no space wasted).

Non-Uniform Sized Containers

Non-Uniform Containers

These mismatched sized containers were the problem. The round containers wasted a lot of space. The various brands did not have compatible lid sizes so this wasted time trying to find a lid to fit them. The stainless-steel boxes were not transparent and a steamy lid made it difficult to see what was inside. The stainless boxes were also too large so they took up a lot of space when they were partially full. We donated all of these odd-sized containers to a nursing home and they were happy to receive them. But it was time for us to get rid of them and set our refrigerator in order at home.

Sometimes we do not need a larger refrigerator but just need to use the space wisely in the refrigerator we already have. When we used food containers that did not waste space, then we gained a lot of available space within our existing refrigerator (which had formerly been overfilled).

1.22 Liter Food Container

For the middle shelf of the refrigerator, I found that these 1.22-Liter food containers (pictured above) which worked well.

1.22-Liter Food Containers

The 1.22-Liter food containers can be stacked two (or even three) containers high and they can be placed “two-containers” deep so these happen to fill the second-shelf with the best potential use of space.

Second Self Below First Shelf

This second shelf (pictured below the first shelf) happen to hold these 1.22-Liter food containers with little wasted space. These can be seen [two-stacked-on-top-of-each-other] and two-deep but they actually can be [stacked three-on-top-of-each-other] if need be.

Second Shelf with Five 1.22-Liter Food Containers Across Width of Shelf

These boxes will fit “five-across” the width of the second-shelf with “two-deep” and can be stacked “three-high.” So, this would be a total of 30-pieces of 1.22-liter food containers that would fit on the second shelf alone. 30-containers holding 1.22-liters each would total of over 36-liters of food storage for just one shelf!

Loose Food Items Beside 1.22-Liter Containers

We found we were unable to use all of “the-potential-food-storage-space” we have available if we filled this second-shelf completely with 30-pieces of 1.22-liter food containers. So, we use some of the shelf-space to pile some loose food items on the left side (beside these 1.22-liter “stacked” food containers).

650ml Square Food Container

I discovered that the 650ml-square food containers fit the best for the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

650ml Square Containers on Bottom Shelf

We keep our egg-trays on the bottom shelf so we wanted to have some containers that would fit beside the egg-trays (without wasting space). As it turns out, we can have three-650ml square food boxes fit the width of the shelf perfectly (next to the egg trays on the bottom shelf). These will also stack three-deep and three-high so there is room for 27-pieces of 650ml square food containers beside the egg trays (if this much room is needed). 650ml x 27 = 17.55-liters of storage container-space on the third-shelf (stacked beside the egg-trays).

As it turns out, we now have more than enough refrigerator space since we organized this. We do not even use all of the containers that can fit into the refrigerator since it has been organized so well.

Lid Sizes Now Organized

The situation with our lid sizes have been greatly simplified since the time we replaced all of the odd-sized containers. The 400ml and 850ml all use the same sized lid. The 1.22-Liter boxes use the same size lid and these lids are easy to distinguish from the square-shaped lids of the 650ml containers. This means that at just a glance we can easily find the right-sized lids for all four different-sized containers.

We did not even purchase enough food containers to completely fill all available space in the refrigerator. But now it seems that we do not even use all of the boxes we have because there is still a surplus of them on waiting on the shelf. This was truly amazing since I no longer have to buy a larger refrigerator to hold everything. We have more-than-enough surplus space available (which we are not even using now).

Three Lid Types

It is easy to find the right lid size because we have a large and small rectangle shaped lid and a square lid and these three lid sizes fit all four-types of food containers we have.

Four Sizes of Food Containers

There are four-types of food containers (the square container) seen on the left side of this image. The tall and short containers (seen in the center of this image) and all of these use the same small-sized rectangular lid. The large 1.22-liter food container (seen on the right side of this image) uses the large-size rectangular lid. Therefore, it is easy to see at a glance which lids fit the right containers This can save a lot of time in trying to find lids that fit when a particular container is needed for food storage.

Developing Boy’s Logic and Reasoning

If we teach the boys how to measure the depth and width and height of the refrigerator shelves, they could find containers that work best for each shelf. In this manner, they can greatly simplify the storage space within the refrigerator and move from having a “shortage of space” to actually having a “surplus of extra space” (once the refrigerator is organized properly).

Adapt and Overcome and Try and Experiment

Packaging and Tape

When doing a project like this, I have to bring the shelf measurements with me to the store and look for containers that might fit. But sometimes we have to try various sizes (in a “hit-and-miss” manner) in order to see what works. If I find something is not the right size, then I can easily replace the labels and packaging in a “new condition” and then return them to the store for a refund or exchange so I can get the “right-sized” containers. I use some special tape with “mild adhesive” so it can easily be removed and replaced if needed. Tape with “overly-strong” adhesive can tear the paper off the label and deface it. I have learned how to remove labels carefully and preserve them so in the event I need to return or exchange things, (then I can) because everything is still in “new condition” with the labels intact and not defaced or wrinkled or torn.

This is part of the process we can teach boys so they can become problem-solvers and innovate and keep trying until they find the perfect fit on containers or “other things” used for their projects.