How to organize your refrigerator and keep veggies fresh for 2 weeks!

We used to get frustrated every week throwing out fresh produce because we did not eat it fast enough – especially when Josh was on reserve often having to leave a fridge full of produce behind. 

We were going to the grocery store every night to avoid creating waist.  This however, proved unsustainable given that Josh has was on Reserve 5 of his 8 years at a regional and now back on reserve at a major.  Needless to say, we have had time to work on a system that keeps food fresh and reduces our time in the kitchen so we can “play” when he is home and have fresh healthy food available at all times while reducing our cost.

Our system has worked wonderfully for us and we highly suggest giving it a try.  Not only has it reduced our time in the kitchen it has saved us lots of cash in the form of less waste, more meals eaten at home and improved health.

What you need

1. Large containerswith air tight lids are our best investment for keeping food fresh. We use as little plastic as possible but glass is to heavy for this sort of thing and very difficult to find in the size needed. We purchased the bins below from the Container Store and lined them with towels to absorb some moisture and minimize the exposure of the food to the containers.


Tip: Always look for BPA free plastics.


2. Trays are our best investment for keeping fruit organized – The little metal shelf shown below has opened up a surprisingly large amount of extra space to keep fresh fruits visible and organized.


A Fresh Start

Before we begin it is a a good idea to clean out your fridge….take everything out, wipe it down and throw away anything old or unhealthy.  A fresh start is important! 


We go through a lot of produce and fresh food so, once a week we do a big shopping trip and clean the produce right away. This allows us to simply grab and go or chop and steam, “stir-fry” etc. real quick without the hassle of washing and drying. 


How To Organize For Optimal Efficiency & Freshness:

We will start with the bottom shelf and work our way up for simplicity.  Keep in mind we have a fairly small fridge, so adjust accordingly.

1. Bottom drawers:

a. Hearty Veggies & Fruits that will ripen others:  Apples make other fruits ripen quickly so we often store them separate or put them with other fairly hearty fruits such as oranges and unripe pears.  

b.Bagged greens – spinach, arugula, etc.

c.Large produce that take up too much room in containers: Broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant etc. (You might want to contain broccoli and the like  mesh bags as they tend to “shed” and get the drawer dirty.

We will start with the bottom shelf and work our way up for simplicity.  Keep in mind we have a fairly small fridge, so adjust accordingly.


2. Bottom shelf:

a. Base foods

Base foods consist of grains/starches for the week; generally one or two of the following-


quinoa and lentil mix 


black rice

brown rice


sweet potatoes

cooked winter squashes/gourds (butternut squash, kabocha pumpkin, kuri pumpkin…..)

And  so on… 

Basically this is where we keep anything that might be used as a side, base or “filler” for meals.  For example we might put Stir-Fry over Quinoa or a curry dish over brown rice or throw some legumes or sliced sweet potato into a salad.


b. Leftovers & Veggie snacks

Leftovers and sliced veggies such as carrots, celery, bell peppers and their accompanying dip – salsa, guacamole, hummus stay on this shelf.

We always store these in airtight ziplock glass containers

3. Middle Shelf

a. Air tight bins filled with fresh produce.  This has been our #1 money & time saver!  

We use two bins..if your fridge will fit 3 then more power to you.

b. BIN 1 – loose leafy greens.

We stock up on kale, collard greens, swiss chard, beet greens and anything else that has caught our eye.

Once they are washed and dried we simple place them in the bin, seal and have fresh greens until we run out. These will stay fresh for about 1-2 weeks!  That’s huge considering, in our fridge, they wilt after just one day!

c. Bin 2 – Additional veggies

The veggies we will be using for our salads, stir un-fry’s, soups, steams, pizzas, juices, smoothies and anything else we come up with will live here.

It is usually comprised of:

whole carrots





and any other fresh produce we have chosen.

These again will keep for about 1.5-2 weeks!This has been our best investment as we are now able to grab what we want and simply throw it in our juicer/blender, or prepare a meal in half the time since all the washing is done and everything is still fresh and flavorful.


4. Top Shelf & Drawer

Top bin/drawer:


This is the smallest storage in our fridge.  Therefore we keep small items like fresh spices – ginger & turmeric in a small glass or metal container.  

b.“Processed” Foods.  

Processed foods in general do not have a place in our fridge or home.  During the peak of training we will sometimes add seitan, temphe or tofu for additional calories (either way calling temphe or tofu a processed food is up for debate).

Top shelf:

a.Fresh snack fruits and miscellaneous items  

– This is allocated for our delicious ice tea mix… Hibiscus or ginger/lemon. 

– Trays we purchased at the Container Store have been surprisingly useful in keeping our fruit organized and right in front of us making that our default snack.  

– The little shelf has also been crucial in opening up more room since we are cramped for space and as you can see have a LOT of fresh produce on hand at all times.  Simply stack your fruits, citrus, avocado etc. in the trays and never be left wondering what there is to eat, or forget about something stuffed way down in a bin where it is hidden and left to rot.

– We also keep our tortillas (ezekiel or engine two diet) here as well.  

– Fresh herbs.  Summer is a great time of year to add fresh herbs to any meal.  However, they do not keep very long and often go bad before they can all be used.  So, if you do not have room in your bins, as we often don’t, keeping herbs fresh can be a challenge.  What we do is put the herb stems cup with a small amount of water and cover with a ziplock bag.  Another great way to keep herbs fresh is by wrapping them in a paper towel and placing in a ziplock bag.  The towel absorbs excess moisture and the ziplock helps to keep them from wilting.   


Fridge Door:

sauces, dressings and typical condiments.  

Bottom Shelf:

Nuts, ground flax and nut butters.  

Nuts have quite a lot of fat (the good kind, for the most part), making them less stable at room temperature and prone to going rancid quickly, especially in hot summer months.  They will keep longer in the fridge, saving money.  We keep these on the bottom shelf of the door (or top shelf of the fridge by the tea if the containers are too big for the door).

Middle Shelf:

a. Tamari, Braggs Amino Acids and apple cider vinegar, nut milk & misc.  

We use these as ingredients in our dressings or to simply use alone over rice and steamed veggies etc. 

They add great flavor to any dish.  Braggs Amino Acids and Tamari do contain higher amounts of sodium, so watch your portions but they are very flavorful so only a little is needed and they are still a great improvement to eating out.  

b. Next to that we have our almond milk and kelp noodles.  Kelp noodles are a great addition to almost any dish.  They are low in calories, high in nutrients and add a great crunch to any meal!

Top Shelf:

Hot sauces (Dave’s Gourmet), mustards, probiotics and dressings.  

We generally make our own dressing to avoid oil and other unhealthy additives.  Braggs has come out with a great summery dressing that we use on salads and steamed veggies. (The Hawaiian is our favorite)

We also always keep organic Siracha on hand as well as organic dijon mustard (surprisingly creamy and great as a dressing).  We also have a container of Miso on hand to mix up the flavor for a variety of dishes!


So, there you have it…..Our fridge unveiled.  

We always have a revolving combination of base foods at the bottom and fill everything else up as needed. 

If you have any questions please shoot them our way.  Hopefully this was helpful and inspires you to adopt a trick or two.


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