Let’s face it. The refrigerator is probably the most used appliance in your kitchen. This also makes it the most touched item. That being stated, refrigerators can get messy fairly quickly. In this post, we’ll uncover a few ways to organize your refrigerator to maximize storage. 

Not only do you want to maximize storage by learning how to best organize your refrigerator, but you also want to eliminate food waste.

Americans, in general, are known for not being very resourceful with the foods we purchase. One statistic shows that Americans waste 25 percent of their foods, which simply get tossed in the trash unused.

One of the ways we waste food is by storing it improperly so that it gets lost or forgotten in the refrigerator. So, let’s address a few ways to better organize this space.

Bonus Tip: Research which food items freeze well and start doing so. This eliminates food waste and can also help to cut your grocery bill. Freeze leftovers whenever possible and reuse them in your menu planning. Even if you just freeze a small portion, such as chicken, you can still use it to prepare a larger meal like stew.

how to organize your refrigerator
how to organize your refrigerator

Because every refrigerator is slightly different, we’re going to use general terms to define the spaces. Most every refrigerator has main shelves, door bins, and drawers.

The main shelves are located front and center and have the most storage space. The door bins can hold smaller, lighter weight items. The drawers are to minimize light exposure, generally, and they usually don’t get as cold as the main shelves.

To Organize your Refrigerator:

Step one in organizing your refrigerator is finding out what all you have stored in there. To do this, you will need to pull everything out and place it on a countertop. We’re going to need to work quickly to avoid our foods getting too hot. You can do this one shelf at a time to avoid getting the foods overheated. 

Next, you’ll want to declutter and toss out anything that is expired. Check your expiration dates if you aren’t sure. Food safety is important to prevent food borne illnesses. So, declutter the refrigerator weekly.

To simplify this task, I usually do a quick declutter right before I go grocery shopping. This way I can free up space for what I plan to purchase. I can also see what items I already have on hand that I can use for meals. I make a menu as I go along.

Now that you have decluttered everything, sort the items into categories- jams/jellies, sauces, condiments, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, etc.

how to organize your refrigerator

Now, do a quick wipe down of the empty refrigerator. You can use dish soap and a washcloth. You don’t want to put your freshly organized items back into a dirty refrigerator.

Bonus tip: To keep your refrigerator clean, you can use disposable liners on your shelves and inside your bins and drawers. This makes for a quick cleanup.

Now, let’s begin putting everything back inside. First, let’s use the door bins as seen in the photo above. Put items here by category. Put your jams and jellies together, your sauces together, your salad dressings, your condiments, etc. Adjust your shelves, if they are adjustable, to maximize storage. 

how to organize your refrigerator

Now, let’s store those highly perishable items, such as produce. In general, these items have as short shelf life. So, you need to consume these early in the week, if you only shop once a week.

Try to plan your menus to serve those perishable foods early on in the first half of the week to prevent them from spoiling. This is one way to eliminate food waste. I like to store mine in the storage drawers. I label these drawers to reflect what’s inside.

Again, make a written menu to keep yourself from neglecting to use them before they go bad. You don’t want them to get lost or forgotten in your refrigerator.

how to organize your refrigerator

Next, let’s look at the dairy items such as milk and cheese. These also are perishable, so you need to use them before they spoil. 

Bonus Tip:Another way to avoid wasting foods is to only buy what you plan and know you’ll actually use. Avoid overstocking perishables. If you like to overstock, select canned or shelf stable items that have a longer shelf life. 

Large milk and drink containers can be stored together on your main shelves. Try to store “like” items together. I store all of our drinks on the same shelves.

Next, let’s determine how to store breads. Some people prefer to keep their bread at room temperature, but we store ours in the fridge to maximize shelf life. It never gets moldy in my refrigerator. I like to use one of the large drawers for this purpose.

Again, I like to label my drawers, so we have one specific bread drawer in our home. I store breads, hamburger buns, rolls, and hotdog buns inside together. Again, aim to store your “like” items together, so nothing gets lost or forgotten in the refrigerator.

how to organize your refrigerator

Sandwich meat should always be consumed before the expiration date. I like to store sandwich meats and cheese together in my refrigerator. Again,I use a labeled drawer to store these items.

Butter and margarine usually come in two varieties, tub containers or sticks. I store the sticks in the top door bin. You can also store yeast jars, garlic jars, and other small spices here. The tub butter bin is stored on my main shelves. 

how to organize your refrigerator

I am not a wine drinker myself, but I have a wine bottle rack in my refrigerator. Instead of wasting space, I use my wine rack to store canned refrigerated items, such as biscuits and rolls. These store perfectly on those wine shelf racks.

Bonus tip: You can and should freeze meat whenever possible to extend the shelf life. Just remember to thaw it a day before use by placing the frozen package in the refrigerator. Avoid freezing sandwich meats, as they do not freeze well and will not be very flavorful if you do.

Coffee is a specialty item for many, so there are lots of varying opinions on coffee storage. We actually love coffee, and we store ours in the refrigerator door bin. We drink coffee daily, so mine will likely never even have time to expire before we use it. However, many people swear by keeping coffee at room temperature, so this is a personal preference. You will have to decide this one for your own taste.

Bonus Tip: To store large, heavy items or lunch boxes remove your bottom drawer permanently. In Summer, I store watermelons here, before I cut and serve them. During the school year, I store the kids’ lunch boxes here. 

I hope you have found this information beneficial and now have a few more ideas on how to organize your refrigerator. If you enjoy reading this type of material, subscribe to my blog for more tips and tricks on cleaning and organizing everything in your home. 

Need to deep clean? I have lists for you to guide you along.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kids’ Rooms list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Living Room list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom list can be found here.

Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.

Need to Declutter Every room? I have declutter checklists for every room and every space in your home to guide you along below.

Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can sign up here.

Struggling with the daily housekeeping chores? Check out my ebook on this topic, entitled Make Over Your Homemaking. Use this link to get it at a discounted price.

How to Declutter the Guest Room or Your Kid’s Room checklist can be found here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-design-3-683x1024.png

How to Declutter Your Laundry Room and Patio checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Coat Closet/Hall Closet/Linen Closet checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Home Office checklist can be found here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-design-4-683x1024.png

How to Declutter Your Attic checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Garage checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Living Room checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Kitchen Checklist can be found here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-design-2-683x1024.png

How to Declutter Your Entry/Foyer/Mudroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Clothing checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bedroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bathroom checklist can be found here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-design-5-683x1024.png

Need some Inspiration to Declutter? Join us for the Year Long Through Declutter Series by subscribing by email below. To subscribe, leave a comment below.

The Year Long Thorough Declutter Series is designed to help you declutter every room and every space in your home. It includes daily tasks, so you can track your progress. It also includes detailed lists to declutter each room and each space within your home. You can sign up here.

Happy Decluttering!

New to deemiddleton.com and don’t know where to start? I recommend going in this order:

Step 1: Check out this post on the 1st step you should take to get organized. If you don’t have a calendar, you can grab my free weekly printable calendar page here. It is in my shopify store, but it is totally free, so you won’t be prompted to put in any payment information. It is a free download and will be delivered straight to your email.

Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can sign up here.

Step 2: Create a daily Housekeeping Schedule. You can use this series to start to set up your own schedule. You can also use this simplified weekly schedule.If you often ask: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Or, if you struggle to get organized and have tried and failed time and again, you can likely find out which of these 11 reasons cause you to fail to get organized.

Step 3:   How do you remove clutter? How Do You Declutter Your Home?.…Sign up for the Declutter Series and get your entire home decluttered in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.”Declutter Your Home” checklists are provided in each email.

Step 4: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Use a timer and use the Deep Cleaning Checklists above. They will help you get your home sparkling after you’ve decluttered. 

Interested in becoming a full-time blogger like me? Check out my blogging series. At the top of every page on my blog, you’ll find a drop down menu. Just select the BLOGGING category.

Check out the most popular posts on deemiddleton.com: 

14 Things That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

How to Do A 1 Day Declutter

How to Create a Daily Housekeeping Schedule

How to Clean House When You Are Completely Overwhelmed By Clutter

What is Preventing You From Getting Organized?

Also, check out a great post on decluttering over here from becomingminimalist.com. Joshua Becker has some great tips on decluttering and minimalism.

For further reading, check out the fly lady here. She has some great cleaning and kitchen decluttering ideas plus excellent organization tips to get you started.