Looking for tips on how to organize your fridge or some refrigerator organization hacks? This article has more than 25 ideas that you can start implementing right away!
There’s also suggestions for fridge organizers like refrigerator bins, fridge baskets, fridge dividers, etc that you can use to really maximize the space in your refrigerator!
Before buying something new, I always recommend seeing what you already have before buying something new. While we can all drool over perfectly organized fridges, function should be more important than looks when it comes to refrigerator organization.
For example, if you already have some plastic storage bins that aren’t being used, like these, try them out in your fridge! If they work, then great! If not, at least you’ll get a better sense of what you need before buying something.
Feel free to read all the tips, or skip to get fridge organizer product suggestions using the table of contents.
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Tips for Organizing the Fridge
Eat up your fridge before starting
Reorganizing your fridge will be much easier with less stuff in there as there is literally less stuff to organize!
I recommend eating from your fridge for most meals for a week or more (depending on how much you have in your fridge) so you have less to go through. Doing this also helps you get a good sense of what’s in there so you’ll save time when it comes time to reorganize your fridge.
Try a no spend grocery challenge to use up what you have and do this right before you refill it with groceries.
Have somewhere cold to put the food while you’re organizing the fridge
To prevent the food from getting too warm while you’re in the fridge, make sure to have somewhere cold to store the food in the meanwhile. Generally food is considered safe at room temperature for up to 4 hours, but I prefer not to let it warm up at all if possible.
For example, put the food in a cooler, or outdoors in cooler weather!
Turn off the fridge
I recommend unplugging or turning off the refrigerator while you’re working in there. You’re going to have the door open for a while so it’s wasteful and unnecessary to have the motor running the whole time to try to keep the temperature steady.
Definitely read about freezer organization tips as well!
Fridge Organization Ideas
Store similar items together
Create sections in your fridge where similar items are grouped together. For example, uncooked meats on the bottom shelf, fruit & veggies in the produce drawer, leftovers on the middle shelf, and condiments in the door.
Having a designated area for each food type is fridge organization 101. Because you know where it already is, it’s going to keep you from digging for what you’re looking for and making a mess of everything.
Having a specific spot for different types of food will help prevent the fridge from getting disorganized again as you use it. When everyone knows that leftovers are stored *here*, they’re more likely to actually put them back where they belong when they’re finished using them.
Rearrange the layout
Your groceries might change from time to time and so must your fridge organization.
For example, say you got the big bottle of ketchup instead of the regular sized one because it’s summer and you know you’ll be eating a lot of burgers and hot dogs. That big bottle might not fit in the regular spot so it’s totally ok to rearrange the condiments so it all makes sense still!
Don’t be afraid to rearrange the inside of your fridge to accommodate what you need to store. Try moving shelves to fit what you have, or even remove a shelf to make room for taller things!
Label your leftovers
Make sure to label leftovers. This is going to eliminate the classic question: “Is this still good?”
On the label, make sure to include what the food is and the date it was made.
If you’re prone to keeping things way too long, it’s also a good idea to label the date you opened your condiments.
Here’s an example of some fridge labels that are easy to mark and come off cleanly without leaving sticky residue on your containers.
If you love labelling, check out this article about pantry labels too!
Make the labels face outwards
While having everything labelled is helpful, you’ll get the most out of it if you make sure all the labels are immediately visible when you look in the fridge as much as possible.
That’s going to limit the disorganization that occurs when your family ends up moving a bunch of stuff around looking for something.
Label the shelves or sections of your fridge too
Not only is it important to label the individual food items, it’s a good idea to label the shelves as well. This makes it easier for all family members to remember where everything goes so you won’t have to constantly reorganize after them.
This works well on fridge shelves, baskets, or drawers. If they’re plastic, you can write right on them with a permanent marker, use a label maker, or even get special fridge labels like these.
Label wire baskets with a clip on basket label like these. You could also use a binder clip. Simply add the label to the binder clip, and put it where it needs to go. I like this method as the binder clips are so easy to move around.
Use the right size container
Whenever possible, choose a container that best fits the food you’re refrigerating to save space.
Use clear storage containers
In addition to labelling, using clear containers helps you quickly identify the food you’re looking for. It also allows you to keep an eye on the condition of the food and make sure to eat it up before it goes bad.
Use stackable refrigerator containers
Stackable fridge containers are all about maximizing the space in your fridge. If they’re all irregularly shaped, it’s going to be like playing Tetris to try and fit everything in. It might also prevent food avalanches because the food isn’t stacked like the leaning tower of (leftover) Pisa. (So bad! I know! #sorrynotsorry)
Use square or rectangle containers instead of cylindrical
There is a lot of wasted space between the rounded shapes that will be filled up by food in a squared off shaped container.
Use magnetic containers
If your fridge has a magnetic surface on the inside, you can easily attach small magnetic containers to it! This is perfect for small amounts of things like the last bit of mustard that might otherwise get lost amongst everything else in the fridge!
Check if there are any magnetic surfaces by just seeing if a regular magnet sticks to it before buying the containers.
Maintain a fridge inventory
Keeping an accurate inventory is an excellent way to keep an organized refrigerator. You’ll avoid unnecessary duplicates of food you already have, plus you can see at a glance what’s in there, which makes deciding what’s for dinner a breeze.
You can keep a paper inventory like this one, or write on a whiteboard the outside of your fridge with a dry erase marker! This one is perfect!
First in, first out
This is a motto used to make sure that the oldest food gets used up before the newer food. In other words, the food that first went into the fridge older than the stuff you just added. The older food should be used before the newer food so that it doesn’t go to waste!
Create an “eat first” section
Creating an “eat first” section is one way to ensure you’re practicing “first in first out”.
Whether this section is a specific area, a designated basket, or just the foods in the front/on top, make sure your whole family knows which foods to eat first.
This will seriously limit the food waste while keeping an organized fridge too! Think: use up the milk with the closer expiry date before opening the newer one.
Make use of refrigerator organizers
Find some good fridge safe organization bins to use and put all similar food together in the same bin.
For example, all citrus fruits in one bin, all root veggies in another.
If you have a smaller fridge like an apartment size one, refrigerator organizer bins can really come in handy. I like to use them like a drawer to keep like items together.
You don’t even need to buy special fridge organizers like these (even though they’re so pretty!). Try using what you have first. For example, reuse boxes or boughten storage containers that you already have on hand.
I’ve listed suggestions for fridge organizer products such as fridge bins, fridge baskets, fridge shelves, and condiment organizers. Click through the links to find the ones that will work best for your fridge!
Fridge storage bins are one of my favorite ways to organize the refrigerator. They keep like items together while making things in behind the bin easily accessible.
Refrigerator organization bins are usually made of plastic. Make sure it specifically says for fridge/freezer use, because some plastics become brittle in cold temps and can break easily.
They can be used in the fridge to act as a sort of drawer as you can pull out the basket to easily access anything in it or behind it.
Get a variety of sizes like these, or measure the exact size you need to fit the space and get multiples. These ones could also be good for a fridge freezer.
Once you find ones that work for you, get pretty refrigerator bin labels like these to label each bin!
I’m a fan of wire baskets over plastic for durability. Baskets are also ideal for storing certain produce. Some produce does better in closed containers or drawers, but other types need a lot of breathing room to stay fresh.
Wire baskets like these or these also make it a bit easier to see what’s in there!
The right sized basket in the fridge acts almost like an additional drawer. These rose gold ones are so pretty!
Hanging fridge baskets like these are a new type of basket for fridges that I recently discovered. They make the best use of space that would otherwise be wasted, which I love!
You could get a shelf specifically designed for a fridge or you could repurpose other shelves you have.
For example, regular pantry organization shelves work well as long as they’re made of a fridge/freezer safe material like coated metal or cold resistant plastic.
Another good idea is to simply get another shelf from the manufacturer of your fridge to add a whole other additional shelf!
Simply look at the brand name and model number and search something like “fridge shelf for Fridgidaire model number 240358007”. Here is an example of what I mean.
I also like hanging shelves that make the most of unused air space underneath the existing shelves. Here’s an example.
Condiment organizers can be really handy for streamlining setting the table. By using a condiment organizer like this one, all you have to do is grab the organizer and put it on the table instead of searching the fridge each meal for the condiments you need. It also makes clearing the table easier too!
I think a condiment organizer is essential for families with younger kids who are just learning to set the table, or for families with different taste preferences. Condiment organizers also prevent smaller condiments like Tabasco sauce from falling out of the fridge door every time it’s opened!
Fridge Drawer Organizers
One of the most functional spaces in the fridge are the drawers. Because they’re a small, contained space, and they pull out so you can easily reach the back, they tend not to get quite so disorganized.
One of my favorite tips is to get more fridge drawers! This makes use of the air space that is normally wasted when you put something on a shelf but there is space between the food and the next shelf.
Some fridge drawer organizers like this one clip on to the shelf and hang below it, while others are stackable pull out drawers like these that sit on the shelf below. Browse the options here to see which would work best for your fridge.
How to Maximize Fridge Space in Different Types of Refrigerators
Wondering “how do I maximize my fridge space?”
The answer of course is, it depends! How to organize your refrigerator and make the most of your fridge space is going to depend mainly on what type of fridge you have, but also on other factors such as what kinds of food you normally store in there, how full you normally keep it, and who’s using it.
For example, if you have a family with older kids or teens who sometimes feed themselves, you’d want the prepped meals and snacks to be easy to find.
I’ve added some more detail on each type of fridge so you have information that is specific to the type of fridge you have.
Regular Refrigerator Organization Ideas
A regular fridge is one that has a combo of fridge and freezer, where the freezer is either at the top or the bottom. This advice also applies to extra wide or counter depth fridges.
Organizing a regular upright fridge is a bit easier than organizing other types of refrigerators because they offer the most amount of space and a good layout.
Having additional shelves than what the fridge originally came with may help you further optimize it. You can purchase additional shelves from the manufacturer by searching something like “replacement shelves for (brand name) model number (XXXXXXX)” or search for them here.
To organize a typical fridge, you can also make great use of refrigerator storage containers or bins. Find ones that fit the shelf height and the width and depth of the fridge. Then you can easily pull out the bin just like a drawer to be able to access anything at the back without having to take out everything in front of it!
Use each shelf or bin to hold similar items so you always know where to look.
Mini-Fridge Organization Ideas
Organizing a mini-fridge is more challenging in some ways than a regular fridge. Most likely your biggest challenge will be fitting everything that you need in there! But on the plus side, you probably won’t have the challenge of stuff getting lost in the back of the fridge because it’s just so small!
Believe it or not, there are lots of products specifically designed for organizing mini-fridges!
Bins and drawers will be your best friend to be able to use your fridge without playing Tetris every time you need something. The key is to find products with measurements that exactly match the space you’re using it in so that there is no wasted space.
Side-by-Side Fridge Organization Ideas
Side-by-side freezers/fridge combos are actually pretty easy to organize as they are. Because they’re narrow and have lots of shelves, there are already decently compartmentalized!
That being said, the challenge is that overall there is less fridge space. The fridge space is also quite narrow so you may not be able to fit bigger items like a roasting pan or a veggie platter!
I’d definitely recommend getting fridge baskets or bins for some of the shelves. Find ones that perfectly fit the space so you can easily slide it out just like a drawer. This will make it easy to store multiple smaller items without making it difficult to access the items in the back.
Overall, just follow the fridge organization tips at the beginning of the article to identify any areas for improvement.
No matter if you’re trying to figure out how to organize a fridge, needing suggestions on refrigerator organizers, or just looking for general fridge organization tips, I hope you found this article helpful!
Now get to it so you can enjoy your organized fridge!