August 1, 2019  

Organize Your Fridge From Top To Bottom


Need fridge organizing ideas? Maximize that storage space with these tips for organizing a French door refrigerator. Your kitchen will be an organized dream in no time!

organized-refrigerator-with-storage-bins

I’ve been organizing some of the trouble spots in our kitchen lately. Since it’s the room that gets used the most, I feel like the time I spend organizing things in here always pays off in major ways.

I recently gave you a tour of our small organized pantry and today I’m back with another organized space: the refrigerator!

Our messy fridge was a huge annoyance to me. It seemed like I was always unearthing expired foods that had gotten lost way in the back of the fridge and I was so sick of constantly throwing out wasted food.

We would shove groceries and containers of leftovers in wherever they’d fit which often meant cramming them in and making a big jumbled shelf. It’s no wonder it was hard to find things!

So I set out to completely overhaul our fridge and find a storage system that would keep our fridge shelves neat and organized. I can’t wait to show you what I came up with!

If yours is a mess right now, I have some great fridge organization ideas for you today to help you take those shelves from messy to organized.

I’ve always had a smaller standard one-door fridge with the freezer on top until we moved here. This house came with a larger French door fridge and I love everything about it except how easy it is to forget about food that gets lost way in the back.

Our French door fridge is really nice because it means all of our food is at eye level so it’s easier to see and keep organized. I also like the smaller compartments the French doors because foods stay categorized better than having a single long shelf in the door.

organized-french-door-fridge

A huge thanks to iDesign for sponsoring this project. All content and opinions are 100% my own! This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for details.

How To Organize Your Refrigerator

The difficult part of fridge organization is that every family has different dietary needs and food preferences so what works for one family may be quite different from what works for the next.

Today I’m sharing the refrigerator organization ideas that are working well for our family with the hope that you’ll take away some ideas for your own fridge. Even if your fridge is a different size or style than mine, the tips I’m sharing today are generally applicable to any fridge.

One other quick note is that we are not a family that stockpiles a lot of food. I really love the idea in theory but we always end up wasting more food than it’s worth. So we generally shop for groceries every 1-2 weeks which helps me stay on top of what’s in our refrigerator.

Here’s what our refrigerator looked like before I started organizing it. It wasn’t terrible but there was definitely room for improvement!

organized-french-door-fridge
organized-french-door-fridge

Video Tour: How To Organize A Fridge

I’m so excited to take you on a tour of our organized refrigerator today and show you all of the organization systems I’ve implemented!

Watch this video for a full tour of every organized shelf and drawer in our French door refrigerator:

Clear Storage Containers For Your Fridge

Want these clear bins to organize your fridge? Check them out on via the links below (they come in several sizes and variations).

Ready to jump into decluttering your house following the KonMari Method? Be sure to download the free checklist using the form below!

Download Your Free KonMari Checklist!

Review the rules, check off your progress, and see which category is next with this free KonMari checklist! Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox. By downloading this guide, you will also receive weekly emails from me filled with organizing tips!

I'll never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Fridge Organization Tips

1. PURGE

The first step to every organizing project is a good purge! And this is especially true with the refrigerator where, if you’re a normal human being anyway, you’ll probably unearth an embarrassing amount of old, forgotten food.

Remove absolutely everything from your fridge, check expiration dates, and toss old leftovers.

2. Clean

Next, use a multi-purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to clean all of the shelves, drawers, and door compartments. Warm, soapy water and a sponge will do the trick on any sticky spills.

I also cleaned the fingerprints and grime off of the outside of our stainless steel fridge. For our fridge, I’ve found that buffing the stainless steel with a paper towel dipped in olive oil works best. I also use a multi-purpose cleaner to clean the handles.

3. Adjust Shelves

Before you fill your fridge with food, take a few minutes to configure the shelves that are adjustable. Play with them until you find an arrangement that makes the most sense for the types of foods you always have.

One side of our top shelf (next to the ice maker) flips up to create a taller vertical space for milk jugs.

I moved things around so the middle-right shelf is the perfect height to fit our go-to food storage containers stacked two high so our leftovers and prepped lunches have a specific home at eye level.

organized-french-door-fridge

4. Create Zones

Designate different zones of the fridge for different types of foods. We have a shelf for tall beverages, another shelf for beverage cans and bottles, a shelf for leftovers, condiments in one door compartment and salad dressings in another.

5. Contain With Clear Storage Bins

Clear storage bins are the heroes in so many of my home organization project. I love using bins to contain categories of foods and they’re great for containing any spills so your fridge stays a little cleaner.

Using clear bins in your fridge is helpful for seeing exactly what foods you have as soon as you open the doors. That’s helpful when you’re looking for a snack or planning meals as well as when you’re making your grocery shopping list.

This line of Crisp Bins from iDesign is designed specifically to fit the full depth of standard refrigerators so nothing can get lost way in the back. The handles make it easy to slide these bins in and out of the fridge, too.

clear-idesign-storage-bins-inside-organized-fridge

6. Remove Excess packaging

Remove the bulky packaging from foods to save on storage space and keep your fridge looking orderly. Foods like string cheese and oranges can easily be removed from their outer packaging to they are easier to grab.

7. Keep Labels Flexible

I’m normally a major fan of labels but I don’t use a ton of them in the fridge. I used my label maker and clear label tape to add small labels to the fruit and vegetable drawers along with the compartments in the fridge doors.

I opted not to label all of the clear bins in the main part of our fridge because the foods we store in here seem to change so frequently that labels become a hassle.

So I keep things simple and flexible, sticking to the general zones I’ve defined in the fridge rather than worrying about having everything labeled perfectly.

how we Organize our French Door Fridge

Vertical Space For Milk & Drinks

Milk should always be stored toward the center of your fridge where it’s the coldest as opposed to the door. Since milk jugs are larger, it’s a good idea to plan a specific spot for them when you’re adjusting your refrigerator’s shelves.

Our top left shelf holds a gallon of whole milk for Chloe in the front (since we reach for it often). We usually have a half gallon on 2% milk and a jug of juice in the back of that shelf.

The top right shelf is David’s domain. The soda can holder was a nice addition for keeping all of his Diet Coke corralled and easy to grab. And I love that there’s a little shelf on top which I discovered is a great little spot to slide a bottle of wine.

Taller energy drinks are lined up front to back and David always rotates things so the newest cans are in the back and the coldest in the front.

organized-french-door-fridge

Space For Lunch Boxes

We both take our lunches to work every day and I was often finding myself shoving our lunch boxes in wherever they’d fit and jumbling all of the other food in the process.

Now I keep part of the top shelf open next to David’s drinks and that’s the specific spot where I slide in our lunch boxes after packing them in the evening.

Designated Spot For Leftovers

The shorter middle shelf on the right is where I’ve carved out space for leftovers and prepped lunches. Basically any prepared foods that need to be eaten in the next week go here. This has been a major improvement already!

We are not a big leftover family and have a horrible habit of throwing out old leftovers so I wanted to have a specific spot for them. This shelf is right at eye level so you can’t miss it and I also made it a small shelf so nothing can get lost.

EGGS IN THEIR OWN CONTAINERS

I wouldn’t say this is necessary by any means, but I really do love having our eggs in these clear containers. I’m a big fan of removing extra packaging so I can easily see how much we have left of our staples and it’s nice to be able to see at a glance if our egg supply is running low.

Storing everything in clear containers also removes the visual clutter and maximizes our shelf space since these clear bins are designed to fit the depth of a standard fridge.

These egg containers hold 18 eggs each and are stackable so I stacked two on our bottom shelf, one for fresh eggs and one for hard-boiled eggs.

If you do decide to remove your eggs from their cartons, it’s a good idea to write the expiration date on your clear container with a dry erase marker.

organized-french-door-fridge

Grab and Go Snacks In The Center

The center of our bottom shelf is where we store grab and go foods like yogurts, prepped produce, string cheese, and beef sticks.

When you’re refilling bins with snacks like these, always rotate items so the oldest are in the front. When we buy new yogurt, it gets put away in the bottom bin and I rotate older yogurts up.

I have a small clear bin on our middle shelf right now and it holds smaller things like cheese and beef sticks. I’ll also store small containers of things like celery, guacamole, and cut up apples here.

One thing to note is that prepped produce will go bad faster so I don’t usually wash and cut it up until we’re ready to eat it. I like to have produce cut up for convenient snacking but try to only cut what we’ll be able to eat in the next couple of days. The rest of our produce goes directly from our grocery bags to the crisper drawers.

clear-idesign-storage-bins-inside-organized-fridge

CATCH-ALL BIN FOR sauces and JARS

When I cleaned out the fridge, I found THREE open salsa jar! It’s so easy for half-full jars of sauces and salsas to get lost in the back of the fridge.

I designated one clear bin on the bottom shelf the place where all of the random jars and containers go. Since the bin extends the full depth of the fridge, I can easily pull the whole bin out and no jars get lost back behind other foods.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it has already helped us save on opening duplicates and ultimately wasting food.

organized-refrigerator-with-storage-bins

Lettuce and berries In Special Containers

I’m loving my new system for storing our salad greens. I only buy enough for 7-10 days at a time and I store it in this special produce bin.

It has a removable strainer at the bottom that can be used as a colander and also lifts those leafy greens up away from water accumulation on the bottom. This keeps our lettuce and salad mixes fresh all week!

Our berries also get a special small bin. It has a removable colander which is really handy for washing berries and keeps them away from water accumulation and sticky fruit juice in the bottom of the bin.

I love having our bin of berries visible on this shelf so they’re easy to see when I open the fridge looking for a snack.

clear-idesign-storage-bins-inside-organized-fridge

Use Produce Drawers The Correct Way

I didn’t understand the purpose of produce crisper drawers for the longest time. But once I took a few minutes to learn how to use them, I was able to make our produce last quite a bit longer.

If your refrigerator has crisper drawers with humidity settings (usually adjustable), you want one drawer set to low humidity and the other set to high. This is because many fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas and you want to keep them away from produce that’s sensitive to ethylene.

Here’s a quick list of some of the foods I store in each drawer. If I’m unsure, I do a quick Google search to find out where to store it.

  • Low humidity drawer (most fruits) – apples, peaches, pears, berries, citrus fruits, and melons
  • High humidity drawer (most vegetables) – leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers

Our French door fridge has nice big crisper drawers so I used a couple clear bins to divide them up a bit. That way things are a little more organized and the apples are a little more contained instead of rolling all over every time I open and close the drawer.

I really like this smaller bin with a lid for grapes. We almost always have grapes on hand so it’s nice to have a designated bin for them that can easily be carried to the dinner table.

organized-vegetable-drawer-in-fridge
organized-fruit-drawer-in-french-door-fridge

Max Out The Deli Drawer

I’ve never had a fridge with a deli drawer before and it’s awesome! Our drawer is huge and holds all of our meats and cheeses (and I tend to keep a lot of cheese around).

Our fridge came with one adjustable divider which I used to separate one third of the drawer for meats. One note on meat is that you always want to store it on the lowest shelf possible so if it drips or leaks you don’t contaminate all of the foods on the shelves below.

The rest of this drawer is for shredded cheese, sliced cheese, really any kind of cheese. I also store our tortillas in here so they don’t keep crumpled up in the main part of the fridge. I added a couple of smaller bins to this drawer to contain some of the smaller bags of cheese.

organized-refrigerator-deli-drawer

Group Condiments In Door Compartments

Since we have a French door fridge, we have a lot of smaller door compartments. The compartments in the left door are very shallow because of the ice maker so those are a little trickier to use.

Here’s a quick rundown of how I categorize the fridge door compartments:

  • Butter in the covered compartment
  • Breads and spreads (we keep our bread in the fridge so it lasts longer since we don’t eat it often)
  • Condiments like ketchup, BBQ sauce, pickles…I also added a little mason jar for those little sauce packets that you always get with takeout food
  • David’s insulin (he has Type 1 diabetes)
  • Soy sauce, hot sauce, any kind of sauce that fits in this shallow compartment
  • Salad dressings
organized-condiments-in-fridge-door
organized-condiments-in-fridge-door
organized-condiments-in-fridge-door

I hope this video and blog post has you motivated to implement some of these fridge organization ideas in your own kitchen. Whether you have a French door fridge or another style, I think the things I shared can be applied to any size refrigerator.

Here’s a quick printable checklist along with links to all of the clear storage bins I used in our refrigerator:

Fridge Organization Tips

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Follow these steps to organize your fridge from top to bottom!

Instructions

  1. Remove everything from your fridge and purge all expired foods.
  2. Clean your fridge with a multi-purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth.
  3. Adjust your fridge's shelves to best fit the foods you typically keep on hand.
  4. Designate zones for each category or type of food.
  5. Contain your food inside clear storage bins.
  6. Remove excess packaging to save storage space and make everything look neat and orderly.
  7. Keep your labels flexible so they are helpful but not a hassle.

Notes

Get all of my tips along with a video tour of my organized French door fridge here: smallstuffcounts.com/how-to-organize-your-refrigerator

What tips and ideas do you have for keeping your refrigerator organized? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Looking for more kitchen organization ideas?

Ready to jump into decluttering your house following the KonMari Method? Be sure to download the free checklist using the form below!

Download Your Free KonMari Checklist!

Review the rules, check off your progress, and see which category is next with this free KonMari checklist! Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox. By downloading this guide, you will also receive weekly emails from me filled with organizing tips!

I'll never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Have a great day!

You May Also Like...

12 ways to automate your to-do list

(that won't cost a dime)

Discover practical, easy-to-implement ideas for automating some of the recurring tasks on your to-do list. Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox.


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Skip to Instructions