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Clever Food Storage for Your Fridge

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Economical food storage that maximizes shelf space

My mom is a very resourceful person. You have to be when you raise ten children in eight different countries. She can fit more dishes than you would ever think possible into a dishwasher, and have them all come out clean. She taught me how to get stains out of clothes, but I have given up on mastering her trick of buying 1/4 yard less fabric than a pattern recommends – and arranging the pieces so that they fit!

This fridge food storage method is a new discovery she made. I tried it out while we were visiting, and it works really well! She bought a whole bunch of mason jars, and that’s how she stores leftovers. They are tall and narrow, so you don’t have to stack them, and since they are clear you can easily see what is inside. If leftovers last long enough to need labeling, you could use a chalk marker or water soluble pen to add a date – it would then wash off in the dishwasher. Simple, neat, and easy to implement – perfect! You can’t microwave food in mason jars, so if you try this method, be sure to put your food in a clean dish for microwaving. Add in some Tattler canning lids, and you have a 100% BPA-free food storage solution!

Do you have a favorite organization tip to share – either for your fridge or a different part of the house? I love to store toys in clear plastic shoebox bins – it has been a wonderful toy storage solution for our house!

What cool things have you learned from your mom?

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

19 thoughts on “Clever Food Storage for Your Fridge”

  1. I’ve been using glass jars for several yrs…the same jars (that’s the best part, they last forever). I wanted to leave behind plastic food storage but glass containers were quite expensive. I had tons of jars in various sizes and use these for individual serving sizes of soup, refried beans (for nacho cravings), “spaghetti-o’s”, etc. We have very hard water and these come clean everytime whereas the plastic containers began looking dingy very quickly.

      1. It’ll be easy to do when you’re in the Bay Area. I’ve actually only been once or twice. I bought these online per suggestion of another day care mom. I love not having to step foot in a store since I tend to impulse buy when I do go into stores.

  2. Hmmm…I might just try this. We use Tupperware containers to store stuff in the fridge and it drives me nutty. Our system has so many flaws – we keep the tupperware up high and I can’t easily reach them, I can never find lids, and then once filled they get “lost” in the fridge!

  3. My husband says that I am a scientist, that I grow experiments in my fridge. Problem is me and him are the only ones that eat leftovers so saving anything for too long doesn’t work.

  4. This is a really great idea. I love mason jars for so many things.

    They are really wonderful at weddings – as centerpiece holders or even better yet – for dessert presentation.

    More than that though, I love the idea for the fridge. I use them for sauces I made and such, but never thought about it for everything. What a brilliant woman your Mother is (definitely had to be). I can’t imagine raising 10 children. I would be looney.

    She must be a saint.

  5. Elisa | blissfulE

    I love how closely together they sit in the fridge, and that they are not stacked. I’ve seen Pinterest salads stored upside-down in mason jars, too, which seemed very clever to me!

    We make a lot of crustless quiche in our house since we’re trying to avoid grains, and my mum taught me that I need to make sure it’s all whipped together thoroughly. Mine were turning out watery and separating a bit until she showed me that I needed to mix thoroughly as I added each ingredient, rather than waiting until the end to mix as I had been doing. She often laughs that she never made a quiche in her life before coming to stay at our house for a while, and now she’s teaching me new techniques for improving them. :)

  6. I love the mason jar idea also for the glass. I don’t like the idea of plastic food storage.

    I save boxes. I use regular cardboard boxes for storage. It is not the most attractive solution but they are free!

  7. I make it even more economical and wash out our glass peanut butter jars to use. One jar of that is the perfect amount of spaghetti sauce to defrost for lunch with the kids.

  8. Oops, I didn’t know you can’t microwave mason jars. Is there a shattering risk or something?

    1. Yep. The jars can heat unevenly, causing cracks or worse. But I think the ease of storage is worth transferring food to heat it.

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