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The 3 Best Ways to Organize a Fridge and Keep Things Fresh

an organized kitchen with a stainless steel fridge

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Organizing your refrigerator is one of the hardest things to get right. Why? Because you are working with limited space and the contents of the fridge change all the time. But while organizing your fridge can take some time, it is not impossible.

In fact, when you get your fridge organized properly, your food will last longer and will stay fresher. That is a win-win in our book.

Here are three of the best hacks to organize your fridge

#1 — Make use of bins

If you want to get your fridge organized, bins are your new best friend. Bins, especially stackable ones, can help store like items together and keep them from shifting around on the shelves. There is nothing worse than needing to move a ton of stuff out of your way to get to one jar.

In order to know how many bins you’ll need, do a quick inventory of what you have. See what you can pair together and buy the appropriate amount of bins you need. If you are not sure how to set it up, start with one or two and get more as you figure out your system.

When it comes to organizing your fridge, you may need to test-run a few methods before you land on the one that works for you and your unit. Every fridge has different space constraints, so what works for one may not work for another.

Need some inspiration? These stackable fridge storage bins from The Container Store are our favorites.

#2 — Dedicate each shelf of your fridge to something specific

If you do not plan on using bins—-which is fine—-you can improve the organization of your fridge by dedicating each shelf to something specific. You do this by making your top shelf home for drinks, your middle shelf home for fruits, the one below that for vegetables, and so on.

You can even do this same method for the door shelves. The top one can be for condiments, the second one for jams, and the third for dressings. You get the idea.

You can even dedicate one shelf or half a shelf to leftovers. Why does this help keep things organized? It keeps like items together. And by dedicating a shelf to them, you know exactly where to look every time you open the fridge. No more rummaging.

#3 — If need be, label

This organizing hack comes in handy, particularly for those who need a little extra help keeping things in order. There is nothing wrong with that. It happens to the best of us. But this is why labels are super important in the organizing industry.

They help train your brain. If you cannot remember where something should go, a label tells you. And while they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, you can always dress them up by using fancy lettering, or printing ones out that were pre-made.

What you are aiming to do with labels is to get your memory up to speed. Once you know where everything goes, you can choose to remove the labels. Though chances are you will keep them because you are used to having them there.

Here are some tips for keeping things fresh in your fridge

Getting your fridge organized is only one half of the equation. The next step is figuring out how to best keep things fresh. Yes, when you have an organized fridge, things will naturally stay fresh longer. But here are a few other things you can do to ensure you are not throwing away the food on a regular basis.

Declutter once a week

A good declutter goes a long way and you should aim to declutter your fridge and freezer once a week. This is nothing more than checking the expiration date on everything on your shelves. Give any leftovers a sniff and check the state of your fruits and vegetables.

As you throw certain items away, make a list of things you need to replace. But be diligent in what you add. Don’t replace something you did not use. Otherwise, you will end up throwing it away in the coming weeks.

Practice rotating food

Anytime you go grocery shopping or add new leftovers to your fridge, practice rotating. This is the simple act of moving older food to the front of the shelves and adding new stuff to the back. If you have ever seen grocery store workers refill shelves, you will notice them doing this.

By getting into the habit of rotating food, you are consciously making an effort to use the older stuff first. This is especially important for items you use on a daily or weekly basis. Though it is just as vital for items you do not use that often.

Practice now. Go to your fridge and check the expiration dates. If you have duplicates of something, keep the oldest towards the front and the newest at the back. Once you do this a few times, it will become second nature and limit the amount of food you throw away.

Don’t overcrowd the shelves

In order for your fridge to work properly, the cool air needs room to circulate. If you have overstuffed shelves, you are putting food at risk to spoil faster because air is not reaching it.

Do your best to not overcrowd the shelves. Decluttering your fridge once a week should help you here, but there may come times when you have more food than usual. This may happen around the holidays or if you are hosting a party or function.

If your fridge needs to be crowded for a day or two, that is fine. Any longer than that and you will run the risk of spoiled food. This is why bins come in handy. They help you keep things from getting too crowded while leaving ample room for the cool air to do its job.

Use leak-proof, airtight containers

When it comes to storing food or leftovers, focus on buying good quality containers. Ensure they are leakproof and airtight, depending on what you are using them for. You might think it is unnecessary to move food from its original packaging into clear containers. But the extra step will elongate the freshness of the food.

A solid container will improve the quality of the food and show you when you are running low on something. And since the best way to keep vegetables fresh is by keeping them in jars of water, you’ll need a few to get you started.

We love this ten-piece storage set from Oxo. They are versatile, stylish, and simple. Exactly what you are looking for in good food storage containers. Like the bins for fridge organization, start with one or two. Once you know how many more you need, you can buy them.

If you want to keep your food fresher, it really does start with proper fridge organization. You cannot have one without the other. And while it may take you some time to find the best system for your unit, it will be worth it.

The best part? You can apply these same steps to your freezer and even your pantry. When you have a strong food organizational system, you are going to find things easier and save money. Who wouldn’t want that?

You can check out our favorite kitchen products in our shop. We especially love the stackable food organizers and deep fridge bins. And if you need more tips on fridge storage, be sure to read our other blog posts all about kitchen organization.


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