20 Organization Hacks for your Refrigerator
Organization is my love language. It’s not really my love language, per se, but my husband can tell you there are few things in life that bring joy to my (undiagnosed) OCD heart than organization.
I recently watched an Instagram reel that said “My toxic trait is that I like my house to look like there are absolutely no signs of life,” and I feel that. I am that, and I live that. Organization is life.
Perhaps that comes as a shock being that my husband and I have four kids – is organization possible with so much life in one home? Yes, it is.
And it all works because they’ve known since they were born that mommy is twitchy when things are messy, so they just clean up behind themselves. My favorite thing to organize is my fridge. We use it daily…for food.
Nothing about a messy fridge brings me peace. In fact, I’ve been known to empty it out every week or so to clean all the shelves, trays, and bins. I keep it organized, and I get twitchy when it’s not.
Please don’t get me started on the fingerprints outside the fridge…fingerprint-free stainless steel my ass, appliance salesperson. You are a dirty, rotten liar.
The inside of my fridge, unlike the man who assured me we’d never see fingerprints outside our fridge, is not dirty. Nor is it rotten. Because I know all the best ways to organize your fridge, and I’m going to share. You are so welcome.
Also, if you have additional refrigerator organizational tips, please let me know. I’m always up for an amazing hack that keeps the fridge organized (on second thought, send me your medicine organizational hacks, please, because this is where I’m in over my head).
1. Get A Second Fridge
I’ve got a story for you about this (I’m sure you’re shocked that I’m interrupting myself with yet another story). I mentioned our laundry room fridge to someone a few months ago, and they didn’t know what that was.
Apparently, it’s not a thing everywhere. I’m turning 40 this year, and I’ve never met anyone who only has one refrigerator. Everyone I know has always had one in their kitchen, and they have a second on in the laundry room or the garage. Some have one in the laundry room and another in the garage.
It’s loveably referred to in our house as the beer-rator because that’s where we keep beer, soda, bottled water, Gatorade, mixed beverages, etc. That’s all we keep in there. The freezer portion is for extra meat, etc.
Anyway, my point is that a second fridge is a must. We’d never be able to keep all of our food and our beverages in the fridge if we only had one, and our freezer would never hold all of our freezer items. A second fridge doesn’t need to a fancy fridge, either, so it’s very budget-friendly. It’s also the best organizational tool you’ll find.
2. Shortest in the Front, Please
Just like in class and sport photos, put your shortest items in the front of your taller ones. This way everyone can see what you have.
3. Bins Are Your Best Friend
You can get these everywhere. Ours are from the Container Store, but I’ve been seeing people touting bins from Amazon left and right lately. I’m sure they are all the same, but these help you organize everything effortlessly.
4. Glass Bowls are the Best
Everything in your fridge can go into a glass bowl – well, almost everything. From fruit to leftover items to snacks, it’s so helpful for stacking and organizing.
5. Leftovers Always Go in Microwave Safe Containers
Have I mentioned I don’t eat leftovers? The idea of reheating old food is just…awful. I can’t do it. I don’t take home to-go boxes at restaurants (well, I take them out of the restaurant because they always box things up without asking, but I don’t eat them). That said, do you want to ask me why I think putting leftovers we neither cook to have or eat is a good idea? Because my husband will eat anything that doesn’t eat him first, and he loves leftovers. Unfortunately, as a non-microwave using human, I didn’t know you couldn’t put certain things in a microwave because they melt/burn/catch on fire/spark. So, always put your leftovers in microwave safe containers so you can take them out, pop them in, and not set off the fire alarm. Hard lessons are often learned, are they not?
6. Group Your Stuff Correctly in Door Shelves
In our house, it’s condiments that go in the door. Some people group theirs by items – salad dressings, condiments, other items.
Ours are grouped by ‘things the kids use all the time’ which are placed on a shelf they can all reach, and ‘things we use all the time’ which can go anywhere. We also have a shelf up high of ‘things the kids want to have all the time but we don’t want them to reach’ and that includes chocolate syrup, whipped cream, etc.
7. Unpackage veggies
Take them out of the packages they come in and put them in your storage bowls. Not only does this allow you to clean everything in advance by rinsing and drying, but it’s also easier to store. It’s more aesthetically pleasing, too.
8. Unpackage Beverages
When we put beverages in the laundry room fridge, we take them out of their packages. We use bins, too, so we can stack them. We put everything in groups, and it looks so much nicer.
9. Keep Your Regularly Used Items Within Reach
The items you use all the time should be the ones you can get to the easiest. Let’s face it, we know you’re not using the buttermilk every single day. That’s the kind of stuff that goes on top and in the back. If you use it daily, make it easy to reach.
10. Always Place Meat on the Lowest Shelf
And always keep it in a bag or in a bin. You don’t want to cross-contaminate anything, do you? Imagine buying a few cuts of beautiful filet mignon from your local meat department. Your husband is going to grill them for dinner. You bring them home and stick them on the top shelf of the fridge to keep them cool, but also ready to come out and season when it’s time – and the package leaks. Now it’s dripping down the fridge. Raw meat juices in your fruit and veggie bin. YUCK. Meat goes on the bottom shelf, and it always stays either in the grocery bag in which it came home, or in a special bin for meat. Read: A special bin you wash carefully each and every time you use it.
11. Stack Everything
Stackable bins are the gift that keeps on giving. You can make your fridge larger without buying a new one, but you can utilize and maximize every square inch by going up.
12. Label It
Okay, so this is a popular fridge organization hack. I don’t quite get this one, but label lovers go to town, mmkay? I don’t think there is a great need to label clear containers in the fridge seeing as how you can literally see through them.
But if you feel you need to label those clear bins with the items you can see are inside of them, who am I to stop you? Label-lovers are a special kind of people, and I kind of love them. Label it, friend.
13. An Eat Me Now Box is A Good Idea
Okay, a what now? The first time I saw one of these at a friend’s house, I laughed. Wtf is an eat me now box? It’s genius, is what it is. It’s a box of things that are not quite empty, not expired, but typically ignored. For example, when I bring home a new container of milk or a new package of everyone’s favorite deli lunch meat, my people go for that when there might still be a bit of milk or a few pieces of lunch meat. The eat me now box is the box in which you keep the things that your family has to eat until it’s gone before they open the new package of the same stuff.
14. Magnetic Spice Jars are Great for Small Spaces
Before my husband and I had four kids and a big ass house to raise them, we built a home for the two of us. We were planning our wedding and building our first home at the same time (do not recommend).
It was just the two of us, and we did not need a lot of space. We knew it would be years before we welcomed any children, so we built a little house with only 1,200-square feet of living space and a little galley kitchen.
We had three little bedrooms and two little baths, and absolutely no space. Which is saying a lot because I don’t like stuff and keep nothing. Back then, we didn’t have extra space, so space savers were a blessing.
Magnetic spice jars were one of those blessings. They go on the outside of the fridge to save cabinet, pantry, and counter space. You need spices to make all the best recipes, so this is beyond helpful. You’re welcome.
15. Under the Shelf Storage Drawers
These are genius. I don’t use them, but I’m thinking I may need to order some. You can buy them here, but I’m sure you can also find them many other places. These are great for adding a little extra storage to the fridge so you can keep it all a bit more organized.
16. Get A Wine Fridge
If you really want to organize your fridge, get a wine fridge. You already have the beer-rator fridge in the laundry room or garage or wherever, now get a wine fridge.
This is great in the kitchen if you can install it under a cabinet, but it’s also something you can add to the bar or the dining room. It keeps your whites and champagnes cold, and it saves you so much space in your fridge for other things.
17. Clean it Out Regularly
The best thing you can do to keep your fridge organized is to clean it out. I like to take the drawers out and wipe down the shelves every Sunday when we do a large grocery shopping trip to prepare for the week of lunch boxes, etc. Just pull everything out a shelf at a time, wipe it down, and get rid of anything expired or bad.
18. You Can Adjust Your Shelves
Did you know this? Try it. You probably have entirely too much space on one shelf and not nearly enough on another. Do yourself a favor and adjust things so they work for you.
19. Do Not Line Your Shelves or Drawers
This is anti-advice, so bear with me a second. You’re going to google many articles about tips and hacks and tricks for organizing your fridge, and they’re going to tell you to line your shelves.
Don’t do it. So gross. Just yuck. This is all primarily damp, wet, liquid stuff. It spills. Do you really want to clean up spilled milk from your liner? No, not when you can wipe it off a plastic shelf and move one. Lining the fridge just traps germs and encourages filth. Do not line your shelves.
20. Learn to Correctly Store Fruit and Vegetables So They Last
Here’s something that people don’t consider when they’re organizing their fridge. Certain things tend to go bad faster than others, and it’s almost always your own fault. Why? Because you do not know how to store your fruits and veggies for the longest shelf life. This article is a great resource for learning how to correctly store these items so they last. Do it.
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