There's nothing more frustrating than opening your refrigerator to an unorganized mess.
A disorderly fridge can lead to "lost" food that gets hidden by other items, eventually spoiling. Plus, if you can't find what you want inside, you're more likely to opt for unhealthy snacks or takeout.
If this sounds like a familiar situation, this article is for you! We're sharing the ten best fridge organization tips to help whip your food storage into shape.
Keep reading to learn more!
The 10 Best Fridge Organization Hacks
When it comes to fridge organization, your best bet is to start with a clean space. Fighting clutter inside your refrigerator will make it harder to keep things in order.
Before starting on these top tips, give your fridge the spring cleaning it deserves!
1. Store Like Items Together
Think about which food items pair well together. Peanut butter and jelly, milk and eggs, mayo and mustard, and deli meats and cheeses should all be stored with their partners.
This will keep you from endlessly searching the fridge for misplaced items. Plus, it will save you time whipping up a fast breakfast or making a sandwich to go.
Once you've got a few key ingredients partnered up, use storage bins (more on those later) to keep everything organized.
If you like to plan and prepare meals for the week ahead, you can even try storing each day's ingredients together. This hack will save you time on meal prep, so it's perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
2. Label Everything
Everyone has at least one story about strange things found in a fridge. Keep food items from getting lost or overlooked by labeling everything!
That way, you'll be able to locate your commonly used items without searching, and you'll never stumble across a moldy mystery container again. This simple step can help you save time and money and reduce your household food waste.
Do you often fall victim to half-finished spoiled food in the fridge?
Include the date you open a product on its label, so it doesn't get lost in the mix. This will also help with your "eat me first" box - we'll get to that in the next section.
If you don't feel like buying fancy labels, a roll of painters tape and a permanent marker will work just as well.
3. Eat Me First
Instead of losing half-eaten items in the back of your fridge, round them up and store them front and center.
The best strategy is to create a special area for items that are getting close to their expiration dates. Any box or bin will do, so long as you label it!
Try this tip for a month, and you'll be shocked by how much food you save. Plus, a box of odds and ends can easily lend itself to kitchen inspiration. Think of it as your own personal Master Chef mystery box challenge.
4. Use Storage Bins
Most of us just toss things into the fridge and expect them to stay in place. But, it never seems to work, does it?
Try using small bins, like the ones you'd use for office storage to keep small items in their place. This hack can be especially helpful for loose foods, like a single apple or orange. Plus, it will help keep clutter-prone items like yogurt cups and string cheese all in one area.
These bins can be especially helpful for packing grab-and-go lunches. Try premaking sandwiches and snacks and storing them in resealable silicone bags. Then, mix and match your pre-portioned food to create a custom lunch.
5. Separate Fruits and Vegetables
Have you ever opened your fridge to find a big soggy mess in the crisper drawers? Rotten produce is a waste of money and a nasty mess to clean up. But, in most cases, it's totally preventable!
Ethylene-producing fruits like apples, mangoes, peaches, pears, and kiwis can make your other veggies decompose faster. So, you should store them separately. This will extend the life of other foods like root vegetables and leafy greens.
You can also extend the life of some produce by storing it outside your refrigerator. A root cellar for onions and potatoes and a hanging basket for citrus and tomatoes will help keep your fruits and vegetables at their peak freshness.
6. Store Meat and Fish at the Bottom
The bottom drawer, often used for vegetables, is actually one of the coldest parts of your refrigerator. So, it's perfect for storing animal products.
You should use meat and fish within four days of purchase, but this kitchen hack will help it taste perfectly fresh, even on its expiration date.
This extra step can keep your fridge safer, preventing dangerous cross-contamination. Plus, it makes spill containment and cleanup much simpler. After all, there's nothing more disgusting than raw meat leaking juices on the rest of your food.
7. Keep Eggs and Dairy Colder
You're probably storing eggs and dairy products like milk and cheese in your refrigerator door. This might be a convenient space, but it definitely isn't your best option.
These are highly perishable items, and you should store them carefully.
As a rule, dairy products will last longer if you keep them in an area with a constant cold temperature. So, you should opt for a low-traffic area like your fridge's top shelf.
There, it will be less vulnerable to temperature change as your refrigerator door is opened and closed throughout the day.
8. Create a Snack Zone
Creating a kid or spouse-friendly snack zone can keep wandering hands from making a mess of your newly organized fridge.
Your refrigerator door is a great place to store snacks and drinks for easy access. And, if you have kids, the chances are good they can reach it on their own there.
Those storage bins can come in handy here, too. Try putting together snack bundles for different days of the week and individuals in your house.
A quick protein pack after the gym or a healthy stress-busting snack like fruit and dark chocolate can keep you away from less nutritious alternatives. These nutritious bundles are also ideal for after school activities like sports.
9. Try a Few Gadgets
If you're struggling with space, consider a few kitchen gadgets to make things easier.
Magnetic storage containers can help you use all that wasted wall space inside your refrigerator. These are especially helpful for keeping track of small quantities of refrigerated food.
You probably have a built-in fridge organizer of some kind. Most often, these are found on the refrigerator door. Unfortunately, this makes them prone to spilling and other accidents.
Storing your condiments on a lazy susan will prevent spills and splashes as your refrigerator door is opened and closed. And, it will help you avoid the "fridge Jenga" effect that most built-in organizers are known for.
10. Line Your Shelves
Sticky spills on your refrigerator shelves are gross. And they're unsanitary, too!
Keep your shelves clean by covering them with a protective liner. That way, when something spills, you don't have to remove the whole shelf and scrub it down.
There are plenty of specialty products available, but you don't need to spend a ton on shelf liners. Instead, opt for a few plastic placemats. They are affordable and easy to clean!
If you don't have any old placemats lying around, you can also use plastic cling wrap to line your shelves. Use a bit of painters tape to keep the edges in place, and replace your liner as needed.
Do you eat a lot of leftovers? If the answer is yes, you probably have a bunch of bulky plastic storage containers taking up space in your fridge.
Cut back on this clutter by using silicone stretch-to-fit lids.
These super-stretchy tops will fit over nearly any sized container. This makes saving a few bites of food or multiple meals a breeze. Plus, they are more earth-friendly than other options like cling wrap and aluminum foil.
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Now that you've mastered 10 of the best fridge hacks around, you're ready to get organized.
Don't forget to start by thoroughly cleaning your refrigerator. Then, try our tips, one or two at a time. You'll find that much easier than changing everything all at once.
If you struggle to maintain your newly organized fridge at first, don't get frustrated. It's normal! Take your time getting used to the changes, and before long, you'll hardly notice them.
If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our kitchen craze blog. It's packed with helpful tips for food preparation, proper storage, and more.