The Hack To Consider If You Run Out Of Fridge Space This Winter

The holidays are here, and so is limited refrigerator space. There's so much food between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day that even the most ample refrigerators seem cramped. The solutions aren't obvious: A lot of us don't have second refrigerators or freezers, so that means playing Tetris with the contents of your refrigerator or risking food going bad, which is wasteful and a giant bummer.

If your refrigerator is recovering from Thanksgiving and you're already thinking about the next big feast, try to eat and use up whatever you can before the December holiday prep starts— you'll need almost a whole shelf for your Christmas ham before you know it. Take the next couple of weeks to reorganize the space and prioritize fridge essentials; for example, do you need those sodas in the refrigerator door now, or can they stay at room temperature and go on ice the day of your party? 

Another efficient way save refrigerator space is to prep your vegetables as you get them so they're not taking up valuable real estate. Things like celery or broccoli take up less space when chopped rather than left whole, especially when they're stored in shallow, stackable Tupperware dishes. But if you've already tried every space saver in the book, there's another, more unexpected way to clear out some room in the fridge.

Place extra food outdoors or in a cooler

If you're really struggling for fridge space (and you live in a cold climate), you can rely on one trick that's less of a refrigerator hack and more of an exercise in common sense: Put your pre-made holiday side dishes and desserts outside. You can use your backyard or front porch as a big outdoor refrigerator for everything from spare bottles of liquor to holiday eggnog. 

Alternatively, if you can't leave precious leftover turkey, ham, or prime rib outside or in the cool garage because of animals or passersby, consider investing in a cooler with a lid to capitalize on colder temperatures, per Consumer Reports. You could even take a look at your refrigerator before the big day and think about shifting food items you probably won't need (things like jams, ketchup, and other condiments) outdoors, freeing up your refrigerator for just the necessities.

Just make sure that the temperature outside stays around the same temperature as your refrigerator to avoid food spoilage, up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Cooked dishes, foods containing animal products, and cut produce especially need to be kept cold, per StateFoodSafety.