8 Easy Ways to Make Your Fridge Work for You

The refrigerator is certainly the hardest working appliance in any kitchen. (No offense, Mr. Oven!) For those who don’t cook, it’s busy holding your leftover takeout and bottles of wine; for those who do, it’s a constantly rotating repository for a mini grocery-store’s worth of goods. No matter how you use it, regular maintenance — plus a couple just-for-looks tricks — can help you love your fridge more and more, every day. Here’s what to do.

1. Schedule regular cleanings.

No one ever wants to clean out the fridge — until there’s some sort of mysterious odor that requires investigation. Our best advice? Just do it. Put it on your calendar: About once a month, plan to spend an hour cleaning the fridge. Take everything out, toss anything that’s gross, and wipe down the shelves. The more often you do it, the quicker it’ll go.

See the steps: How To Clean the Refrigerator

2. Date everything.

This is something I swear by. Who has time to think about when they last used that wedge of cheese, and whether or not it was blue cheese to begin with? Anytime you open a new container or toss a leftover into the fridge, take a second to label it with a marker (or a piece of tape and a marker, if you don’t want the label to be permanent) and you’ll spend less time wondering if your dinner will give you GI issues.

3. Banish odors.

If everything’s sealed up properly, your fridge shouldn’t smell — but sometimes you cook something so potent, the scent leaches out anyway. And sometimes you just, um, don’t seal things properly (whoops!). I can’t stress this enough: Donate a box of baking soda to your fridge in order to keep smells at bay.

Get to it: How To Freshen a Smelly Refrigerator

4. Invest in matching storage containers.

No, this is not just a Type-A person thing: Having containers from the same set turns them into modular blocks that stack neatly on top of each other instead of tipping and sliding out of the fridge when you open the door. Opt for clear versions, ideally made of glass, so you can see exactly what you’ve got at all times.