Who’s got a fridge with contents basically shoved wherever things will fit (or wherever the last person decided to put them)?! Well, get ready to get things under control this year … a task that costs absolutely nothing to accomplish!
Why Organize Your Fridge?
For years our fridge was a mess, then I finally got tired of…
- Coming across hidden “surprises” past their prime (throwing away food is like throwing away money!).
- Buying ingredients I didn’t realize I had already purchased (but couldn’t find!).
- Wasting time trying to find a certain something that I just knew was there somewhere.
So I decided to get organized! And since I am not the only one who lives at our house, I labeled the shelves in our fridge so everyone could know the system and help me keep things in the right place (Wishful thinking with teenagers?? Maybe so, but they get it right probably 2/3 of the time, which is better than nothing!).
I can’t tell you how much better it is to have a system for where things go in our fridge. I can always find what I am looking for, and we are no longer constantly throwing out food (and, therefore, money) that we forgot about!
Beyond Your Fridge: Another Easy Way To Get Organized!
If you’re using this time in the New Year to get things back on track at your house, here’s something you’ll love in addition to an organized fridge … my new Meal Planner workbook (out now!).
The reviews so far are making me so happy! Here are a few of my favorites…
If you’ve gotten your copy and have started using it, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well in a review (or a comment below)! More on my new Meal Planner here.
How I Organize My Fridge
No matter how big or small your fridge is—don’t let that be your excuse!—you can designate shelves for certain items to help you know where to find things. In my opinion, the golden rule for organizing, in general, is TRY TO KEEP LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER!
Here’s how I divided up our fridge (yours can, of course, be adapted depending on what you regularly buy and stock!)…
- TOP SHELF: Other Dairy
This shelf contains most of our dairy, not counting the cheese drawer and milk, but also includes hummus and other related items.
- SECOND SHELF (which is eye-level): Leftovers
It’s not by accident that I put the leftovers right at eye-level. These are the things I want people to eat soon and be reminded of!
- THIRD SHELF (tallest one): Milk + Pickles/Sauces
This is the only shelf our milk will fit on, so that was an easy decision. On the left side, I store spaghetti and pizza sauce jars as well as olives and pickles that were opened recently (see how we label these jars to know when they were opened here). We do also have all the usual condiments (see below) on the door.
- FOURTH SHELF: Fruit
This is where we store berries and cut fruit. I do also keep apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, and the like in bowls at room temperature on the counter and kitchen table.
- BOTTOM SHELF: Vegetable Overflow
The middle drawer is designated for veggies, but sometimes a massive bunch of kale or a box of spinach just won’t fit without taking up the whole drawer, so we put the extras here. Oh, and the maple syrup lives here too. Hey, your system doesn’t have to be perfect as long as people follow it and it works for you! :)
- TOP DRAWER: Cheese
We are cheese people, what can I say?
- MIDDLE DRAWER: Vegetables
Whether it’s carrots, lettuce, smaller greens (see above), radishes, celery, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or whatever we’ve got on the menu, all of that goes in this drawer.
- BOTTOM DRAWER: Meat
This is where all of our meat, whether it comes directly from the store, Butcher Box, the Farmers’ Market, or our own extra freezer (freestanding in the other room) goes if it’s something I plan to cook that week.
- ON THE DOOR: Eggs, Citrus, Condiments
We have all the typical condiments (mustard, mayo, soy sauce, jam, etc.) on the door as well as eggs, lemons and limes, and sometimes fresh ginger. The door generally does not stay as cold as the rest of the fridge so you need to be careful about what you store here!
Here’s the key: YOU MUST LABEL YOUR SHELVES!
Unless you live alone, no one is a mind-reader, and even if you make an announcement they’ll likely forget. Here’s a close-up of our shelves so you can see how I went to town with a standard label maker. These labels have been here for years and are holding up pretty well.
And if one of my family members throws the tiny little berry container right next to the milks on the tallest middle shelf, which definitely happens when you live with teens, I am not scared to call them out and ask them to please fix it so they get the hint I am serious about keeping it organized! I may sound over-the-top, but the benefits of keeping our fridge organized are so great … it’s definitely worth the effort!
Things definitely get messier sometimes than what you see here, but for the most part … I always know where to find things without much effort! Having a system is one thing, but keeping up with it is another.
Do you organize your fridge? If so, share how you’ve divided it up in the comments below!