Organizing Your Refrigerator

If you're like most people, keeping up with the organization of your refrigerator is one of the last things on your mind. We generally tend to forget about our refrigerator until there is a problem, like we suddenly need to put something in it and there's not enough room. You can actually avoid this problem though, if you organize it well to begin with.



Organizing your refrigerator is also a great time to clean it so you might as well take everything out of it, give it a good wash down, and just start from scratch. Dishwashing liquid is a good cleaner to use and paper towels work well to clean and dry with. Don't forget to take out the shelves and wash them down as well.

Get Rid of the Waste

Next, you'll want to throw away everything that has expired. If you have a compost pile then remember that many things can go in there. Food items that you'll want to avoid composting are dairy, fruits, and meats.

Organizing Your Food

Once you're ready to put things back in the refrigerator you should start by grouping things together. Use one drawer for all of the cheeses, one shelf (preferably inside the refrigerator door) for any condiments that need to be refrigerated, and put all of the vegetables together. If you have several drawers and they're all about the same size then put the items that you use on a more regular basis closer to the top so that you can just reach in and grab them.


If you lack shelf space then simple under shelf baskets and stackable shelves that can be removed are good ideas. These can help keep things separated and therefore easier to get to.

It might be a good idea to combine some things if you can. For instance, if you have three cartons of eggs but they're not all full, empty the eggs into one carton if you can and toss the empty ones. Likewise, merge salad dressing bottles, juices, etc. if you have more than one of the same kind and they've been opened.

Keep Items Handy

Although you might be tempted to put the larger items in the back so that they don't hide the smaller ones, this doesn't always work to your advantage. If you need to use the large item (like a carton of milk that's about to expire) then put it in the front. That way, you'll remember it and it won't go to waste. With that in mind, once you have organized your items you might want to leave a special space up in the very front to highlight items that you need to use soon or that you plan to use for your next meal.

Organizing Your Refrigerator

About The Author: Rebecca Patrick-Howard is ThriftyFun's organizing expert. Click here to ask an organizing question.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
May 29, 20140 found this helpful

I'm wondering why you say to not compost dairy and fruit. We compost both all the time with great results. In fact, the local gardening club did a class on composting and told us dairy was great for composting because it added microbes, especially those found in cheese and yogurts.

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November 23, 20140 found this helpful

Between my problems with arthritis and my husband's recent diagnosis of a terminal brain tumor, I have found my favorite saying "work smarter not harder" has been necessary even more lately. To manage my refrigerator organization, I got plastic trays for each shelf. One of the problems we had were the items getting pushed to the back of the shelf and not being able to get to it.


I put the food items on the tray and just slide them out to get what I need, no more lost items. I use a tray or a container for like items, such as yogurt, diabetic drinks, etc. Before his diagnosis, he would have to get down on his knees to retrieve the items. Now we just pull the tray out for what we need. Just have to be smarter these days.

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