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Are there any lifehacks where I can maximized the space or capacity of my refrigerator so it can store foods? This question specifically points to the body part of the refrigerator and it focuses on foods only, not drinks and beverages or any other items that we can fit in the refrigerator. Most of my foods are used / leftover viands.

I have a small compact size refrigerator and I can't fit every food that I want to store in it. In my estimation I can store goods (composed mainly of foods etc. vegetables, meats, fish, fruits) that is good enough for 2 - 3 weeks, I am living alone and I eat normally (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner). So my goal is to make it at least good enough for a month or more.

So far here are the things that I've tried already:

  1. I didn't buy much food - Obviously by buying small quantities of food you can avoid wasting them, but this doesn't answer my problem of maximizing the storage capacity, it's more on avoiding waste of food.
  2. I search for foods that I can store outside the refrigerator - This helps me a lot like removing garlic, onion, most of the fruits like banana, orange, watermelon and other foods that seems to be okay even if they are not inside the fridge. And I they are the first that I consume.

Any tips, techniques, ways to maximized the space in a compact size refrigerator so I can store more goods, preferably more foods to make it at least long enough for a month assuming that I am alone, and eating moderately?

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Firstly for new foods that you've not yet opened - open them. Take them out of their packaging which can be somewhat bulky and unnecessary and put them in something smaller such as a sandwich / freezer bag which you can then fit the foods into smaller gaps in the fridge. This is especially useful with chicken and other meats, you can split them up too so that each 'package' has enough for one meal / snack portion and then you have smaller things which can fit in even smaller places.

With left over foods, avoid leaving the meal on a plate or bowl and again, try transferring to a smaller container, maybe a small Tupperware pot or even another sandwich bag - but make sure you tie the top off otherwise you might find yourself having dinner juices in your fridge the next morning.
Also a slightly less 'hacky' option for left overs, cook the right amount to avoid having them in the first place. As mentioned previously, if you store your foods in small portions rather than a whole pack you won't need to cook the entire packet and be left with mountains of food afterwards.

You say you want your food to last for a month... Most fresh foods do not last for this length of time unless you are storing them in a freezer so I would check to make sure your food isn't going out of date in this month long food storing period.
If you do have a freezer available, do the same as above with your meats and leftovers, if you freeze them in small packages they'll last much longer and you won't have to defrost a whole load of the stuff just to use half of it.

Recap:

  • Remove bulky packaging
  • Store in smaller portions
  • Avoid leftovers in the first place
  • Freeze where possible

I hope this helps!

  • 4
    I had always assumed opening sealed meat packets would lessen the shelf-life. Is that not so? – Duncan Jones Feb 2 '15 at 10:19
  • @Duncan Well if it is like vacuum packed then yes probably but so long as it isn't and you put it in a sealed bag it should be ok. Try and squeeze out any air before tying a knot in the bag or whatever you do to seal it. – MrPhooky Feb 2 '15 at 11:32
  • Your answer is great! This is good. – Cary Bondoc Feb 2 '15 at 14:24
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Few tips of maximising space in your refrigerator:

  • always use its tall door shelf for tall items and drinks only,
  • squash plastic bottles if possible, so more bottles can fit next to it,
  • use smaller plates and bottles when possible (e.g. pour milk into a glass),
  • use plastic containers/boxes (which are stackable) for separate items or instead of plates,
  • use whole vertical space
    • keep your plastic containers on top of each other,
    • adjust fridge shelves when possible (e.g. you can move one shelf one step above for more vertical space),
  • these are 5 food you shouldn't keep in your fridge: tomatoes, basil, potatoes, onions, avocados,
  • in general don't keep fresh veggies in the fridge, it's only make them worse,
  • don't keep items in the fridge which weren't in the fridge when bought it (only when opened if package says so),
  • if you have two half filled bottles of some drinks, consider mixing them together into one,
  • use freezer space for items which you can freeze,
  • use fridge egg tray for eggs and use space between eggs for small items (e.g. ginger, garlik, spices),
  • and finally

take an old cd spindle and turn it into a bagel tote

  • 3
    Buy rectangular containers which are stackable. If they are transparent you won't have to label them. If you label stuff then do it on the side so you can identify stuff without moving it. Colour-code your boxes. get several different sizes so you can always use the smallest possible. – RedSonja Feb 2 '15 at 14:44
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Repackage soft foods in resealable plastic bags. Write on the bag what it is and the date it. Measure the compartment dimensions you want to use for these bags. Make a box to those dimensions out of thin cardboard and duct tape. The plastic bags will conform to use the minimum space in the box allowing for no air space. You can do this in a door as well.

Make full use of the freezer compartment.

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