Prepare your next meal from a perfectly organized refrigerator, and you might decide to stay in for dinner more often. Fridge organization ideas can work for you no matter your budget, fridge style, or family dynamic. Apply a few professional tips to create the organized refrigerator of your kitchen dreams.
Bring Your Beverage Game
For all your family's favorite sodas, juices, and bottled water, create a section of your fridge just for storing beverages. Do this on an upper shelf that older children can reach. Keep beverages arranged in rows from front to back so each option is visible with plenty of extra stock extending to the back of the fridge.
Level Up Your Leftovers
For meal leftovers or extra ingredients from previous recipes, keep all your leftovers in similar storage containers and have them placed on a middle shelf of the fridge. Try to have leftovers pulled toward the front so you don't forget them. It's never fun to find that green, fuzzy spaghetti in the back two weeks later!
Plan for Food Prep
If you like to prepare your daily meals a few days in advance, make sure you designate a special place in your fridge so you never forget them. You might place this near your leftovers section or have a separate space toward the top of your fridge so other family members aren't tempted to sneak a bite or two.
Never Overlook an Expiration Date Again
If you have items in your fridge that need to be eaten sooner rather than later, have a bin or labeled section that says "eat now." This is great for opened cans of sauces, sour cream, applesauce, and produce that has peaked. It encourages you to use the ingredients in meal prep as well as lets family members know you're hoping to see those items eaten before they consider others.
Make Meat & Dairy Meet in the Middle
For bacon, raw meats, sour cream, milk products, and eggs, have a section in the middle of your fridge for meat and dairy only. This should be lower than your other items but never resting above your produce crisper or opposite the leftover section. Depending on your family's dietary needs, you might find your meat and dairy section is smaller or larger. Adjust accordingly and consider using bins and trays to keep things organized if you only have a few dairy items.
Designate Deli Space
For deli meats and cheeses, you'll want to make sure you make plenty of room according to your usual grocery list. You might have a small to large drawer already designated for these items. Your drawer might be placed toward the bottom, or you might have one that you can move. If you don't have a meat and deli drawer, you can create your own with a drawer style storage container or stackable bins. Try to keep this as close to the bottom of your fridge as possible.
Create a Kid's Space
For all the times your child might ask for snacks, have a designated fridge space just for them. Use a bin or a drawer that's full of parent-approved snacks. Keep this in an easy-to-reach area and make sure it's fully stocked with plenty of variety. If you have kids who pack their own lunches, you might label items with instructions for quantity with labels like "take one," or "take two." You'll save yourself plenty of kitchen time by giving your kids a safe way to be independent with their snack choices.
Store Fruits and Vegetables Correctly
There's a good chance your fridge already has a crisper drawer for both fruits and vegetables - fruits will likely be labeled as a low-humidity drawer, while vegetables will be labeled as a high-humidity drawer. Generally, you can follow these labels for best storage. A good rule of thumb is to consider how much ventilation your product needs. If the fruit or vegetable molds quickly or has soft skin, put it in the low-humidity drawer. Crispier produce or produce that wilts quickly is better suited to the high-humidity drawer.
Don't Overlook the Doors
Fridge doors need just as much attention as the rest of the shelves. Make sure you tidy this section up as much as possible and reserve it for items like condiments, small beverages, jarred foods, and possibly eggs and butter. Do your best to cut down on unnecessary or expired items and just try to keep things tidy and uncluttered.
Add Organizational Products That Help Your Fridge Stay Tidy
Layout isn't the only thing to consider when organizing your refrigerator. You might find some useful organizational products can help the flow so your fridge feels more streamlined. Try a mix of products that make sense for your fridge, family, and grocery list.
Bins Are Your Best Friend
Bins of all sizes are great for creating item separation, grouping like items together, and designating uses for certain ingredients. Consider long, narrow bins for toddler snacks, yogurt, cheese sticks, and individual puddings and applesauces. Try large square bins for fruit, dairy items, breads, and random items that don't seem to fit in any one category.
Try a Lazy Susan for Easy Access
For additional items that don't fit in your refrigerator door, snacks, or making the best use of a small shelf, a lazy Susan is a great option. Make sure you don't place it too high - otherwise removing large items might be a hassle.
Maximize Space With Stackable Bins
Stackable bins are perfect for maximizing the use of vertical space in your fridge. Use these for snacks, deli items, cheeses, and even meal prep items.
Consider an Egg Container
If your family goes through a large amount of eggs, or you're just looking to add an aesthetic vibe to your usual carton, try a clear or colorful egg container. Store these in the same space you would keep a store-bought carton, and you might find your weekday scramble brings you just a pinch more joy.
Store Soda in Special Containers
If you're short on space for beverages, you can use a soda holder to store canned beverages on their side. These are specially designed to allow for the second soda to seamlessly slide into place when the first one is removed, and most have a removable top for frustration-free re-stocking.
Pour Beverages Into Pitchers
For water or homemade beverages, or even store-bought juice, a beautiful pitcher, jar, or large bottle is an aesthetically pleasing way to keep your drinks organized. Use similar materials or matching bottles for a streamlined look.
Get Organized With Any Fridge Layout
Your fridge likely has a layout that suits one of the four most popular standard fridge designs.
- Top freezer layout
- Bottom freezer layout
- French door
- Side-by-side doors
Top Freezer & Bottom Freezer Layout
For top freezer and bottom freezer layouts, you will have more width in your fridge and sacrifice some of the vertical space for your freezer. With this layout, you will want to focus on maximizing vertical space with stackable bins, lazy Susans, and an organizational layout that prioritizes side-by-side organization over vertical categorizing of items. You might find your fruits and vegetables have separate drawers, but your meat and dairy items need to share a shelf with leftovers or meal prep.
For a side-by-side fridge layout, you gain plenty of vertical space but lose half of your horizontal storage to the freezer section. For this sort of layout, you might find that too many additional organizational items hinder your storage space. Instead, focus on maximizing your horizontal space with specified shelves for each food category so that the shelves are used to their capacity without feeling completely cluttered. You might also find that you can store a few more things in the door of your fridge, like beverages or snacks, to save space on your interior shelves.
French Door Layout
The dream fridge layout for many people, the french door fridge gives you a two-door system with plenty of vertical and horizontal space. Not to mention you get two doors for lots of storage and all the condiments your family loves. For this layout, focus on using all of that space in a way that makes sense for you. With a lot of your lower space being designated to the freezer, make sure that snacks and kid-friendly items are on the bottom shelf for easy reach. You might also find that tall items are a bit trickier if some of your fridge space is taken up by an ice maker or water filtration system. If this is the case, store tall items in the doors of your fridge or try to transfer beverages to shorter jars or pitchers.
Organize Your Fridge Like a Professional
For a designer or professional look in your newly organized fridge, apply a few helpful tricks that really level up your fridge's aesthetic.
- Transfer everything from its store-bought containers. No visible product labels definitely says high end.
- Use glass storage dishes. Toss those plastic containers for matching glass ones. These microwave and handle the dishwasher much better and give your fridge a real designer feel.
- Label almost everything. Use labels on bins, drawers, and even shelves so everyone can keep the fridge tidy.
- Color code your items. If you really want to prioritize appearance, color coding is a truly designer organizational trick. Work with the color wheel to give your fridge a stunning layout.
- Keep storage containers clear. Whether acrylic, glass, or plastic, stick to clear containers for a streamlined look.
- Keep it clean and clutter free. Try a weekly or bi-weekly tidy of your fridge, wiping down each shelf and drawer and the exterior.
Organize a Fridge That Serves You
The most important thing to consider when organizing your fridge is how the layout will serve you and your family. Create a perfectly organized refrigerator that gives you easy access to daily items, helps you use ingredients efficiently, and gives you a thorough glance when making your next grocery list. Remember, perfection isn't the goal. Rather, you want a fridge that is perfect for your lifestyle.