Various food items and beverages stored in a side-by-side refrigerator

How to organize a side-by-side refrigerator: a guide

When storing food and ingredients for your household’s weekly meals, fridge organization is key. By understanding how to properly organize a side-by-side refrigerator, you can take full advantage of the capacity and convenient storage features of this versatile fridge model. Follow these steps for inspiration when organizing your fridge and explore how an organized fridge can make it easier for you to find your favorite foods and keep them fresh.

A closeup of the interior of a Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerator with food and beverage items A closeup of the interior of a Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerator with food and beverage items

5 steps to side-by-side refrigerator organization

When it comes to organizing a side-by-side refrigerator, there are a few key steps to keep in mind, including cleaning the fridge, dedicating storage areas and sorting different food types.

By following these simple steps, you can learn how to keep your side-by-side refrigerator looking clean and organized.

What you’ll need to organize your side-by-side fridge

  • Mild detergent or other non-abrasive cleaner

  • Warm water

  • Bin liners (optional)

  • Clean sponge or soft cloth

A removable refrigerator storage bin A removable refrigerator storage bin

Step 1: Clean the fridge

Before organizing your side-by-side fridge, make sure that all surfaces, shelves and storage bins are clean with a thorough wipe-down. As you clean your refrigerator, take inventory and remove any expired foods or ingredients you no longer need.

To clean the inside of your side-by-side fridge, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the power or unplug the appliance.

  • Remove all food from the fridge and freezer and store in a cooler. Take out removable shelves and drawers. Allow items to warm to room temperature before washing.

  • Hand wash interior surfaces and removable parts, including fridge walls, the door and permanent shelves. With warm water and a soft cloth or sponge, clean the fridge walls and parts with a mild detergent or other non-abrasive cleaner.

  • Dry all surfaces completely and reinstall shelves and drawers before plugging in the appliance.

It’s important to clean the outside of your side-by-side fridge, too. Because each type of exterior finish requires a different method of cleaning, it’s best to refer to your Owner’s Manual for product-specific instructions before cleaning the fridge exterior. For instance, methods for cleaning stainless steel appliances may vary from other exterior finishes.

Various beverages stored in a fridge door bin Various beverages stored in a fridge door bin

Step 2: Organize the door

Side-by-side fridges allow you to place the items you reach for regularly in a convenient, visible location in the door. Store less perishable items like butter or soda and items with longer shelf lives in the door bins to help you keep an eye on expiration dates. The door bins and compartments are also a great place for easy access to items like condiments.

Food items and ingredients stored on a fridge shelf Food items and ingredients stored on a fridge shelf

Step 3: Organize the shelves

Placement at the center of the appliance makes refrigerator shelves ideal for storing everyday, non-produce items. A good strategy for organizing is to group similar foods together, which can help make it easier to find items in the fridge.

When organizing, also keep in mind the differences in temperature inside the fridge. In general, the lower shelves are usually a bit cooler than the upper shelves, and items like prepared foods, leftovers and beverages are best stored on the upper shelves. Morning must-haves like milk and eggs also do well on the upper shelves. Perishable items like meat or dairy products that will live in the fridge longer, however, should be placed in designated places on the lower shelves of the fridge.

Fresh fruits and vegetables stored in a fridge crisper drawer Fresh fruits and vegetables stored in a fridge crisper drawer

Step 4: Sort the fridge drawers

The drawers of a side-by-side fridge offer specialized storage environments that are great for keeping sensitive ingredients fresh for longer periods. For example, you can use the fridge’s deli drawer for items like highly perishable meats and cheeses and crisper drawers for fruits and vegetables.

When using your fridge’s crisper drawers, you can alter the humidity of the compartments depending on the type of fruit or vegetable you’re storing. For example, you can use a high humidity crisper drawer to keep thin-skinned fruits and vegetables looking and tasting fresh. For thick-skinned fruits and vegetables like peppers or apples, a low humidity crisper drawer is best. You can also try using bin liners to help catch spills or leaks.

A side-by-side fridge ice box A side-by-side fridge ice box

Step 5: Organize the freezer

Organizing your freezer is important as it can quickly become overcrowded with your weekly frozen meals and ingredients. Keep it looking organized by placing items on top of one another using freezer-safe bins and storage containers. You can also try sorting items by expiration date to help you avoid food waste and limit the need for searching and re-organizing.

Avoid overfilling the freezer

Blocked vents that prevent air circulation can be caused by freezer overfilling. Avoid fridge or freezer cooling problems by considering the capacity of the appliance.

A closeup of a Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerator crisper drawer with fruit A closeup of a Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerator crisper drawer with fruit

Additional tips for organizing a side-by-side refrigerator

Organizing your side-by-side refrigerator can save you and your family time when preparing meals or snacks. The following tips can help you manage perishable items to limit food waste and make cleanup much easier.  

What food goes on the top shelf of a fridge?

The slightly warmer temperatures of the upper shelves make them ideal for items like ready-to-eat foods such as leftovers and prepared foods, as well as foods that will be cooked at the lowest temperatures.

Other items that would do well on the top shelves of your fridge include ready-to-eat snacks like fruit cups or yogurt and condiments like jam or jelly.

For optimal organization, place items in the fridge based on usage and type.

Label items for even more organization

Keep track of what’s in your fridge and how long it’s been there by labeling your food items. Labeling items with dates and names can also help you limit food waste.

Get creative with drawers and bins

Take advantage of the ample storage space in the fridge compartments by designating a bin for kids’ snacks or an “eat first bin” to keep track of expiration dates. Adjustable storage bins on side-by-side fridges like select models by Whirlpool brand also offer a flexible storage space for sorting items of different heights in the fridge door.

Additionally, avoid overfilling the fridge and freezer to help maximize air circulation.

Explore Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerators

Whirlpool® side-by-side refrigerators have a variety of features that make food storage easy, including select models with Adjustable Gallon Door Bins, In-Door-Ice® Storage and Fingerprint-Resistant Stainless Finishes. Turn an unorganized kitchen into a space where your family can relax and enjoy meals with a Whirlpool® fridge for your home.

Discover more organization tips from Whirlpool brand

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