1) Make the right Tupperware choices
Nothing—I repeat, nothing—is more irritating than trying to put leftover food away and not being able to find the right lid for the right Tupperware container. Then you finally get it all packed up, and it doesn’t fit in your fridge because the containers are all different shapes and sizes. Fast forward a week. Didn’t you put some potatoes in here somewhere? Which container were they even in? Nightmare fuel! It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Leftovers should be the stress-free part of the holiday dinner. You can achieve that with the right storage containers. Get containers that stack easily, and that are either all the same size, or offer varying sizes that use the same lid (you’ll thank me for this later).
2) Label your food
Invest in either some whiteboard paint or some whiteboard stickers for the lids or sides of the containers. This will allow you to easily label what is in the container, and what date you put it in there, so you can either find it later or throw it out before it becomes its own life form.
3) Assess your leftovers the next day
Don’t just put the leftovers in the fridge and forget about them. Do your quick clean after the meal, then, when you have time the next day, reassess your leftovers. See what could actually be stored in a container together, what should really just hit the garbage bin (or compost), what could get thrown into a slow cooker today to make a soup (I call it “things in my fridge soup,” or “leftovers stew”), or what is fine to go back in and wait for future munchers. This will help you with your inevitable fridge space issues, and it should keep things from getting shoved into the no-man’s-land at the back of the fridge.
4) Plan out some future meals
You have a ton of ingredients, so why not plan out your week’s meals to encourage yourself to use them up? A stir-fry one day, a soup the next, maybe some sandwiches in between and you can probably put a fairly significant dent in your fridge stock. This could also be a fun time to invent some new food traditions. Turkey and stuffing tacos, anyone?
5) Use your freezer
Not all of your leftovers have to end up in your fridge. You can easily store things like cooked vegetables and even baked goods in your freezer. You’ll either be able to pull them out and heat them up as is, or you can use them as ingredients in future meals. You don’t have to freeze things separately, though. You can freeze a plate’s worth of food in a Ziplock bag so you can heat yourself up a plate of turkey dinner down the road. Use the food you have already cooked as your meal prep for later. A piece of advice, though: storing your freezer foods in Ziplock bags instead of Tupperware will give you a lot more storage space in your freezer.
Follow these leftovers hacks and you’ll be looking at a clean fridge – even after the busiest cooking season of the year.