7 Tips for Keeping Your Fridge Organized

7 Tips for Keeping Your Fridge Organized

By Mateos Glen Hayes January 21, 2022

You may be shocked to hear that between 31 to 40 percent of all food in the American supply chain is wasted. In other words, $161 billion in groceries goes from farm to trash and is never eaten. This is a significant problem, especially when you consider how much energy it takes to produce food on an industrial scale, to say nothing of how much pollution it produces. An important part of combatting this problem will have to come from reforming these industries themselves so that they operate in a less wasteful way.

In the meantime though, there are a lot of ways you as an individual can reduce your own food waste and get a more organized fridge out of the bargain. Chances are a lot of your waste comes simply from a lack of organization, which can make it harder to find certain foodstuffs when you need them and easy to forget about others until they start rotting.

Fortunately, a few simple steps can significantly improve your refrigerator organization.

Keep a List

Keeping a List Makes Organization Easier

Keeping a List Makes Organization Easier

The simplest way to keep your fridge uncluttered is not to overfill it in the first place. With the frenzy of daily life it can be easy for us to lose track of details such as “ the fullness level of my fridge”, so to avoid running into overfill problems, consider making shopping lists.

Your list can be a living document, updated as soon as you run out of something so that when shopping day comes around you have a full list of things you need. This will save you time in the store and it may even save you money in your wallet and space in your fridge. It can be easy to get wooed by all the shiny packaging on stuff you just don’t need, but a list will keep you on task as you roam the aisles of your local grocery.

The beauty of this hack is that there are so many ways to keep a list. You can attach a blackboard to the fridge, write a list on your phone, or even just write on the fridge. Fridges with white paneling are basically like huge whiteboards so dry-erase markers will work just fine on them. Once it’s time to go to the store, simply take a picture of the list with your phone and be on your way.  

Clean It Out

Cleaning up Your Fridge Gives You a Clean Start

Cleaning up Your Fridge Gives You a Clean Start

On the journey to a better-ordered fridge, it helps to have a clean start. To thoroughly clean the inside of your fridge, remove all of its contents and then slide out all of the shelves and drawers. Once this has been done, give all those bits of your fridge a good scrub with some warm soapy water and a sponge. If you have some particularly dirty fridge shelves or fridge drawer organizers, consider soaking them in hot water if possible.

To scrub the inside of the fridge, it’s best to unplug it so that the water you use to wipe off inner surfaces doesn’t freeze. Be sure to use a non-abrasive cloth to wipe the inside of the fridge down so you don’t scratch the plastic. Once this is done, put all the shelves and drawers back into the fridge and add an open box of baking soda. Baking soda is really good at absorbing unpleasant odors and so will keep your fridge free from any unwanted smells.   

Organize Fridge Storage

Organizing Items by Shelf Makes Finding Things Easier

Organizing Items by Shelf Makes Finding Things Easier

Fortunately, you don’t have to get a fridge organizer to have a fridge that is in good order. Unlike pantry shelves, your fridge shelves may have markings on them that show where it is best to store certain items. This is usually based on where certain foodstuffs will keep the longest based on humidity levels and temperature.

For example, some fridge drawers may be designed so that one side stores vegetables, and the other stores' fruit. This is due to slightly different humidity levels in fruit containers for fridges which affect how long things can go without spoiling. Generally, vegetables like more humidity, and fruits prefer less. Either way, you’ll want to keep your produce in the crispers since that’s the best place for them.

The bottom shelves are best for meat and fish since this is the coolest part of the fridge and also the safest since any leakage won’t drip onto other stuff in the fridge. Middle shelves are best for dairy products and eggs since they tend to have the most vertical space for tall receptacles such as milk cartons. The top shelf is best suited for stuff that isn’t gonna be in the fridge for long, such as leftovers or takeout. This is one of the warmer parts of the fridge so anything you put here will have a lower lifespan.

As for the door, only put the most stable stuff such as condiments, jams, and other preserves on its shelves. The door is being opened and closed all the time, so anything that needs consistently cold temperatures may not do well here. Another benefit of keeping everything in specific zones is that it makes it easier to find what you're looking for. This also makes it less likely that something will be forgotten and left to rot in the back of the fridge.     

Trim the Deadwood

Avoid Smelly Surprises by Filtering Out Old Foodstuffs

Avoid Smelly Surprises by Filtering Out Old Foodstuffs

Of course, things can still manage to slip through the cracks in our busy lives. Sometimes we buy a fancy jam, try a bit, and then forget about it for months until it has all sorts of interesting things growing in it. We often buy things we feel like we need at the moment only to lose track of them later on, and this is especially easy to do when you’re trying to feed a family.

It’s therefore a good refrigerator storage idea to plumb the depths of your fridge every now and then for any “deadwood” or old food that is no longer edible. This useless stuff takes up valuable real estate in your fridge and makes it waste energy to keep things cold that should be thrown away.

Just go through your fridge and purge all these items. Better yet, make note of the items that often seem to end up forgotten in the back of the fridge so you can avoid buying them in the future and reduce your food waste. Fridge organizers can reduce the likelihood of this problem by keeping everything in an easy-to-find place where it won’t be as easy to lose track of.  

Keeping Things Clean

Everyone’s Happier When the Fridge Is Clean

Everyone’s Happier When the Fridge Is Clean

Once you’ve cleaned out your fridge, you might wonder if there is a way to keep it from getting so dirty again. If so, you’re in luck because we have a simple hack for you that actually works. Picture this: you bring in all this fresh produce for your newly cleaned fridge. The produce is so fresh it still has little bits of soil from the fertile fields it was plucked out of.

You want to keep these beautiful veggies nice and fresh, but you don’t want your sparkly fridge to get all nasty again, so what can you do?

The fridge storage solution is simple: dish towels. Simply take a bunch of dish towels and use them to line the bottom of your crisper drawers and all the shelves in your fridge. This might seem weird at first, but it comes with some big benefits. Now all dirt that is on anything you put in the fridge will rub off onto these dish towels, which you can periodically remove and throw in the washing machine.

This even works if you have a custom fridge organizer since the towels can conform to any shape. You’ll still have to deep clean your fridge, but you won’t have to do it nearly as often, and it will usually just mean giving it a wipe down.   

Should You Pre-cut Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and Veggies Last Longer When They Are Whole

Fruits and Veggies Last Longer When They Are Whole

If you’re trying to live a healthy snack life you’ve probably come across the fridge storage idea of chopping up veggies such as celery and carrots and sticking them in neat little plastic boxes so you can snack on them throughout the day.

Cutting up vegetables in advance can also be more convenient since it gets prep work out of the way, but you should do this not long before you intend to use the vegetables since cutting them up will make them spoil faster. This is because cut-up greens have more surface area exposed to the air, allowing the breakdown process to happen faster even if they are in a vegetable storage container for fridges.

The same applies to veggies that you can buy pre-cut at some grocery stores. The time you save in skipping prep is also the time you lose in total shelf life, so be sure to keep that in mind if you want to keep your produce edible as long as possible.

Consider Using Containers and Trays

Containers Make For Neater Fridge Storage

Containers Make For Neater Fridge Storage

To further categorize your foodstuffs, consider using baskets and extra trays in your fridge as well. Extra baskets, bins, and trays for storage make for great fridge organizers because they make it much easier to find a specific item.

For example, you can use a refrigerator organizer bin to store any condiments that won’t fit in the door, or for extra cheeses that might not fit in your fridge’s little cheese drawer. Little fridge storage containers for garlic or onions are also practical since they keep the strong tastes of these two things from getting into other foods. 

A basket can also be a nice place for snacking fruits such as a bushel of apples or a bunch of grapes. If your fridge is big enough, a lazy susan for fridges is the ultimate solution in convenient fridge storage. Imagine not having to take everything out of the fridge just to fish out one tiny item that’s the way in the back.


Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes