The Smart Fridge Hack That’ll Help You Eat Your Fruits & Veggies (and Waste Less Produce!)

published Sep 14, 2021
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Man opening refrigerator. You can see lettuce, green onions, carrots, and other produce in the door. The rest of the fridge is full of food.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Tom Hoerup

If you need more motivation to eat your veggies, this tip is for you! A TikTok video has been making the rounds showing @domesticblisters filling up her fridge. While that doesn’t sound like an interesting watch, there’s a twist: In addition to the refrigerator being pristine, she doesn’t organize it in the usual way. Rather, she places her condiments in the crisper drawer (gasp!) and the fruits, veggies, snacks, and drinks front and center on the side door!

I honestly didn’t think too much about this method when I first saw the video — wasn’t the crisper drawer designed to keep produce at the proper temperature and humidity? And wouldn’t moving your fresh stuff encourage it to go bad faster? — that is, until I found out a friend rearranged her fridge this way a few weeks ago, and she is “forever changed.” “Tell me more,” I said!

My friend pointed out that she and her partner were letting vegetables and fruit languish in the crisper, which is inconveniently well-hidden at the bottom of the fridge. As @domesticblisters notes, you don’t need to look at your condiments all of the time, so why not bring the fresh stuff up to eye level? By sticking condiments in the bottom and moving fresh food up to the door and upper shelves, the healthy, perishable stuff will be the first thing you see.

I talked to Jason Tetro, author of The Germ Code, to see if my concerns about moving produce out of the crisper and into the door were founded. He explained that while the crisper does provide the right temperature and humidity, you can get good results in the rest of the fridge with the following tips. If you’re thinking of taking the fridge-rearranging plunge, here are three tips to make it a successful transition.

1. Take advantage of plastic bags.

My friend mentioned that when she first made the switch, her lettuce, cucumbers, and other delicate produce were becoming sad and wilted faster than usual. She started storing them in the plastic bags from the grocery in the fridge door, and it helped to extend their life. Tetro points out that bags work because they help prevent water loss, which leads to spoilage. “The optimal ‘storage bag’ would be one that is sterile, resealable, and made of polyethylene,” he says, but also notes that any bag that you can seal will work in a pinch. (Might we suggest going reusable?) Properly storing your fruit and veggies is key if you’re utilizing the relatively warm fridge door and open shelves.

2. Organize with clear containers.

You’ll notice in the TikTok video there are handy containers holding the loose, prepped fresh produce. Using see-through glass or plastic containers will also help cut down on food waste. You should be able to open your fridge, quickly run your eyes over the door and shelves, and see all of the fresh and prepped food right in one go without having to take anything out. You’re much more likely to eat an item if you can see it!

3. Rotate your fresh food.

The goal of rearranging your fridge this way is to keep food from spoiling and putting all of the items you frequently reach for at arm’s length. When restocking, be sure to push older food to the front to keep it from getting lost in the back. Tetro added that different items spoil at different rates, and while storing in bags or containers will help, you should still keep an eye on your produce so you can adjust your habits accordingly. If you notice fresh items going bad before you can eat them, consider buying less and visiting the store more often.

How do you waste less food? Tell us in the comments below.