Refrigerator organization requires a bit of work but offers big payoffs. For starters, seeing what you have in the fridge makes grocery shopping easier and reduces food waste.
To get started, clean out your refrigerator, empty drawers, and caddies, tossing anything past its prime. Then, sort items into categories and use containers, bins, and baskets to corral foods like condiments, milk, cheese, and produce.
Use Clear Containers
Unlike the bulky packaging your food may have originally come in, clear storage containers allow you to see what’s inside. And when you outfit bins and trays with pre-written labels, family members can easily find items that need to be eaten first.
Refrigerator shelves are often adjustable, so use this feature by experimenting with different shelf heights. The upper shelves are usually the warmest, so they’re good candidates for dairy, drinks and leftovers. The lower shelves are colder, so keep meats and cheeses there.
Keep condiments and reusable soda can holders in the door so they’re easy to grab, and store kid snacks like mini cheeses, squeeze pouches and juice boxes on middle shelves where kids can reach them. Keeping healthier choices front and center can help kids make better food choices. Organizing your fridge with these simple solutions takes just a little effort but can save you time and money and reduce waste.
A fridge organized with meal prep containers can help reduce clutter, save space and make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Consider labeling each container or shelf’s contents to avoid food waste and simplify your organization system.
For example, milk should always go on the bottom shelf since it’s one of the coldest parts of the refrigerator. You may also designate a drawer for meat and another for fruit. And you’ll likely want to keep condiments, like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, in the fridge door, as they have longer shelf lives.
When shopping for containers, look for clear lids that easily show what’s inside. And make sure to measure your fridge to ensure that the bins you purchase will fit. Invest in pull-out refrigerator organization bins to help maximize your space.
Keeping your fridge organized with containers can reduce food waste and improve kitchen efficiency. However, finding a system that works for you can take some time and experimentation. Start by taking inventory of your fridge and identifying its different zones. This will help you determine how many containers you need for your regularly stored foods. Once you know where the various categories of foods are located, group similar items together. This makes it easy to spot what you need when preparing meals or shopping for groceries.
You can also use stackable containers to maximize space and create multiple layers for storing food. And don’t be afraid to play around with shelving heights; putting a lazy susan in the back of your fridge allows you to access condiments like ketchup easily. Other nontraditional fridge accessories include specialty produce containers that keep fruit fresher longer and egg holder bins that make it easier to tell how many eggs you have.
A refrigerator with labels can help you keep track of food and cut down on waste. Labeling shelves and baskets is a great way to get your family on board with organizing and will make it much easier for everyone to know where everything belongs. “But it’s important not to over-categorize and to be flexible with your labels—it’s easy for things to change, so don’t worry about being too specific.”
Shearer suggests storing leftovers on the upper shelves of your fridge where temperatures are the coldest. She also means putting milk, eggs and other perishables in your fridge door for quick access.
Consider adding a Lazy Susan to your fridge to store condiments and sauces in their designated space so they won’t accidentally spill over your food or drip onto other items. And remember to put a dry-erase sheet on the inside of your fridge to keep a running list of ingredients, with an alert when something is approaching its expiration date.