Organization, Chilled: How to Organize the Fridge

The fridge is a primary staple of any home, and as such, its organization is vital to a properly functioning household. Be that as it may, most people, it seems, are working with a less than adequate fridge set-up. Refrigerators are commonly overstuffed, over-condimented, or just untended.

Do not discount the fact that your ice box is a large vessel for food, which you consume. Thinking of it this way, the fridge becomes a kind of extension of your stomach. Unless you feel alright about having those six-month-old jars of Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce which have recently sprouted a lush, white beard rumbling around in your tummy, I’d say it’s time to make some changes.

Clean out the fridge

– Since you’ll be keeping the fridge door open much longer than usual while you clean and organize, you’ll want to crank up the cool setting on your fridge. Make note of the original cool setting.

– Remove the contents, tossing anything that’s expired, rancid, or so, so gross looking/smelling.

– Remove the shelves and drawers and wash them thoroughly with hot water and some gentle dishwashing liquid.

– Clean the interior of the fridge using a half cup of baking soda diluted in a bucket of hot water as your cleanser. This solution is safe to use around food, and won’t leave behind a residue.

– Wipe the bottoms of jars/ containers so that you don’t put sticky bottoms back in the clean fridge.

– Place a fresh box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors.

– Return coolness control back to original setting.

Put the food back

– Designate an area for each food category, so that like things are stored together. This will naturally keep things more organized, and allow you to locate various goods with ease.

  • Condiments, juices, and wines, and other items with a longer shelf-life are good candidates for the drawer because they can withstand the frequent temperature fluctuations
  • Eggs should be stored in the coldest part of the fridge- the center- rather than in the drawer
  • Raw meat, poultry, fish should be kept on the bottom shelf
  • Veggies should be stored in the warmest part of the fridge (bottom drawers)

– Only one card is allowed in play; don’t have three open ketchup bottles where one will do, copy?

– Height rules; taller goes in the back, shorter goes up front.

– Use crisper drawers. These drawers are actually designed to be climate- controlled for specific food groups (they control humidity rather than temperature). Vegetables need higher humidity, because without water, they tend to shrivel faster. Fruits prefer a lower humidity. Keep vegetables in one crisper, and fruits in another, and adjust the humidity settings accordingly.

– If you need more drawer space, opt for clear, plastic containers to contain like ingredients (cold cuts in one, cheeses in another, condiments in one, even perishable snacks, etc). These containers can be especially useful because they allow you to remove a whole collection of ingredients simultaneously- if you’re heading out to your grill, just grab the necessary containers and go.

– Allocate an area for food which needs to be urgently consumed. Think of it as your “eat me first!/ you have three more seconds to consume me before I spoil into oblivion” spot. Leftovers= probably reside there.

– DO NOT OVERSTOCK. Literally. Don’t do it. Overstocking prevents air flow, meaning that cold air may not properly circulate. Over-filled fridges are also ripe with opportunity for wastefulness, because you won’t eat what you can’t see, and you can’t see what you can’t get to, and you can’t eat what you can’t get to, and just don’t it, k?

– Put your little fridgy on a schedule (read: regular repeat of this process, I suggest prior to grocery shopping).

Image credits: Martha StewartHaccp, Martha Stewart, Real SimpleThe Container Store, Oprah, Crate and Barrel, Whole Living



  1. This is so genius! I’m adding cleaning/organizing my fridge to my list! Thanks!

  2. chiclittleblackdress says:

    This was right on time Annie !! I have been reading your blog for a while now and I’ve been meaning to tell you how good it is !! I’m still cleaning out my closet from last week’s readings!! I will try this next week though!!
    Thanks for the great post!!

  3. Love this idea! I just sent it to two of my friends! I LOVE organized spaces & you are the queen of them!

  4. Im gonna make it work this month !
    Love the article thanks for sharing this tips.
    = D

    Love, from Portugal

  5. Melissa D says:

    Where did you buy all the clear bins?

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