How to Successfully Organize Your Refrigerator and Keep It Neat All Year
Find out which bins, containers and drink dispensers get the job done, and transform the inside of your fridge into a feast for the eyes.
Until recently, I had no idea that there was a right or wrong way to organize a refrigerator. But after making one too many trips to the grocery store to grab something that we already had in the crisper and pushing past half-empty bottles of hot sauce just to reach the salad dressing, I started to suspect that there was a better way of doing things. So I looked into it. And let me just say that the results rocked my world.
As it turns out, not only is there a more efficient way to arrange the contents of your fridge, but it's also so aesthetically pleasing that it has its own hashtag: #FridgeGoals. Think color-coordinated crispers and neat stacks of yogurt, acrylic drink dispensers and eggs out in the open. Totally drool-worthy and surprisingly doable with the right accessories. (Plus, this method will help you cut down on food waste and save you money each week.) If that sounds good and you're ready to "flip" your own fridge, then just keep reading to get all of my tips.
Put Things in Practical Spots
I'm pretty sure that "Getting to Know Your Fridge" wasn't covered in Home Economics, so it's okay if you didn't know that some parts of your refrigerator are actually warmer and colder than others. But here are the basics: The top shelf and door tend to be the warmest "zones", while the middle and bottom shelves get progressively cooler. So, you should keep condiments in the door, dairy products, eggs and spreads on the upper shelves, meats and milk on the lowest shelf and fruits and vegetables in the crisper. (More on that in a moment.) But by putting everything in its proper place, you can help your food last a little longer and avoid spending more at the grocery store.
Remove Packaging + Invest in Clear Bins
Does anyone love looking at plastic bags and cardboard boxes? I think not. Go ahead and remove the packaging around your fruit, eggs, cups of yogurt, cans of sparkling water, etc. Then, use clear matching containers to corral and organize your items by category. This will help your fridge look more uniform and ensure that you can see exactly what's available. And if you have a surplus of condiments (I know I do), consider using a small lazy Susan for everyday essentials, like ketchup and mustard.
Label Your Bins
Once you have your clear storage bins, label them with pre-written stickers. This will help your loved ones find what they're looking for and ensure that everything returns to its proper place in the refrigerator. The script-style handwriting is easy to read and lists everything from cheeses and deli meats to leftovers, snacks and sweeteners.
Put Perishables Front and Center
You know that saying, "Out of sight, out of mind"? It's way too easy to forget about things like apples, berries and eggs because they're hidden at the back of a shelf or under a lid. So, I say empty all those perishables into colanders, crates and small fruit bowls, and then put them front and center where everyone can see them. This will remind your family to use the perishables first and help prevent unnecessary food waste.
Separate Your Fruits and Veggies
By now, you probably know that you should separate your fruits and vegetables. (Especially since most fruits produce a gas that can cause vegetables to decompose faster.) But if you really want to make your fridge a feast for the eyes, go a step further and separate those goods with a divided drawer, rather than tossing all your fruits or vegetables into one crisper. The container above would make meal prep a breeze and encourage your kiddos to grab a healthy after-school snack.
Protect Your Lower Shelf
Remember what I said about stashing meat and fish on the bottom shelf? Part of the reason that's such a wonderful idea is that if those brown paper-wrapped packages leak, the juice won't drip down onto everything else. You can also make cleanup a breeze by adding liners to your shelf and crispers. The package above features three ribbed liners, which will help air circulate around your food and ward off mold and mildew.
Want to see how we use storage bins, racks and containers to organize a fridge? Check out the video below.