View of food in a fridge

10 tips for how to organize your fridge

Keep things organized and avoid food spoilage by getting familiar with the inside of your fridge. Learn how to best organize your fridge so that your groceries stay fresh longer.

View of side-to-side freezer and fridge compartments with food View of side-to-side freezer and fridge compartments with food

How to organize a refrigerator

Below is an overview of the tips that will be discussed in detail with the following sections.

  • Set your fridge’s temperature to the recommended settings to inhibit bacteria and mold. 

  • Clean out the fridge and remove any expired items. 

  • Keep top shelves for prepared foods, leftovers or ready-to-eat items.

  • Lower shelves are colder, so they're best for meat and other raw ingredients.

Woman taking food out of a refrigerator Woman taking food out of a refrigerator

10 fridge organization ideas

Use these tips to organize your fridge, so that you can keep your food within line of sight and tidy.

Whirlpool® Top Freezer Refrigerator with door open Whirlpool® Top Freezer Refrigerator with door open

1. Clean out your fridge

Start fresh by throwing out any items that may be expired and wipe clean the shelves and drawers. Cleaning your refrigerator may help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, to help keep food fresh. Learn how to remove unwanted smells from your fridge.

Whirlpool® French Door Refrigerator with doors open Whirlpool® French Door Refrigerator with doors open

2. Get familiar with your fridge layout

Different parts of your fridge will have cooler temperatures as well as different humidity settings in the crisper drawers. Become familiar with the areas of your refrigerator that remain cooler so that you have an idea of where certain items should go.

Take out and plastic containers on a refrigerator shelf Take out and plastic containers on a refrigerator shelf

3. Invest in clear bins and other organization products

Keeping your fridge organized will be easier if you use clear storage bins that are organized by food categories for quick scanning. Lazy Susans are also great options to organize and add storage space, since you can find what you're looking for without having to rummage.

4. Use liners in drawers

Make routine cleaning easier by lining your drawers with paper towels or other liners that can absorb any dripping or spills. Additionally, lining your drawers and shelves that have items like meat and poultry can help avoid cross-contamination.

5. Remove packaging and use labels

You can also save space and avoid overcrowding your fridge by removing food from cardboard packaging and plastic containers. Instead, place your items in bins and label them with the date placed in the fridge as well as the expiration date.

Food inside a fridge Food inside a fridge

6. Keep perishables within line of sight

For food items that have a shorter shelf life, keep them within easy visibility. You can even choose to have an 'eat first' bin as a designated spot you know to check first for snacking or cooking. Eggs need consistent temperatures to stay fresh, so the middle shelf is the best place for them.

Inside view of refrigerator with food Inside view of refrigerator with food

7. Store raw meats and dairy on lower shelves

Raw meats, dairy and other perishables are generally stored on lower shelves to keep them as cold as possible since this is typically the coldest part of the fridge. Consider placing meats in glass or plastic containers to prevent juices from leaking onto other foods.

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese should also be stored on lower shelves, with milk placed toward the back to keep it in a colder part of the fridge.

Close up of refrigerator door compartment Close up of refrigerator door compartment

8. Use the door for condiments and other less perishables

The door is the part of the fridge that is most susceptible to fluctuations in temperatures, so it's best to utilize this area for nut butters, pasteurized juices, condiments like ketchup and mustard, pickles and olives. You can also use it for storing beer and other beverages.

While you can keep butter and soft cheeses on the door (or the deli drawer), avoid storing milk there. Both milk and fresh-squeezed juices should be placed on the bottom shelf to better preserve the item and slow fermentation.

Fresh produce in refrigerator compartments Fresh produce in refrigerator compartments

9. Keep fruits and veggies separate

When it comes to fresh produce, it’s important to store fruits and vegetables in the proper refrigerator storage compartments. Depending on the type, fruits and vegetables are best kept in either a high or low humidity environment. Make sure to store them in your fridge’s vegetable, crisper or humidity-controlled drawer. This will keep them fresher for cooking or steaming vegetables. Certain foods, like lettuce, can be kept fresh in a higher-humidity environment. Also, remember that some produce should not be stored in the refrigerator at all.

As a general rule, 'thin-skinned' produce like leafy greens, broccoli, strawberries and other ethylene-sensitive produce should be stored in higher humidity. Stone fruit, pears, apples and other ethylene emitters are best kept in a low humidity drawer.

10. Avoid cutting and washing items until you need them

While it may be tempting to wash and cut all produce and meat before storing, it's best to keep meat intact until you're ready to cook it, since cutting it speeds spoilage. Produce should also be washed right before being eaten or cooked, because added humidity can speed up ripening. 

Achieve a tidy and organized refrigerator so it's easy to keep food like the snacks organized and readily available for little ones, and to better plan meals for the week. You'll be able to keep better track of food, so you know just what to buy and help avoid food waste. Learn more about how to organize a side-by-side refrigerator.

Clean out your fridge

Remove any items that may be expired and wipe any spills. Familiarize yourself with the fridge layout so you can identify the coldest parts to place your food items.

Make organization easier with bins and liners

Line shelves and drawers with paper towels to make clean up easier. Remove food items from their packaging and sort them into clear bins. You can also use labels and sort by category for easy scanning.

Designate areas of your fridge for different food items

Use the colder parts of your fridge for items that need cooler temperatures like raw meats and dairy. Condiments and items that have a longer shelf life can be placed on the door.

Keep fruits and veggies in separate drawers

Some produce are ethylene emitters while others are ethylene-sensitive and may cause them to ripen quicker. Items like leafy greens are more susceptible to ethylene, so keep in a crisper drawer with higher humidity.

How to organize a fridge infographic

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