With more people buying groceries than ever before, it’s understandable if your fridge has become a bit chaotic over the past year. The good news is that all it takes is one weekend of a time and attention to bring your fridge from messy to amazing. Check out all of these fridge organization tips to help make your life easier.
35. Purchase Organizational Bins
Before you get started looking at these fridge organization tips, I highly recommend that you go online and order some clear organization bins right away. These can be found at The Container Store, but they’re much more affordable if you find them online or somewhere like Target or Walmart. Even the Dollar Tree has their own version of fridge bins, except they only come in one size. Using organizational bins makes a huge difference in how clean your fridge is and how easy it is to find things.
Some of you out there might be hesitating to buy these, in hopes that you can organize your fridge without it. A couple years ago, I suggested buying organizational bins for the fridge, but I got a lot of pushback from everyone in my household. No one believed that it would actually help the situation. They couldn’t understand how using boxes would make a difference. But I purchased the bins anyway, and it became very clear that organizing everything together in boxes created double the amount of space, with the same amount of food.
Just like cleaning out your closet, cleaning your fridge is best tackled with the Marie Kondo method. You always have to remove absolutely everything before you start organizing from scratch. The same goes with your refrigerator. Clear off your kitchen island or table so that you have room for each and every piece of food that is going to come out of your refrigerator. This might be easier if you have a basket or cardboard box nearby to carry your food.
During this process, you can figure out what foods have gone bad, or what can be eaten right away. Just by removing everything from the fridge, it’s very likely that you’re going to free up additional space from getting rid of products. Once the fridge is empty, use a disinfectant spray to clean off all of the surfaces. This is when you would add the boxes or implement any of the other fridge organization tips we are going to discuss in this list.
33. Take Individually Wrapped Products Out of Their Boxes
When you get home from the grocery store, it is so tempting to just put all of your boxes in the fridge and call it a day. In fact, you may have gone your whole life doing this, and it has become a habit. However, when you do this, space gets taken up very quickly. It also becomes more difficult for you to find the products that you need. This is also a really terrible use of space, especially if there is only one or two products left inside of a large box.
Professional organizers like the ones you see on The Home Edit recommend removing all of the items from your boxes first. Obviously, this only works if the products are individually wrapped- like popsicles or granola bars. But once you have those products removed from the box, it becomes so much easier to see how much you have left in stock. It also looks a lot more aesthetically pleasing to see those items in a container rather than seeing the cardboard box.
One of the fridge organization tips that a lot of people forget to mention is that it’s important to sanitize often. This is especially true during this time when everyone is so worried about protecting their homes from viruses. According to the CDC, there is very little evidence pointing to contamination coming from food packaging. However, we know that the virus can pass on solid surfaces. There are some people who feel that it would be better to clean off your food packages from the grocery store before you put it away in your fridge.
Even if you skip sanitizing your food when it comes home from the store, don’t forget to clean things off if they have fallen on the floor. Also make sure you wipe up spills, especially if it came from meat. Salmonella is a real issue, especially with chicken. So if there is blood or liquid that spills from your chicken and you don’t clean it up immediately, you could be contaminating the rest of the items in your fridge.
While it is common for a lot of people to have matching food containers, there are plenty of homes out there that don’t. Maybe you just grab some leftover containers that you recycled from take out. Or maybe you have collected different pieces over the years that don’t necessarily match one another. While this might be a good way to save money, it doesn’t help if you can’t stock those containers on top of one another.
One of the easiest fridge organization tips that you can Implement into your life immediately is to simply buy matching food containers. These don’t have to be expensive, either. Dollar Tree sells plastic boxes that you can wash and reuse, and they are designed to be able to stack on top of one another.
For those of you who haven’t seen The Home Edit on Netflix, you need to go watch it as soon as you’re done reading all of our fridge organization tips! This is one of the best shows you could possibly watch that will get you inspired to clean up your pantry and fridge.
Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are partners in The Home Edit organizational business. They’re also best-selling authors who have such a stellar reputation, they organize celebrity homes. By watching the show, you get some of the best tips from the pros.
According to the USDA, the United States wastes between 30 to 40% of its food supply every single year. This is a tragedy, considering that 55 countries have suffered from chronic starvation even before the pandemic. And ever since the outbreak of Covid-19, Feeding America estimates that 42 million adults and 15 million children are going through food scarcity due to the economic downturn. Food waste doesn’t just waste money. It’s wasting food that could have otherwise been donated to someone else.
If you know that you have a problem with food going bad before you can eat it, try to get in the habit of creating an “eat me first” box or shelf. This will be a reminder that you need to eat those leftovers, or whatever else that food may be.
The suggestion to use a rod to hang bags from your fridge might sound strange, but this is one of the fridge organizational tips I picked up from a blog called SimplySS. They installed a tension rod into the top of one of their fridge shelves, and used shower curtain clips. Once everything is installed, they can clip their bags of cheese, salad, and veggie mixes all in a row. This is similar to the way that bags hang on a rod at the grocery store.
While this may be a cool trick to see on a blog, it may not seem realistic. However, by hanging these bags, you’re making it easier to spot them when you open the fridge. And it frees up space below the bags for you to place other food and drinks.
Small vintage style fridges like Smeg and Next are adorable, and they’re totally sought after by people around the world. It may be popular in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s practical for everyone, especially if you have a large family. If you find that your fridge gets full very quickly, it could be a sign that you need to buy a bigger fridge.
Obviously, not everyone can afford to buy a larger fridge, or their house might not have the space. And if you have a rental, it’s virtually impossible. However, another solution to the problem could be buying a second fridge or freezer to keep in the garage, or a mini fridge in the basement. These secondary freezers are usually good for keeping stockpiles of essentials.
One of the fridge organization tips that everyone should pay attention to immediately is that the products left in the door of the fridge will spoil faster than if you kept them in the main body. This is because the door heats up faster. The temperature won’t be low enough to prevent milk or orange juice from spoiling. In the past, I have accidently spoiled containers of orange juice by putting it in the door. I wish someone had shared this tip with me sooner!
The best items to keep in your fridge door are products that don’t need to remain very cold. This could be opened bottles of wine, water bottles, almond milk, and sauces. You could also leave anything non-perishable, or products that you plan to use quickly when you cook you next meal. If you start implementing this tip into your life, you are likely to waste a lot less food.
One of the best ways to save money on food and to keep your fridge organized is to have a weekly meal plan. This can help you lose weight, but it also helps you simply stay on track with making sure you have enough food in the fridge every week. It also helps to make sure that you don’t buy more than you actually need.
Making a meal plan is simple. All you need to do is write down what food you plan to cook on each day of the week. Write a list of ingredients that you need for each of the meals. Obviously, it makes a lot of sense if you can have days where you eat leftovers of whatever you cooked the day before. You might also want to schedule days where you order takeout. In most cases, especially during the pandemic, you’re probably buying too much food at the store. I’m making a meal plan, you will see what you actually need, and it can help you clear up more space in your fridge.
24. Use a Spinning Rack So You’re Never Reaching to the Back
Almost everyone has experienced the situation where you need something, but it’s all the way in the back of the fridge. It can be really annoying and frustrating to reach these things. If you just stick your arm back there, you might end up knocking something over. So you have to take everything out of the fridge one by one and then replace everything again later. This hassle can be fixed almost immediately by simply buying a spinning rack, also known as a “lazy Susan.”
One of the most popular brands of spinning rocks that people love to buy is from The Container Store. However, they sell racks like this at places like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. These rocks are also sometimes hidden in aisles of the store that you wouldn’t normally expect. For example, I found a spinning rack in the craft section, but I was able to use it for other things.
Does your fridge smell bad? There are a lot of reasons why your refrigerator might start to smell- from open packaging to rotting food. The most obvious solution to the problem would be to find the source of the smell, and throw it away. But depending on what you cook and store in your fridge, there might be a lingering smell that is there all the time.
All you need to do to make the fridge smell better is to keep an open box of baking soda. This will help to eliminate the odors. If you enjoy baking, you might not want to use the same baking soda in your recipes. Try to buy a dedicated box, and write on the side with a Sharpie so you don’t accidently use the wrong one. Other people like to leave an open tray of baking soda in their fridge instead, and swap it out for fresh powder later on.
In this list, we’ve recommended buying storage bins for the fridge to help organize your food. An alternative, or an additional thing you can do is to buy drawer dividers. This can help you keep your fruits and vegetables divided inside of the drawer. If you tend to buy a lot of produce every week, this can be really helpful.
Some of you might be wondering- what’s the point in keeping your fruits and vegetables separated? Does it really matter? Well, it actually does. If one of your fruits begins to grow mold, those spores are going to travel to whatever is sitting next to it. Since all of the produce you buy from the store will go bad at different times, this is one extra step you can take to protect your produce from mold.
If you are trying to implement new habits to help keep your fridge more organized, it’s going to be difficult to follow those rules. Keep in mind that if it’s difficult for the adults to figure this out, your kids might struggle as well. As a parent, you might have to figure out a system that encourages your kids to follow the new rules about your fridge organization. There are some parents who make a rule that their kids are not allowed to go into the fridge by themselves, but this can be problematic. It may train your kids to dislike the idea of cooking or being self-sufficient in their own kitchens some day.
If you’re following all of the fridge organization tips laid out in this list, the best technique seems to be keeping individually wrapped items in boxes at a height where their kids can easily reach them. When they reach into the fridge, they are only taking something out of a box without actually moving anything around. Many parents decide to keep the healthy snacks on the lower level and hide the sugary snacks like cookies and candy on the shelf that is far too high for the kids to reach.
20. Add a Water Resistant Liner to the Drawers and Shelves
As time goes on, the quality of your refrigerator will deteriorate the more you use it. This is especially true if you have kids. But if you purchase water resistant liners, it will help keep your drawers and shelves in new condition for longer. It’s a lot like keeping plastic on your new technology or putting a cover on your couch.
Besides protecting your drawers and shelves, these liners also give a bit of a grip, which helps to prevent food from spilling. This could potentially help keep your fridge cleaner from preventing messes from happening in the first place.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making with their fridge organization is putting things in the refrigerator that don’t need to be there. For example, they may put bags of chips, cereal, crackers, or other non-perishable items. Sure, it helps prevent critters like ants from getting into the open food. But so do food clips and airtight containers in your pantry.
When you put food in your fridge that doesn’t need to be there, you’re just taking up space that could be left for more important items. This could decrease the number of trips you take to the grocery store, and generally make your life a whole lot easier. If you are already in the habit of putting these items in your fridge, I highly recommend getting out of the habit. Try to transition to putting those items into your pantry or cabinets.
A lot of people are tempted to put food in the fridge without covering it first. Some people don’t see the issue with this, especially if you are planning to use it later in the day. However, this is problematic for a number of reasons. First of all, it is far more likely that those foods are going to create smells that linger in your fridge if they’re not covered by either plastic wrap or put inside of a container.
The second biggest issue with having open pitchers of liquid and containers of food is that it could spill very easily. Even if you’re in a house full of adults, mistakes still happen. On top of that, there is a chance that something could drip inside, which would be really gross!
If you are a homeowner who purchased their own appliances, you probably already know that you can change the height of your fridge shelves. However, when you rent, you might have left your fridge the way it was when you first moved into your apartment.
You may also be able to buy an extra shelf for your fridge, if you want to have more space for small objects. It’s always best to buy the shelves directly from the brand. However, you can get cheaper off-brand shelves online, too. Just make sure you measure everything first before you buy.
According to one study, pretty much everyone is gaining weight during Covid. The average weight gain has been 2 pounds per month since the pandemic began, which means that most people have gained at least 20 pounds. It’s like the “freshman 15” in college. So if you’re hoping that these fridge organization tips will somehow help you eat healthy and lose weight, you’re not alone. The good news is that it’s totally reversible, so long as you implement some healthy habits into your life.
One of the best ways to avoid eating unhealthy food is to make it easy to reach for a healthy choice. For example, keeping water bottles in the door of your refrigerator is a quick and easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated throughout the day. Also keep the healthy foods at eye level that you want to eat first. For example, I started buying packaged salads, because it was one of the most convenient ways for me to eat a healthy meal. Now, when I open my fridge, I see this right away, and it becomes easy to make that choice.
Everyone knows that it’s possible to save money if you buy your food in bulk. The only issue with this is that you might not be able to consume all of that food in one week. Instead of keeping foods that go back quickly like meat in the fridge, it’s best to freeze parts of the meat, and only keep down the amount you’re planning to cook on any given day.
The only issue with this is that once you throw away the original packaging, you might forget how old the food is. Check out this food safety chart to see the specific foods that you freeze often. In general, meat is usually only good after 1 to 3 months of freezing. So if you still have something old in the freezer, it’s best to toss it out!
This next tip is a bit vain, but one of the ways you can make your fridge look more beautiful is to buy aesthetic packaging. If you have the choice between two different products they’re relatively the same price, consider buying the more beautiful packaging.
Another way to achieve having aesthetic packaging is to simply take products out of their original boxes, and transfer it into a sealed container. This vibe might not work for everyone, but some people love to see simplicity and cohesion when they open up their fridge.
One of the easiest fridge organization tips that you can Implement at home is to group similar items together. You may want to designate certain shelves for certain types of foods. In some households, it might be easier for you to even label each of the shelves with a sticker to remind everyone.
When you put similar foods next to one another, it becomes very easy to find things. If you have kids, you will probably get less not getting any questions about where something is. All they have to do is look into the fridge in the designated section. It also helps kids to know where to put groceries away.
In case you didn’t know, it’s possible to change your fridge’s humidity controls. If you are renting your space and didn’t buy the appliances yourself, you might not know what to look for. Does the humidity matter in your fridge? It turns out that it does, and it could dictate how you choose or organize your fridge.
According to The Maids Blog, humidity drawers are at the bottom of your fridge for a reason. Hot air rises, so it’s best to keep your produce at the bottom in the drawers. However, not all produce was made equal. Certain fruits and vegetables do better in different levels of humidity. If your food has been wilting or rotting very quickly, just do a quick online search to find out what level is appropriate for your fridge.
Some people assume that if they want to have an aesthetic looking fridge, they have to spend a fortune somewhere like The Container Store. While they might have the biggest selection of organizational tools around, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only place that you can go. Amazon sells a lot of affordable sets of fridge organization bins. There are even some at Dollar Tree. If you don’t find the fridge organizational items at your local Dollar Tree, you can order it online and it will be shipped to your local store.
Besides the fridge organization tools and boxes, Dollar Tree also has pretty much everything you need to get this project done. They have cleaning supplies, food, and containers that you can use to store food in your pantry. If you don’t already make it a habit of shopping there, I highly recommend it. Keep in mind that some of the best items are in the newer stores located in more affluent areas. So even if you need to drive a few minutes out of the way, it’s worth it.
According to the University of Illinois, you should always store meat in the bottom shelf of your fridge. “Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don’t drip onto other foods and cause cross-contamination. When thawing meat in the refrigerator meat should be placed on a plate or in a container to prevent juices from contaminating other foods.”
In truth, it’s best to keep your meat in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. Hopefully, you will only keep meat in the fridge just before you’re feeling ready to cook it. Like we mentioned on other parts of the list, you should always label the meat with the date that it was originally frozen, and make sure it’s used before it spoils.
For a lot of you, the suggestion to leave notes on your fridge is obvious. There are plenty of families who have this tradition that carries over from generation to generation. However, if you don’t already leave notes on your fridge, you should probably start. This is a great way for you to communicate with your loved ones, especially if you work on different schedules.
If you have it in the budget to buy a new fridge, you might want to consider buying one with a digital screen on the front. These can be useful, because you can use a phone app to send digital messages to the front of your refrigerator. This is great for sending funny photos and messages to your family, but it’s also great if you forgot to leave a physical note before you left the house for work.
One of the best ways to get more space in any organizational situation is to take advantage of vertical space. This is a common tactic if you’re trying to decorate a small apartment. But it obviously makes a lot of sense inside of your fridge too. Earlier on this list we mentioned hanging bags from the top of the fridge. But this can also be done with bottles as well.
A company called Uncommon Goods makes a magnetic bottle rack where you can hang beer and soda from the ceiling. For those of you who drink on a regular basis, this might be very useful. Obviously, if you don’t drink very often, something like this wouldn’t really work well in the amount of space that you have. But it could be perfect if you have a secondary fridge that is dedicated to just adult beverages.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they buy something at the grocery store and that they already had at home. This is usually more common if your fridge is disorganized. It can also happen if you have multiple people in the household buying groceries too. But if you want to avoid this, it’s as simple as opening your fridge and pantry to see what you have in stock before you go to the grocery store.
Also make sure that you communicate with your family when you are planning to go buy groceries. Even if you are stopping by the grocery store after work, try to make it a habit of calling your family members to ask if they need anything. Also don’t be afraid to ask someone to double-check the fridge while you’re at the store. This can help you save money in the long run, and avoid food waste.
Earlier on the list, we already talked about how important it is to keep your fridge sanitized. For a lot of you, this is probably common sense at this point, considering that most people are more aware about germs and viruses than ever before. However, you should still clean out your fridge regularly in terms of getting rid of the things that you no longer need.
It’s much easier to keep your fridge clean in general if you regularly go through and get rid of the food you know has gone bad, or simply won’t eat. This becomes a lot more difficult if you have a lot of people living in the same house. So be sure to check in with your roommates or partner before you throw something away that hasn’t gone bad yet.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying too much food. They get home from the store, and realize that there isn’t enough room in their fridge or freezer to make everything fit. This has become an even more common problem during the pandemic, because people are trying to stockpile and get ready to stay home over long periods of time. According to Forbes, grocery sales in the United States went from $1.2 billion in 2019 to $7.2 billion in 2020.
This is a huge jump in the amount of food we are buying and preparing for ourselves. So if you’re doing this, you’re not alone. It’s understandable if you want to overstock on items to reduce your trips to the grocery store. However, if the amount of food you’re buying leads to food waste, or you can’t fit everything, try to scale back. Remember that even during the worst moments of food shortage, we only went around 2 to 3 weeks without food in the grocery stores. It’s not necessary to stockpile for the whole year when we have online delivery and curbside pickup.
If you’re on a tight budget and you can only buy one or two organizational bins for your project, I highly recommend focusing on stackable storage for your drinks. For example, a lot of you’ve probably seen those boxes that allow cans to roll forward when you pick one up. This is a huge lifesaver if you drink sparkling water or soda regularly.
Some companies also make storage containers that you can stack bottles of wine on top of one another. If you don’t like to keep her one in the door of the fridge, this can be a really great option to keep bottles of wine stacked vertically.
3. You Should Probably Skip the Trendy Mini Fridge for Cosmetics
Back in 2018 to 2019, there was a trend in the luxury cosmetic market to have a “beaty fridge”. Some companies like Lush claimed that your organic skin treatments needed to be kept in the fridge. Drunk Elephant even sold a $400 gift bundle of their most expensive skincare that came with a mini fridge. A lot of people skipped the mini fridge and went straight to putting their products into the same space where they stored their food. But is it really necessary?
Ahh, remember the good old days when people wasted money? According to dermatologists, putting your cosmetics in the fridge doesn’t actually do that much to keep them fresh. Elle Magazine interviewed a dermatologist named Dr. Gross, who had this to say; “A beauty fridge is unnecessary—a marketing gimmick—because whenever a product is released into the market it has to go through stability testing, which shows that a product is stable, that it will not decompose at room temperature, and that it’s not going to lose its efficacy even once it’s opened.”
Believe it or not, one of the best places you can find fridge organization tips is to watch celebrity kitchen tours. Most people can’t afford to hire help to get the perfect fridge. But the vast majority of celebrities have professional organizers like The Home Edit, come through their home before they invite a TV crew to come over.
I highly recommend checking out Khloe Kardashian’s pantry, as well as Trisha Paytas’ kitchen tour on YouTube. There are also a lot of episodes of old school MTV Cribs that might give you some great ideas on how to organize your kitchen. If there is a particular celebrity you like the most, do a quick search to see if they have ever done an Architectural Digest tour. One of my personal favorites is the Kendall Jenner house tour.
If you bought into the trend of putting your food into clear containers, you are probably consolidating multiple boxes of food. This can be a really great way to make more room in your fridge or pantry. However, you really need to be careful about expiration dates. Never mix two foods together if they are going to go bad at different times. For example, don’t mix older milk with new milk. It will automatically make the newer milk switch to the older expiration date, and make it go bad faster.
With that being said, foods that you finish regularly should be fine. For example, if you eat the same cereal every day for breakfast, chances are that you’ll finish all of it before it expires. Since its shelf life is roughly one year, it doesn’t matter if it takes you a month to finish two boxes of cereal. However, if you have a product that is going to expire soon, you’ll waste that food if you mix the old and new together. Always finish the original food before you pour a new box in, and consider cleaning it out in-between refills.