Keep Your Fridge Organized With These 6 Easy Tips

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated November 24, 2021
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Opening fridge doors can be groan-worthy when the shelves are cluttered and the ketchup bottle is hard to find. But with just a few hours, you can turn your appliance into an organized space worthy of “The Home Edit.” 

Here’s how to get your refrigerator in tip-top shape (and stop letting that food in the back expire).

1. Clean House

Before reorganizing your fridge, empty it and give it a thorough cleaning. Take out and wash any drawers and drawer dividers, scrape off gunked-on food, and wipe down shelves and door compartments. 

After putting everything back in place, set an opened box of baking soda on a shelf to deodorize the space. Get into the habit of cleaning your fridge at least four times a year. After all, a clean fridge is a more attractive fridge!

2. Pare Down What You Refrigerate

The more items you keep in your fridge, the busier your space will be. To reduce the visual clutter, only refrigerate what you need to keep cold. 

Store produce, like tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, bananas, stone fruit, and tropical fruit on your sideboard or in a fruit bowl on your counter. If you can freeze certain items, like nuts or seeds, consider doing so.

3. Arrange Food to Make It Last

Function comes first when organizing your fridge and making your food last longer. To figure out where to store everything, it helps to understand the properties of the different parts of your fridge.

  • The door is the warmest part, with the upper shelf a close second. Use the door to store items that go bad the slowest, like store-bought condiments and drinks. Use the top shelf to keep foods that go bad slightly more quickly, like cultured dairy products (such as yogurt, butter, and cheese) and leftovers.

  • The bottom shelf and crisper drawers are the colder parts of your fridge. Because raw meat, milk, and cream go bad relatively quickly, store them in these areas. Ideally, your fridge contains a meat drawer, which will allow you to separate out these items so any drippings won’t contaminate other foods.

  • Along with being cold, crisper drawers often allow you to adjust their humidity. If your fridge has this function, designate one drawer as lower humidity and use it for fruit and other produce that rots more quickly. Make the other higher humidity, which is ideal for storing vegetables. Place a couple of layers of paper towels on the bottom of each crisper drawer to catch debris, then replace them every couple of weeks.

4. Discard Packaging

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Simplicity is central to keeping your fridge clutter-free. If you keep all your foods’ original packaging, you’ll see a riot of colors, shapes, and materials, which will make it look busy. Toss out any packaging you can.

5. Use Clear Plastic Organizers

Instead of in their original packaging, place items in clear plastic bins, and use clear plastic dividers on shelves and in drawers. This way, you’ll organize your space and see items more clearly. Be sure to label all bins and drawers for efficiency (and aesthetics!).

6. Store Like With Like

To cut down on visual clutter and make food easier to find, store similar items together. Think a clear plastic bin filled completely with oranges or a lazy Susan holding several bottles of condiments. If your fridge is roomy enough to feature several crisper drawers, consider designating each one a specific color, such as green for all your green veggies. Once your fridge is in tip-top shape, you can even get started on organizing your freezer.

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