How to organize your fridge

With the change in seasons, eating habits change too. You might eat more fresh produce, barbecue, make salads, eat sandwiches or plan picnics. Now is a good time to look at what is in your fridge and use up items before you buy new things for this season of cooking.

Here are the steps for cleaning and organizing your fridge.

Take everything out of the fridge.

Remove all the items from the shelves, drawers, and compartments in the door. It is important to be thorough. You may think you know what is “hiding” in your fridge. Things fall over and get lost from view.

a fridge with the door open and no food in it.

Compost expired and spoiled food

Check each item for an expiry date. Check food items for signs that they are spoiled. There may be mould on the edge of a jar or bottle. Make a place for the items you have checked and will return to the fridge later.

Wipe down all the surfaces

Use warm soapy water to wash off all the shelves, bins, compartments and sides of the fridge. Wipe it a second time with clear warm water. You may need to leave a small amount of water on a tough stain to soften it. Once it has sat for a few minutes try wiping it away before the water completely cools and the stain becomes hard.

a green cloth a yellow sponge and another beige drying cloth

Rearrange the shelves to maximize space and organization

It is time to put the food back in. Plan zones in your fridge based on how you use items or into food group categories. This will make it easy to find things. Make an area for leftovers so they can be easily seen and get eaten before they are spoiled. Keep all your cheeses, meats, vegetables and fruits together in their own areas. Locate your condiments, sauces and salad dressings together. After you have opened one of these items check the label to see if it can go back into the pantry or if it goes into the fridge once it is opened. Using bins to hold categories for food makes it easy to keep it together, take it out and find what you need and slide it back on a shelf. Adjust the shelf spacing to suit taller items and shorter items so the space is used efficiently. Regularly assess your organization system and make changes as needed.

Tips and tricks

Here are a few additional tips that may help you to keep your fridge working well.

  • Put taller items at the back and shorter ones at the front. It makes it easier to see everything.
  • Don’t overstuff your fridge. It is hard for the fridge to stay at the correct temperature and for the air to circulate properly. Food may get spoiled more quickly.
  • Use labels or clear containers if items are not in their original containers.
  • Label shelves so everyone knows where to put the food back. It helps you to know if something has been used up if it is always stored near the same spot. This prevents having multiples of the same item open in the fridge and taking up space.

Menu planning is easier when your fridge is organized. You know what you have available to put on your menu. You can quickly see what needs to be used so it doesn’t spoil. Reducing the amount of food that spoils saves you money on your grocery bill. A clean and organized fridge helps you stay healthy. There are fewer bacteria in your fridge and that keeps your food safe and you healthy.

I think I have covered everything. If I left something out please share your ideas in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

2 thoughts on “How to organize your fridge”

  1. Thank you Julie – for the – gulp – reminder. I know the importance of cleaning out the fridge and I do it, but not often enough. Funny I made a start last week and got rid of a few outdated items.

    1. Since fridges have doors most people don’t think about cleaning them out until they open the door for a snack or to make a meal. Neither of those situations are when you want to clean out the fridge. Since there are only 2 people in my home my fridge gets emptied almost every week now. The sauces and condiments don’t and they do get expired.

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