What’s In The Refrigerator?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

What's in the Refrigerator - How do you remember what's in the refrigerator and what you need to eat soon? A great tip from two experienced cruisers!

Boat refrigerators are small, with lots of food packed in. Whether it’s a top loading or front loading, it can be hard to remember what there is, where it is, and what needs to be eaten pretty soon.

A couple days ago, I saw a Facebook post by Brittany of Windtraveler (FB page; blog) with a great idea that she’d gotten from Jody of Where the Coconuts Grow (FB page; blog). She graciously allowed me to share the idea and her photos here. I love how cruisers all share information! P.S. These are two of my favorite blogs and Facebook pages.

Uggh. How do you remember what's in the refrigerator? A great tip from two experienced cruisers!

Said Brittany:

Write what you have in there on a dry-erase board! Still perfecting my system – but now I can meal plan a bit better, save some energy not having to open the fridge and rifle through to see what we have, and will always be reminded of what we need to use soon, saving on food waste!

You could also use a chalk board — or paint an area with chalk paint. Jody says they write on a mirror that’s above their refrigerator (use window markers).

I’ve just added a white board to my Amazon list of things to order as soon as we’re back aboard. I always forget about something that’s in back and end up with something that spoils. I think this is one idea that will pay for itself very, very quickly. And it’d be every bit as good when living on land!

As a student and then in my first jobs, I used white boards a lot. When I saw Jody & Brittany’s idea, all I could do is wonder why I’d never thought of something so simple!

You can often find white boards at the dollar store, but be careful of the quality — I’ve had boards where you can never really erase the writing and after a short while nothing is legible.

It’s helpful if the board has a clip for the special marker (and be sure to get a couple of extra markers, as it’s totally unusable if you lose a marker or it dries out).

Use Command Strips to hang the board without harming the underlying surface. You really don’t need a special eraser — a bit of paper towel or clean rag works just as well to update the list.

You can find white boards in most office supply and big box stores. In addition, Amazon has a good selection of boards and accessories. I’ll admit, I often use Amazon when we’re on the boat instead of trying to find something in a local store in an unfamiliar town. My Prime membership really pays for itself.

I’m thinking that a second dry erase board would also be good for posting a meal plan!

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  1. Great idea! I hate to riffle through and let all the cold air out…plus this way maybe I won’t waste any produce!! Thanks again for another helpful hint!!

  2. Jane Gammons says:

    This is a helpful Idea I use by my chest freezer. I should use it for the side by side also. You can also put dates telling you how long some item has been there. Like the turkey I bought on sale last Thanksgiving……

  3. Also a bit of WD-40 will rid your white board of lingering marker residue…

  4. Jim Shell says:

    On Phantom we use a ball bearing memo clip, Metalla “Stainless Steel Magnetic Memo Clips”, for this same function, attached with hot glue. It hangs at eye level and doubles as a recipe holder as well as a place to hang other reminders. We have a second wooden ball bearing towel holder that uses a marble as the ball bearing that holds our dish towels. A similar wooden holder was available at Michael’s craft store as a quilt holder. We purchased ours in Port Townsend, Washington at a curio/gift shop.

  5. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. Wow, that’s sure a good idea ! 🙂

  7. Jim Shell says:

    The towel holder mentioned earlier is a fancy version of the Dritz Quilting Quilt Hangers available at JoAnne Fabric and Craft Store for about $14,00 for a pair. They are raw wood and can be reshaped and finished to your wish. Hot glue, Command Strips or double sided tape to attach to the surface. This has been a great towel holder!

  8. Thanks for sharing! (And especially tanks to Jody from Where The Coconuts Grow! For making our galley life easier!) ha!

  9. so simple and so smart! thanks!

  10. I’ve put food inplastic storage containers and labeled them with masking tape. I like the dry eraase board idea.

  11. This is so timely!!! Works for land based refrigerators as well. Freezer was jam packed full but I didn’t really have any meat in there… turns out I found about a dozen frozen bananas (or more) I thought I’d save to make a cake or muffins “one of these days”. Mystery meat packages…so I thought I’d keep track making an inventory list. The dry erase would.be perfect

  12. Thanks Carolyn! Glad you found it helpful too 🙂

  13. Russ fink says:

    We use a free app on our iPhones called Wonderlist. That saves the space of a whiteboard, and the lists automatically share with those designated. It also works even better for provisioning lists.

  14. I have a dry erase/magnetic board for misc notes. Now it can serve another use! Fyi, use rubbing alcohol to clean one.

  15. I’m thinking of painting the bulkhead next to my top-loading fridge with chalkboard paint (comes in lots of colors or clear). Rather than having another thing to bang around!

  16. Beer

  17. You can also pick up some WET erase markers. I love these as they don’t wipe off when they are touched inadvertently. Just a damp towel and they clean right up.

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