You’ve heard of the chicken dance. But have you heard of the turkey dance? It’s what all hosts do this time of year when they’re getting their refrigerator ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Because, even the most organized among us never seem to have enough space in there. It’s not your fault, though! The turkey takes up a ton of space! Plus, there’s all your other ingredients, the assembled casseroles, the drinks, and everything you need for the rest of the week. Of course you’re going to be short on space! Here at Savory, we’ve spent many years trying to make it all work—and we’ve actually figured it out! After lots of trial and error (and borrowed space from our neighbors!), these are our top tips for making more space in the fridge when you’re hosting a big meal like Thanksgiving.
1. Stack bowls and casserole dishes.
Vertical space is always your friend. This is true when it comes to hanging shelves in your kitchen, organizing your pantry, and even making space in your fridge. Stack things when you can. If you’re dealing with bowls and casserole dishes that don’t have lids, simply fake it with sheet pans or cutting boards. Lay one on top of a foil-covered bowl and keep stacking. Just make sure you have the sheet pans and cutting boards you’ll need for your prep and cooking sessions.
2. Take out shelves or rearrange them.
Most refrigerator shelves are adjustable, so take advantage! Remove an entire shelf if you need the space to brine your turkey. Or just rearrange how they’re configured. This is not your normal grocery haul, so your normal setup may not work for you. Pro tip: Take a picture of your fridge before you start moving things around. This way, after the holiday, you can easily reset the shelves back to your normal arrangement.
3. Group all your leftovers together.
This includes anything you’ve meal prepped or items that need to be eaten up sooner rather than later. Group these items together and keep them closer to the front, where they’re easily accessible. This way, you’ll see them and be able to prioritize them. And that, in turn, will give you more space in the fridge as you get closer to the big day.
4. Move all condiments to the door.
It’s funny how much space a bunch of little bottles can take up! Move them all to the fridge door. Ideally, grouped in a way that makes sense: salad dressing together, hot sauce on another shelf, ketchup and mustards on another. If you already keep your condiments on the door, use this time to go through and toss anything that’s expired or just doesn’t get used.
5. Find a new home for the drinks.
There’s no space for wine, beer, or iced tea right now. Pull out the drinks to put the real estate to better use. If it’s cold where you live, the drinks might be fine on a table outside. If not, consider a cooler or set up a beverage bar (aka just a bar!) with an ice bucket. This will free up lots of space and keep guests out of your fridge.