When you think about it, one of the most often used areas in the kitchen is the refrigerator. So, it makes sense to organize this space just like you would your pantry and cupboards. You can even go further than that; think about your refrigerator like your clothes closet and use the same organizing techniques you would for scarves, jewelry, gloves, or other small items. Let's take a look at the basic arrangement and then move into some clever ways to best utilize the space you have.
The Best Basic Arrangement
Start by grouping similar things together, such as lunch items, snack items, fruits, vegetables, dinner items, leftovers, and condiments. If your refrigerator has adjustable shelving, use this to your advantage and organize your refrigerator to your individual needs. If you end up with one tall section and only a couple items in it, use stacking bins to take up the rest of the room so the full height and width of the shelf is utilized.
The lowest drawer is typically the coldest part of the refrigerator, making it perfect for storing raw meat. The drawer will catch any possible drips so cleanup is easy. Line the bottom of the drawer with paper towels so any leakage can be easily cleaned up and disposed.
Take full advantage of the shelves in the door. If you're storing a lot of tiny short bottles in big tall spaces, take a look around for alternatives. In the next section I'll be sharing some ideas for better places to store those little items inside the refrigerator. But, don't be afraid. You won't lose any more of those little items in the dark recesses of the back of the refrigerator.
After you get a basic arrangement worked out, it's time to get creative. These are storage tips that can help you gain room in your refrigerator and keep it organized for the best use. Let's take a look.
Roll Out Caddy
Donít let those little things get pushed back and become lost in your refrigerator again. The roll out caddy makes it easy to see what you have and makes everything easier to reach. There are units made specifically for refrigerators, or you can find inexpensive caddies for cabinets that will work just as well.
See Through Plastic Bins
Rather than unloading everything out onto the kitchen floor to find that packet of taco sauce or piece of cheese, keep small items together in clear 'see-thru' bins. This saves time and aggravation because you can see at a glance just what you have. Even if you must pull the bin out of the refrigerator to take a look, you won't have to dump everything out to find something.
Built In Egg Holder
Most refrigerators come with some sort of built in egg holder, whether a permanent part of the door or a tray that fits in the door shelf. Go ahead and put the eggs you bought in this holder. This saves space and helps prevent broken eggs that occur when that carton gets pushed around or something gets set on top of it. Now that odd place you've been keeping the eggs can be used for a different item.
Now that you've pulled all those tiny items out of the door shelves, you need somewhere to put them. Think about how nice that little turntable thing is in your cupboard with all your spices on it. Do the exact same thing in your refrigerator. Put a 'Lazy Susan' in the back section of a space in the refrigerator and set the ketchup, mustard, pickles, and other condiments on it. Now with one spin you can see everything without digging around. And, you also have freed up that door space for taller, bulkier items like juice cartons and drink bottles.
Leftovers Storage Area
Designate one shelf just for leftovers and save yourself the frustration of throwing out all your hard work and delicious food. Use clear bins and you'll easily see everything you have to eat. This one trick is worth all the other tricks combined when you think about all the times those chicken wings got pushed to the back and forgotten. Or when you discovered your lovely meatloaf turned green and fuzzy. Another option is to find food storage containers that fit in a door shelf and designate that as an area to keep leftovers. Whatever works best for you, just as long as you keep them handy and visible.
Organizing your refrigerator will take some time at first. But, once it's set up, you'll just need to pay it some attention. Be sure to pull out your leftover bin a couple times a week and review the food you have in there. Train the family to put the food back in the right places. It’s much easier to stay on top of it than to let it go and have to redo the whole thing.