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How to Organize Your Fridge in a New York Minute

How to Organize Your Fridge

When was the last time you cleaned out and organized your fridge? Ok then, how about your freezer? Answer honestly. Learning how to organize your fridge might be a task you’d rather ignore and move to the bottom of your to-do list.

As much as you may like to keep a clean, tidy, and organized home, there are some spaces that tend to be forgotten.

The fridge is one of those places.

It’s likely that the fridge just doesn’t make it into your weekly cleaning or organizing routine. That’s okay – you’re not alone.

Chances are, you’ve needed to deep clean this appliance every once in a while and were put off by the amount of filth that’s gathered.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?

It makes you wonder whether the fridge is a place to store your food or if it’s the place where food morphs into an unrecognizable blob, in an indistinguishable color, only to be forgotten. It’s amazing how many things can get lost in a relatively small space.

Luckily, organizing your fridge is not the chilling task and mess your moms faced, thanks to modern-day efficiency.

In a New York minute, this quick and simple guide will show you how to organize your fridge. Discover how to maintain a clean and organized fridge that keeps your food fresh, as it’s supposed to.

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.

5 Easy Steps to Clean Your Fridge

The first step to fridge organization is to clean it out. As you know, you can’t organize a space without throwing out the unwanted clutter. Click To Tweet

The same goes for your refrigerator.

How to Organize Your Fridge
Credit: Alexandrua Acea

So, here are 5 easy steps to follow to clean out your fridge in under an hour.

  1. Remove all the food – you’ll need to plan ahead for this step and have a cool bag with frozen cooler blocks ready. Store food that needs to remain cold, such as dairy and meat, in this bag while you clean. Throw out anything that has expired.
  2. Wash the drawers and surfaces – remove the fruit and vegetable drawers as well as all the shelves, so that you can wash them. Wash them in warm water with dishwashing liquid and use a toothpick to remove food particles out of the crevices.
  3. Wipe the interior – while the drawers and shelves are drying naturally, wipe down the interior of the fridge. Use cold water for this and make sure to focus on the grooves on the side. You can also use a q-tip to clean out smaller spaces.
  4. Clean the outside – don’t forget to spend some time cleaning the outside of the fridge while you’re busy. Grime tends to build up around the handle and door edges, so wipe these down as well.
  5. Replace everything – replace the shelves and drawers and then close the fridge door to allow it to cool down. Once the temperature falls to 40°F or below you can replace all the food.

How to Organize Your Fridge with Containers & Labels

Once you’ve cleaned and repacked your fridge, you’ll want it to stay that way for a while. What’s a while in your home? More than 3 days?

To keep things clean and organized longer, you need to know how to organize your fridge the easy way. And for that, you need containers, organizers, and markers purchased ahead of time.

Use clear glass or plastic containers or bins that are clearly labeled to keep order in your fridge. This will make it easier to store like items together and create specific zones for certain food types.

Use a chalk marker, dry erase marker, or freezer marker instead of label stickers,  which tend to peel off if they get wet and can become stained with food. These markers write well on plastic or glass and can easily be wiped off with water.

A Lazy Susan is ideal for storing jars of food (and condiments) that tend to get lost in the back of the refrigerator. As the caddy spins, everything is easier to see.

Organizers and labels are an essential part of keeping your fridge clean and organized for longer.

How to Organize Your Fridge
Credit: Polina Tankelievitch

10 Refrigerator/Freezer Hacks

  • Go through the refrigerator at least every two weeks. Wipe shelves and toss what you don’t need (an old jar of sauce, the leftover ingredient for a recipe you tried long ago). This way, not only will you find what you’re looking for, but you’ll notice when you’re running low on something.
  • Arrange foods by category.
  • Keep condiments on the door.
  • Keep leftovers in one section (date the items as you put them in) to ensure that you find them and use them before they become a curious mixture of mishmash.
  • Store leftovers in airtight containers to increase shelf life.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables in their own section or in the separate crisper drawers at the bottom of the fridge.
  • Keep eggs in the original carton to maintain freshness.
  • Store foods that are perishable and susceptible to growing bacteria such as meat, milk, dairy, eggs on the coldest shelf; which is generally in the back of the fridge.
  • Organize the freezer in categories as well. You can separate by serving size (single serving, family meals, etc.) as well as by content such as soups and side dishes.
  • Keep a list of what you have stored in the freezer. This will shorten your shopping trips if you know what you have and it will expand your meals if you know what extras you’ve frozen. Don’t forget to date and label.
Credit: Dev Benjamin

3 Quick Start Meal Suggestions

 Streamline your cooking and time in the kitchen:

  • Develop 5 meals you can fix in less than 30 minutes. Then stock your fridge and cabinets with those ingredients so that you always have them on hand. One working mother of three limits her weekday cooking to no more than three ingredients recipes.
  • Dovetail tasks. If you’re making vegetables as a side dish on Monday, cut up extra for Tuesday’s stir-fry.
  • Cook two (or more) meals at one time. On Sunday evening, fix a roast or a big turkey breast that you can use as the main ingredient for meals for the rest of the week.

Summary

Are your fridge and freezer a chaotic mess, even after your intimate 2020 Thanksgiving feast? Then follow these quick tips on how to organize your fridge in a NEW York Minute.

Go through your fridge twice a month. Wipe down the shelves and toss what’s expired.

Use organizers, containers, and make sure to label them as well. I’ve never met a Lazy Susan I didn’t like. It works wonders in the fridge.

Sort and group food by use and category and place them in the labeled containers, bins, or Lazy Susan.

Streamline your cooking and create meals that are easy and stretch.

Are you motivated to clean and organize your fridge this week?

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How to Organize Your Fridge

Comments 12

  1. I had a good laugh when I saw the photo of the sneaker in the fridge. I’ll explain in a moment. But first, what a great post about refrigerator organizing! When we had a big power outage (for a week) during the summer, it forced me to do the big fridge cleanout like you described. Truthfully, we keep things pretty clean. But when we lost power, I had to take (and toss) everything in the fridge and freezer. And then I cleaned all the shelves and drawers. With just two of us at home now, the fridge stays organized. But you reminded me that even so, it’s good to give things a once over to find condiments and other items that might be past their date.

    Your corn recipe sounds delicious. Steve makes it on the grill with paprika, but I’m going to try your idea in the oven with the various spices and cheese. It sounds delicious!

    So for the sneaker in the fridge… one of my earliest posts is about just that. Thought you might enjoy it: https://www.ohsoorganized.com/blog/2010/9/19/sneakers-in-the-freezer.html

    1. That is a really cute post. Yes, absolutely, take it down and notch.

      One of my funniest stories was when I was helping my sister and brother-in-law with a big move. I couldn’t find my phone anywhere. So, I used their landline to call my cell phone. It had to be somewhere. By mistake My brother-in-law had put my cell phone in his pocket and when he heard the phone ring, he picked it up and said “hi.” The dilemma of where the cell phone was, was solved.

      Definitely try my roasted corn recipe. It’s simple and so good.

  2. Great tips, Ronni! I found that vinegar and water in a spray bottle help clear the plastic and remove the odors from the inside of the fridge. If it is a more tough stain, I would use an all-purpose cleaner. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Vinegar with water is such a great all purpose cleaner. It’s perfect for the inside of the fridge.
      When I’m poking inside the refrigerator, if I see a spill, I’ll clean it up right then and there. I just don’t like opening the refrigerator door and seeing crumbs and messiness.

  3. Great advice and we should all follow it.

    I’m convinced that we’d all save more money and eat better if, instead of regular shelves, the interior of fridges were giant, multi-level Lazy Susans. Nothing would ever get pushed to the back and forgotten, it would be easier to clean (no need to stretch into the fridge to reach the “back” of shelves) and we’d be able to categorize more completely. Someone should patent that. 😉

  4. I find this to be a very satisfying task. Not only do things work better, but at some level it just feels “healthier” to have a clean fridge. I have decided that keeping certain items in certain zones of the fridge works for me, such as the milk in the back (I don’t drink much milk), and the cream cheese and butter on the top shelf. This way, I can easily grab what I need, and I can also tell at a glance if something is running low.

    Haven’t used a lazy susan in the fridge yet, but it is a great idea!

    1. You definitely know what you’re doing, Seana.I also group food in the refrigerator as it makes it so much easier to find.
      My pet fridge peeve is when foods expire. They get pushed to the back like a forgotten child. I definitely date what I can. Such as eggs.

  5. GREAT tips, Ronni. We meal prep and go “shopping” in our pantry and fridge before we go to the grocery store. We try to only buy what we need for the week in the fridge so it’s relatively empty at the end of the week. This makes it much easier to keep clean. Definitely worth it!!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. It’s a good idea to limit grocery shopping and try to keep your pantry and fridge stocked for the week. It’s so true, if you go shopping in your pantry or your fridge, you can come up with a meal.
      I eat a ton of vegetables. So, I come up with several vegetables plus all the ingredients for a green salad. Right there I have most of my meal. It works.

    1. I agree with you, Janet. I find the fridge and the pantry are easier to organize than other areas of the home.

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