How to Organize the Fridge

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how to organize fridge

A full fridge can be considered a sign of prosperity for some – you just know you will never go hungry again. But most of the time, a full fridge also means more food gets wasted.

When you always overstock, the items pushed on the back often get forgotten. Before you know it, you are wondering why your fridge smells weird and you have to take every food item out just to find the culprit way in the back and the food surrounding it going to waste too.

To avoid situations like this, you need to organize your fridge and make sure that everyone in the house follows that order. Everybody in the house uses the fridge so most of the time, the contents in it can be a mess without an organization system set up to keep things in order.

Most refrigerators come with built-in layouts and zones like specified spaces for eggs, butter, vegetables, and meat. That still leaves a wide area that needs organization.

To help you out, here are 20 solutions on how to organize the fridge. You can easily implement these in your home!

1. Do a declutter session.

The first thing you should do is to give your fridge a thorough declutter. I always emphasize this in every organization project. Declutter first, because you just can’t organize clutter. It’s taking precious space but it doesn’t change anything – it’s still clutter.

And what’s the point of organizing something that you don’t need and use?

So clear out your entire fridge and give it a thorough cleaning. Go through your food items and check for expired products, foods that you know will not be consumed any time soon (donate them to food banks), and determine which ones are still good to keep.

If you need help decluttering your fridge, here’s an entire article for that – How to Declutter the Fridge

How to organize fridge - Do a declutter session first.
image from ONMISURGE

Make sure to make decluttering the fridge a habit. When you do it regularly, it will be easier to maintain the neatness and order that you worked hard to achieve.

2. Group like items together.

A common solution on how to organize fridge is to group like items together and place them in their own transparent bins or any container of your choice. You may have a container for leftovers, sauces, fruit slices, snacks, etc. This helps you find things faster.

How to organize fridge- Group like items together
image from THE DIY MOMMY

3. If it does not need chilling, keep it in the pantry.

You should know which foods do not need chilling so that you do not waste fridge space.

For instance, tomatoes should not be in the fridge because they will become mushy. Honey should also be kept out of the fridge because it will thicken and be difficult to handle. Potatoes and onions should be out of the fridge, separated, and stored in a dark and cool place.

There is so much to learn! Knowing this stuff allows you to avoid wasting food and have more fridge space.

How to organize fridge- keep foods in the pantry if these do not need to be chilled.
image from MUSELY

4. Have an “Eat me first” box.

Get a transparent box and give it an “Eat Me First” label. Place perishable food items here and also those that are nearing their expiration dates.

5. Get rid of spoiled food immediately.

Once you notice a food item starting to spoil, take it out and dispose of it immediately. Prolonging the presence of spoiled food in your fridge will cause other food items to spoil faster.

This is because once the food starts to spoil, it will emit ethylene, a natural ripening agent. This will cause the food around it to ripen at a faster rate and thus spoil faster.

How to organize fridge- Get rid of spoiled food immediately
image from GETTY IMAGES

6. Label properly.

Do you often remove food from its original packaging and then transfer them into clear, stackable containers?

If you do, then it is important to also practice proper labeling. Include the date you opened the package and the expiration date. This practice will help you consume your food items before they go to waste.

It also applies to leftover foods. You can make a simple sticker like this.

Or just buy a roll of food stickers and use that!

Here’s a simple food sticker label from Amazon.

More food stickers are available here.

7. Separate your fruits from your greens.

When storing your fruits and vegetables in the fridge, keep them separated. The ethylene from the fruits can cause the vegetables to spoil faster.

Newer fridge models actually have two separate crisper drawers for them. The vegetable compartment is calibrated for high-humidity produce and the fruit compartment is calibrated for low humidity produce.

8. Store dairy products on the middle shelf.

Do you store your eggs, milk, or yogurt on the door shelves of the fridge? Turns out this is actually a bad practice!

I know most fridge models have their egg compartments on the door. But the truth is that’s the warmest spots in the fridge. Since dairy products spoil easily, it is best to put them on the middle shelf since the temperatures are more consistent in that area.

So instead of the dairy products, use that door compartments for food items that have high vinegar or salt content like your condiments.

How to organize fridge- Store dairy products on the middle shelf
image from CONSUMER REPORTS

9. Get fridge drawers

If you have limited space in your fridge, you can save some space by placing sliding fridge drawers on the shelves. These drawers have enough space to store snack packs and other small food packages.

Get fridge drawers
image from WALMART

10. Store leftovers in transparent containers.

This helps you see the contents inside. When you buy a set of these containers, it’s also easier to stack on top of each other.

If you have a small fridge, I suggest you prioritize rectangular or square containers since they make you use up space more effectively compared to round corners.

How to organize fridge- Store leftovers in transparent containers
Image from Eating Well

Here’s a 10-piece transparent food containers from Amazon.

See more choices in this page!

11. Use airtight containers.

To avoid undesirable odors in your fridge and to keep your food fresh for a longer time, invest in airtight containers. This will keep the smell from getting into other foods and to the rest of the fridge.

How to organize fridge- use airtight containers
image from EBAY

Here’s a set of airtight glass containers from Amazon.

More food containers are available here!

12. Use mason jars.

Mason jars are great containers because they are spill-proof, dishwasher safe, and can make things look more uniform in the fridge. Use these for salads, overnight oats, soup, sauce, and dressings. They come in different sizes and are very affordable too!

How to organize fridge- use mason jars
image from HEALTY GEM

13. Use dividers on your crisper.

Having drawer dividers on your crisper will help you organize its contents and retrieve them easier. Do not forget to line it with paper towels first and replace the paper towels every two weeks for easy cleaning.

How to organize fridge- put dividers on your crisper
image from SALVABRANI

14. Use a Lazy Susan.

If you often have a full fridge, the back of your fridge can be a black hole where food items that get pushed there get lost and forgotten. This is where the Lazy Susan comes in to save your day! Make all your food items accessible and within easy reach, perfect for jars and condiments!

How to organize fridge- use a Lazy Susan
image from SPOONS N SPICE

15. Organize condiment bottles with an egg carton.

Here is a useful trick that you will that you will surely love if you are a condiment enthusiast!

Place the bottom half of an egg carton on one of the shelves on the refrigerator door. Then, flip over your condiment bottles in the container.

Because they are upside down, they are ready to be used any time and you will get to use the entire content! So easy!

16. Suction baskets

You can buy small baskets that can stick on the wall of your fridge with the help of suction cups. These are useful for small food items that can easily get lost in the fridge like condiment packs or string cheese.

Use suction baskets for small food items that can often get lost in the fridge.
image from PINTEREST

17. Set up a snack station for kids on the fridge door.

If you have kids, they can mess up the way you arrange your fridge every time they are hungry and start looking for snacks. But don’t be annoyed Mommy, this is normal, and we have a simple solution!

To keep those little hands away from your organization system, dedicate one of the door compartments as a snack station. Show this to your kids. This way, they will just grab what is on that shelf when they want something to eat without having to go through the contents of the fridge.

This makes things easier for them, and a lot easier for you!

18. Stack bottles and cans into a pyramid.

If you have wire shelves, stack a pyramid of cans or bottles with the help of binder clips. The binder clips act as stoppers for the bottles so that they will not slide down and fall on the other contents in the fridge.

Stack bottles and cans into a pyramid
image from HOME HACKS

19. Use a Ziploc bag organizer.

If you are fond of using Ziploc bags for your food items, invest in a Ziploc bag organizer that slides in and out when hanging on a shelf in the fridge, just like a drawer. This allows you to store your Ziploc packed foods neater and saves on fridge space too!

 Use a Ziploc bag organizer
image from ELEVELIST

20. Do not overstock.

Before your next trip to the grocery or farmer’s market, take a look at your fridge and assess its capacity to accommodate more items.

We all often make the mistake of getting a lot of food items and come home to realize we do not have enough space to keep everything. Remember, when you cram so much food in your refrigerator, this prevents the cold air to circulate thoroughly and the temperature in your fridge will not be consistent.

There should be enough space between food items to allow the cool air to circulate and keep everything chilled in constant temperatures.

Do not overstock
Image from CRAVE BITS

An organized fridge will help you save a lot of money, time, and energy.

You will be able to store more food and have lesser food waste. You’ll keep the doors open for a shorter time because you can easily find what you need. And these lead to food preparation done in a more efficient and quick manner.

What could be better than that? And all these because you know how to organize the fridge better!


Need help decluttering your home? Download our Free Mini Declutter Workbook!

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Looking for more organization ideas for your kitchen? Check out these posts!

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