LG Home Appliances recently rolled out a new feature on some of their refrigerators. It’s called InstaView, which is pretty much a window on the outside of the fridge door that, when you knock on the window twice, displays three shelves of food. For meticulously organized people, that’s great. But for those of us who treat the refrigerator like a condiment boneyard, seeing a fridge’s disorganized, unruly, chaotic contents sounds horrifying. Realizing we had a problem, we talked to the pros — a Los Angeles–based feng shui expert and a New York–based nutritionist — to put us on the path to a peaceful and organized appliance.
Purge refrigerator pandemonium
“When you feng shui your fridge, you’re creating a calm, healthy eating experience that can bring you joy,” explains Jayme Barrett, author of Feng Shui Your Life. Barrett says feng shui is about correct energy flow, feeling good, and prospering in your life. So the first thing Barrett puts on the to-do list is trashing all of the clutter from the outside of your fridge, like last year’s spin class schedules, tattered photos, flyers, invitations, and the free magnet from your electrician. “A chaotic visual on your fridge,” she says, “creates stressful energy that may send you in the direction of unhealthy eating or overeating.” While you can move schedules to the inside of less-used cabinets, chances are that most of the stuff on your fridge can be recycled. Replace the clutter with a few inspirational magnets or images that represent peace, happiness, and calm, like the view from a mountain you conquered.
Nutritionist Keri Glassman, MS, RD, founder of Nutritious Life and an ambassador for LG, recommends that spaces around you be calming and organized to reduce stress. “Less stress equals less cortisol hormone, which can lead to less weight around your waistline,” she says.
Put food in cool bowls
After you’ve trashed spoiled and expired food and dumped that new hot sauce that you didn’t even like, it’s time for the fun part: Restocking and merchandising your produce. Move snackable whole produce from the graveyard (that drawer where vegetables go to die after you forgot about them) to clear bowls and put them front and center on the shelves. In-shell hard-boiled eggs look great in colorful shallow bowls.
Barrett advises keeping junk foods in opaque containers so they don’t attract your attention. Glassman recommends hiding those foods so you don’t see them in the first place unless you really go searching.
Get your mise en place on
Glassman also advises her clients to prep food as soon as it arrives home. “Instead of keeping a whole bell pepper in that brown paper bag, cut it up and place it in a clear glass jar,” she says. She also recommends steaming edamame and keeping it around for a protein and fiber-filled snack or a tasty addition to meals. No time for prep? No problem. Just make sure the healthy foods from the deli are in a clear container, since you’ll be more likely to eat them. She recommends having one or two cooked proteins on hand, like turkey burgers and chicken, a whole grain like brown rice, and a green like spinach, which can add up to multiple meal combinations in the form of a sandwich, salad, or bowl.
Put a window on it (maybe)
Barrett likes the idea of a fridge with a window, since “it can energize your kitchen if you place healthy foods and drinks inside,” she says. “[But] it can do the opposite if the inside is a cluttered mess.” After all, first impressions matter. In a recent LG survey, 63 percent of people said they would form an opinion about someone based on the refrigerator being full of healthy food. The same percent would form an opinion based on how well the refrigerator is organized.
At the end of the day, you might not be the type to rush out and get a fridge with a window in it. But if you’re still finding condiments from your last Super Bowl party hidden among a forest of wilted cabbage, maybe it’s time to sort out some priorities — starting with the crisper drawer.
Michelle Dudash, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu–certified chef, and cookbook author.