The Ultimate Fridge Organization Guide
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One of my friends in our small group said to me the other night, “Wow Abby, your fridge is so clean and organized!” To which I proudly responded, “I know!!” and explained how much I love organizing my fridge. Because I really love it. If my fridge is disorganized or dirty I pretty much can’t eat anything from it because my OCD goes nuts. So I developed a super easy system for organizing and cleaning my fridge and it makes it easy for my husband and kids to find things in the fridge. Having an organized fridge will also prevent you from forgetting about foods and will prevent foods from spoiling too quickly. All of which will save you money!
If your fridge is disorganized or dirty (seriously mama, no judgment here because I have three kids so I totally get it!) and it’s making you feel overwhelmed, DO NOT WORRY. I’ve got your back! I created a super simple step-by-step checklist for you to follow to get your fridge back in order. You can grab it in the free resource library. I’ll also outline the steps for you below so you can get in on the details.
Clear it Out & Clean it Out
Before you can start organizing your fridge, you need to start by taking everything out of it. Pile it all on your counter or your kitchen table. And I mean EVERYTHING. Also be sure to trash any expired foods or foods you’ve had sitting in the fridge but will likely never ever use, even if it’s not expired. We’re clearing out the trash and clutter.
Once everything is out of your fridge, grab your favorite non-toxic cleaning spray (I use Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner) and scrub and wipe down every single shelf and drawer. If the shelves come out, take them out and rinse them in the sink. If something sticky is stuck in your fridge, sprinkle baking soda on top and spray it with your cleaning spray. Let it sit for a minute and then scrub it off.
To keep your fridge smelling this fresh, even after storing cut onions in there (I feel like their smell lasts for like ever in the fridge), grab your baking soda again and put an inch or two in a shallow dish. Add in a few drops of clean smelling essential oils like Tea Tree, Kunzea, Purification, Lemon, Lime, or any other scents you love and mix into the baking soda. Place in the back corner of the middle or bottom shelf to keep your fridge smelling clean. You will need to replace the baking soda/oils every few weeks.
Decide How To Organize It
Once your fridge is clean, it’s time to start putting things back in. First, you need to decide how you want to organize things. Do you want to just put things back in neatly in rows or find bins to help separate things (and do you want clear or solid-colored bins)? I chose to get clear bins, [affiliate links] I got a larger one for fruit, a medium-sized one for snacks, and a smaller one for snacks for the kids and then I ordered vinyl labels from Etsy to label my bins and the drawers.
What Goes Where
I am trained in food prep/safety and one of my favorite things, when I was working, was organizing the fridge. I know, weirdo. It’s time to put everything back in the fridge; if you’re using bins on the shelves, get those ready to go. We’re going to organize the fridge in order to keep produce fresh and to prevent cross-contamination.
I like to keep my drinks on the very top shelf where I have the most open space. Some resources recommend putting things like milk on the bottom shelf but I tend to keep our fridge pretty cold so our top shelf area is plenty cold for dairy drinks. If you’re concerned you can always put your milk towards the back of the shelf where it is going to be colder.
On the middle upper shelf, I keep eggs, yogurts, spreads (anything that doesn’t fit on the door), and leftovers. The leftovers should be stored in an air-tight container and clearly labeled with what is in the container and when it was made. Leftovers are usually good for around five days but that will vary depending on the food, I personally don’t eat them if they’ve been in there for more than 6 or 7 days.
In the middle shelf, I have bins for fruit and one for snacks for myself and my husband (I’m currently breastfeeding baby girl so I am hungry all. the. time.). Any bulk fruit goes towards the back of the shelf, behind the bins. It is best to not wash some fruits, like apples, to help them last longer but it’s more important to me that they are ready to eat, making it more likely that I will choose it for a snack, so I do clean the apples before putting them in the fridge.
On the bottom shelf, I keep prepped foods, which are clearly labeled like the leftovers. I also have a slim bin for the kids’ snacks. My two-year-old is the only one of the boys that eats fruit as a snack. Usually, I have yogurt pouches in the bin, as well. If I have any raw meats I like to put them in the very back of the bottom shelf where it’s the coldest so I can be sure that they won’t spoil.
In the drawers, I store veggies and proteins. The veggies will do best in a drawer because it will help them stay crisp and it will help veggies like lettuce stay protected. I keep things like cheese and deli meats in the bottom drawer because it is going to be nice and cold on the bottom of the fridge.
On the doors, I keep all of our dressings, condiments, and yeast. The door is generally the warmest spot in the fridge so you don’t want to keep anything sensitive on it.
When you are putting your food in the fridge, it’s important to remember these few things:
1 - Rotate the foods so the oldest items are always in the front.
2 - Don’t store raw meats beside unprotected veggies (hence the veggies having their own drawer).
3 - Communicate your organization system with your family.
4 - Label, label label. Even if it seems sort of “duh” to label something, it’s worth it because it will help make life easier for everyone in your home.
If you would like some more inspiration for organizing your fridge, you should check out these Instagram accounts (and don’t forget to follow mine):
@hellonutritarian - Kristen does fridge tours and has them highlighted in her stories. Her fridge photos are always full of bright and fresh foods which are totally inspiring.
@sp_nutrition_and_health - I love how Snezana organizes her fridge and it always seems more realistic since she has more than just fruits and veggies.
@_malika_yasmin_ - Malika is a big proponent of using the “Jar Method” to organize your fridge/store your foods and she regularly shares her family’s fridge.
Now it’s your turn! Take a photo of how you organize your fridge and tag it with #myhomemakingsystems (and tag me so I don’t miss it @abbybarstow) so we can all be inspired by your organization methods. If you don’t have an organized fridge, now is the perfect time to start! Share your before and after photos on Instagram!