How to Organize Your Refrigerator
We’re sharing tips and tricks for how to organize your refrigerator today!
For nearly 7 years, we used budget-friendly baskets to organize our refrigerator. It took some getting used to in the beginning, but for the most part, it worked out really well.
So well, In fact, almost every time someone new came to our house and saw we were using baskets in the refrigerator, they would ask the same two questions…
- 1.) Do the baskets actually work?
- 2.) Would they work for us?
Once the pandemic arrived and we started making and eating all 3 meals at home though, I knew we would have to make a change.
Especially, if we wanted to keep the refrigerator as neat and tidy and efficient as possible.
It took a while before I was able to come up with a system we could easily maintain. But now that we’ve upgraded from baskets to clear containers it’s been a welcome change.
Here’s a look at how we keep the refrigerator organized with clear containers and how to decide if they’re right for you too…
Step 1: Throw Away Expired Food
Before you start organizing the refrigerator you’ll want to make sure to have trash bags on hand in case you need to throw away any expired food or condiments.
You’ll also want to make sure your dining room or breakfast nook table is cleared off. That way, you can corral food items without having to clutter up your kitchen counters.
Step 2: Categorize Food Items
After you’ve thrown away the things that have expired, place like items together on the table.
For example, place all of your vegetables together, all the dairy together, the condiments together…you get the idea.
This will help you determine how many baskets or containers you actually need.
Step 3: Clean Your Refrigerator
Once you have all the items out of the refrigerator, wipe down the shelves, drawers, and bins with warm soapy water until they are completely clean and dry.
Step 4: Consider DIY Shelf Liners
These shelf liners are actually plastic placemats I bought at The Dollar Store and upcycled with marble contact paper using this simple DIY drawer and shelf liner idea.
Not only are these shelf liners budget-friendly they can also be easily wiped down and cleaned.
Step 5: Create Zones
One of the easiest ways to organize your refrigerator is by creating zones for each shelf.
For example, one side of our top shelf is used for leftovers. They’re front and center so we’re sure to eat them first. The second half of the shelf is used for breakfast and dairy-related items.
The second shelf is used for fruits, and veggies.
And the third shelf is the designated drink zone.
The small drawer is used for deli meats and cheeses and the bottom two drawers hold salad and other meal prep goodies.
Step 6: Determine How Many Baskets or Clear Containers You Need
I know it can be hard to determine how many baskets or clear containers you need. But once you organize the refrigerator into zones, it will get a lot easier.
Add only the number of baskets or clear containers that are best suited for your *current lifestyle,* (*and that you’ll easily be able to maintain)
Step 7: Leave Some Room for Flexibility
As with all organization systems, leave some room for flexibility.
Especially, if you have a large family, are hosting a dinner party, and need to store extra groceries, or shop in bulk on a regular basis.
Step 8: Consider Organizing Your Condiments By Meal
Whenever possible, organize your condiments by meal.
This will help make things more efficient if you have busy mornings and are packing lunches, or on nights when you don’t feel like cooking.
Step 9: Label
I haven’t started labeling these clear containers yet because I want to make sure each zone works well for us.
There was much discussion about making the second shelf a “fruit only” shelf instead of a “fruits and veggies” shelf.
That said, we used labels when we had the baskets. They not only helped us find things easily, but they also helped when we were putting items away after a trip to the grocery store.
Things to Keep in Mind…
Organizing your refrigerator with baskets or clear containers will work if you….
- meal plan
- only buy those grocery items you’re going to actually use during the week (i.e. not in large bulk)
- don’t keep a lot of leftovers
- are willing to decant items that come individually wrapped
- want to save time and money
- are willing to take a few minutes each week to evaluate and maintain your organizational system
Another thing to keep in mind is that organizing is not a “one size fits all” sort of endeavor. The key to living a clutter-free lifestyle is at its heart, as basic as:
But it’s also about being mindful of the items you’re bringing into your home, as well as, finding the right system for you and your family.
A system that is easy to maintain and serves your needs.
Organize Your Refrigerator With These Products We Found On Amazon…
(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)
**Clear Bins with Handle * Turntable with Dividers * Egg Holder * **Glass Food Storage Containers
***Squeeze Bottles * Clear Drawers * **Meal Prep Storage Containers * Labels
Shelf Liner * Produce Keeper Baskets * **Turntable without Dividers * Clear Bins Without Lid
- **Items we currently have and use
- ***Items we have but haven’t started using yet
I hope these tips and tricks for how to organize your refrigerator have helped. Let us know your favorite way to stay organized!Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
This is next level stuff, CoCo. I’m inspired.
Such a sweet compliment, Bonnie, thank you! It does take some maintaining but it’s worth it. Hope your day is a fun one, CoCo
Prettiest refrigerator inside I’ve ever seen, Coco!
Aww you’re the best, Mary Beth, thank you! Hugs, CoCo
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
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
Lookin’ good CoCo – We are loving your organizing tips and solutions. Your refrigerator looks fabulous! Do you do house calls?
You guys are sweet, thanks so much. We could have the best time organizing your kitchen, pantry and refrigerator 🙂 Hugs, CoCo
Oh I’m so doing this! Last night I put my kitchen into zones…just like you. Amazing. I can’t wait to try this tip too.
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
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!
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
I really found these tips super helpful…I am a big big fan of baskets myself but I fear if we can keep them in the fridge..you know because of all the water and frost that forms inside. I don’t have the best of fridge you see. So curious to know if the wicker baskets can be kept inside on a long term basis? Thanks for your answer in advance 😃
Thank you so much, Ragini! Our freezer stays controlled at a certain temperature so icicles never actually form on our baskets. If you’re worried about it in any way though you might want to look for a different solution. Have you thought about using clear bins, wire baskets, or food storage containers? They would still help to keep you organized but might be a better solution for your type/style of refrigerator. Hope this helps and you have a happy weekend, CoCo
I love the shelf liners and baskets. I also love blog posts or vlogs about refrigerator organization. Your refrigerator looks amazing. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m definitely going to try the shelf liners. As far as the baskets, well I’ll need to run that by hubby lol. Maybe he’ll agree once he sees how it works for you. Have a great day and thanks.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Kim! I’m totally with you I could get lost down the rabbit hole with organization posts too. The shelf liner has worked well for us in the upper cabinets, drawers, and in the refrigerator. The only place we don’t use them is in the kitchen island where we have our baking supplies in big metal baskets. As far as the baskets in the refrigerator goes, it’s not for everyone. They drove my Dad bananas in the refrigerator but he got on board when he saw how well they worked in the pantry. Small wins, right? Happy Organizing, CoCo
So I did a little giggle at the first photo because I too have a drink just like that sitting on that same shelf. 🙂 I rarely drink anything other than water (no, I’m not healthy) so when I get a sweet tea, I’m saving every drop!
I need to organize the fridge something awful. Thanks for the great tips!
How are you and your family? You come to mine often and I pray for y’all. Big squishy hug sweet friend.
You know I love a great organization post! I think you’ll love the changes you made to organize your refrigerator! Your idea to use placemats as shelf liners is genius! I’m going to have to try that! Thanks for the great tips! Blessings, Donna