How to Use Baskets to Organize Your Refrigerator

We’ve been using baskets to organize our refrigerator for about 2 years now.  Almost every time people come to our home and see baskets in the refrigerator we’re always asked these two simple questions, “Do they actually work?” followed closely with, “Could they work for us?”  Here’s a look at how we keep the refrigerator organized with budget friendly baskets and how to decide if they’re right for you too…

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We haven’t always used baskets to organize the refrigerator.  Before we started using them every day our refrigerator looked like this…

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I know, right? It’s crazy to even think about the cluttered mess on those shelves! I’ve come to realize a big part of decluttering, organizing and maintaining a clutter-free lifestyle starts with the decision to live your values.  I don’t think anyone goes to sleep at night thinking, “I can’t wait to see my messy refrigerator when I wake up!” like they do about a steaming cup of coffee first thing in the morning or making a healthy breakfast.  Yet, every day we use (and sometimes ignore) a space that is vital to helping create comforting meals for our families.

I think anyone can have an organized kitchen, pantry or refrigerator but it’s definitely something you have to make a priority.  Not one person I know has tons of extra time to organize these spaces, you have to make time.  It’s just that simple. Ready to get started?

Declutter

Before you start organizing the refrigerator you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of trash bags for throwing away expired food.  You’ll also want to make sure your dining room or breakfast nook table is completely cleared off so you don’t have to clutter up your kitchen counters.

Categorize Food Items

As you take items out of your refrigerator, throw away anything that has expired and place like items together on your cleared table.  For example, place all of your vegetables together, dairy, condiments, etc… this will help you determine how many baskets or containers you actually need.

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Clean

Once you have all of the items taken out of the refrigerator, wipe down all of the shelves, drawers and bins until they are completely clean and dry.

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Consider Shelf Liners

These shelf liners are actually plastic placemats I bought at The Dollar Store. They do not have the foam backing which is awesome because you can put them directly in the dishwasher or soapy water to clean. No more scraping dried jelly off the glass shelves, am I right?

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Add Baskets

Only add the number of baskets best suited for the needs of your current lifestyle.  You may have 4 shelves that will fit 2 baskets each but do you really need 8 baskets? The mornings for us can be really hectic so we try to prep as much as we can in advance.  This means creating easy grab and go snacks, smoothie pouches and lunches.  So right off the bat, I knew we were going to need at least 3 or more baskets to address those needs because they are a priority for the way we currently live. Only you can determine how many baskets you’re going to need and how you want to use them.

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Leave Some Free Space

You might be tempted to fill every space with a basket (I was too) but after using this system for a while we’ve discovered leaving space or even an entire shelf empty for leftovers or large containers (think pitchers of water, wine if you don’t have a chiller or flavored drink mixes) will help to make things more accommodating.

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Organize Condiments by Meal

Whenever possible organizing your condiments by meal will help make things more efficient when you’re making lunches or cooking.  I know some condiments can be used for multiple meals (think mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup) but the simple act of grouping them together will help things run smoothly on busy mornings or nights when you don’t really feel like cooking at all.

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Label

I decided to use the same labels in the refrigerator we use in the pantry because wanted to keep everything consistent but use whatever labeling system is right for you.  Labeling will not only help your family find things but they’ll also be able to see where to put thing away too.

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Organizing your refrigerator with baskets will work great if you….

  • meal plan
  • only buy those grocery items you’re going to actually use during the week (i.e. not in bulk)
  • you don’t keep a lot of leftovers
  • you’re willing to decant items that come individually wrapped
  • you want to save time and money
  • you’re willing to take a few minutes each week to evaluate and maintain this organization system

We made an initial investment of about $30 when we decided to organize our refrigerator with baskets.  Almost two years later, we’re still organized…

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two years! Declutter…organize…maintain…those are the three steps you need to live a clutter free lifestyle.  Those simple steps will work on any space in your home – big or small! My mom just started using baskets in her refrigerator last weekend so I’ll keep you updated on how they’re working out.

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See you guys back here tomorrow. Our week of organizing the kitchen is coming to an end but not before sharing our favorite meal planning tips so I’ll see you back here tomorrow.  Until then, I’ll see you on Facebook, on Instagram and on Pinterest.

 

Many blessings,

CoCo

Comments

  1. sarah says

    I don’t know whether to be jealous that your refrigerator looks like this or excited that maybe mine can too. I can definitely tell just from reading this we have way too many leftovers. I’m will to work on it though. Thanks for the tips, Sarah

    • says

      You saw the refrigerator before, right? Total chaos! If you have a lot of leftovers consider leaving one shelf completely free so you can accommodate them easily that way the rest of your refrigerator will be organized. Hugs, CoCo

    • says

      That makes me so excited for you, Nancy! I spent all of last weekend helping my mom get her kitchen into zones and organizing her pantry and refrigerator. She said it’s like walking into a brand new space. I’m really proud of both of you, keep up the good work! Hugs, CoCo

  2. says

    CoCo, you are the queen of kitchen organization! I love all your tips! I have to do a mini-clean of our fridge each week when I’m putting the groceries away or it gets out of control. I’m going to try incorporating some baskets like you suggested!

    • says

      You are so smart to do that, Amy! I try to clean mine out the day before the trash guy comes each week so I don’t have any extra trash – those leftovers can pile up quick. Can’t wait to see how you like the baskets. My mom is trying them now and I’m going to ask my baby sister to try them too. She has littles so I’m excited to see how they work for her. Keep you posted! Hugs, CoCo