Organize Your Fridge

Today I’m welcoming Cory from zestycook.com (a terrific food blog!) to talk about fridge organization!  This is such a fun topic for me because (and you might want to call me crazy) I love organizing my fridge. Notice I didn’t say clean my fridge, believe me those two activities are totally different!  But organizing my fridge, ahh, now that’s fun because it involves containerizing, consolidation and purging, yipee! I do this every week before I go grocery shopping. Everything in my fridge has a home but I don’t dictate that to the others living here. If they mess up my system, I beat them with a stick I just move it around myself. It’s mainly for my own peace of mind so I always know what we have and what we’re almost out of. I hope you enjoy these tips today.

Welcome OrgJunkie readers. My name is Cory (aka zestycook) from zestycook.com and I wanted to share with you some things I do to organize my fridge. My methods are pretty elementary however it’s better than just pushing items to the back of the fridge in hopes someone will move them.

Have you ever wanted to see what exactly is in Zesty’s fridge?

Well I thought it would be easier to illustrate using some pictures. Read below for the tips and feel free to add your tips in the comments.

1. Place Big Items in the Back

To avoid losing items in your refrigerator, keep the big items in the back so that you can keep up with the smaller items. It’s not fun to pull out a jug of milk only to realize that there is a old bologna in the back of your refrigerator. Depending on how full you keep your fridge and how much room you have, I like to keep the food to the front of the shelves if possible to avoid losing items and allowing food to expire.

2. Keep Like Items Together

Another way to organize your refrigerator is to keep like items together. This also helps to avoid losing items. For example, I like to keep kids treats such as apple sauce, yogurt, puddings and drinking boxes together just so that they are easier to find.

3. Put All the Condiments in the Door

It’s annoying to try and pull a large item out of your refrigerator when there are several small containers of condiments in front of that large item. You end up pulling, moving the little bottles, pulling some more, moving some more…… Next thing you know zesty made a mess all over the floor. This is why it’s best to keep condiments in the door.

4. Use See Through Containers

There is something horrible about pulling a container from your refrigerator, opening it, and wondering what it is. Or if you know what it is, not knowing when you put it in there. How old are those leftovers anyway? When you organize your refrigerator, use containers that you can see through.

5. Stack Items Properly

When you get home from the store, keep your refrigerator organized by stacking the items properly. It’s tempting to just chuck the items in the fridge (I do this all time ), grab a cold drink and rest, but you’ll regret it later. Take the time to put like items together and stack them properly. This will also make it easier to find the items you need, when you need them.

6. Clean it Out Often

I find it valuable to clean out your refrigerator at least once a week or once every two weeks. Before you go to the grocery store, peek into your fridge and see what you have on hand. Then throw away anything that’s old (hopefully you do not do this too often). This ensures that you have room for your new groceries and that your refrigerator stays organized.

So there you have it! Like I said, pretty much just common sense but I really find it so rewarding to have a clean and organized fridge. Throwing food out, having food expire or grow mold really makes me upset. I know it happens and is sometimes unavoidable but keeping a clean fridge and an up-to-date inventory will help reduce the waste.

I hope you enjoyed some simple ways to keep your fridge organized. I would like to thank Laura for having me guest post on her blog and if you would like to read more about zesty please feel free to check out zestycook.com.

Take care

zesty

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Comments

22 Responses to Organize Your Fridge

  1. 2
    Mari says

    Man I look forward to being able to do that again. It’s been nearly a year since the children managed, over a two month period, to bust out the rails for the fridge door storage of my 15-year-old fridge. It’s been six months since one of the rails for one of the drawers broke. Four months since the long rail for the freezer door broke. I miss how useful door and drawer storage is. It’s amazing how hard it is to keep things organized in a fridge with no door or drawer storage. The plan is to replace the fridge this winter. Until then, there’s a lot of rearranging going on every time someone uses something from the fridge or freezer.

  2. 3
    Sharisse says

    Awesome!! I am proud to say this is the one area (of not very many) that I continue to keep organized and do pretty much everything you do as far as keeping it up on a weekly basis, going over it before grocery shopping and taking the time to put things away neatly when I get home. Clear containers also work well. One thing I do need to do is move the condiments to the fridge door. Another thing I do is when we buy juice I put them in order by expiration date. I put the newer ones all the way to the back and the current/older ones in the door (easier for the kids). There’s 2 plastic drawers in the bottom of the fridge. One is used for box juices/Capri Sun etc.. and the other is for veggies, fruits, etc.. I also do the same for my pantry, like items are together. Top shelf for paper/plastic/napkins, next shelf for pastas, rices, and anything else needed for quick dinner nights, next shelf down is can products I have on a stair like plastic thing that’s normally used for spices (I forget what it’s called), non-refrigerated condiments etc…, next shelf down is breakfast items, cereals, oatmeal, hot cocoa, next shelf down is a clear bin of snacks, chips cookies etc.. On the floor of the pantry is sodas and big containers like protein powder, juice mixes etc…

  3. 4
    Leigh says

    I have a tray on the top shelf of my fridge and all the leftovers live there so they don’t get lost

  4. 5
    pentamom says

    I don’t want to come off as a brand promoter (I have NO connection to Hillshire Farms) but since we eat a fair amount of lunchmeat, I love the way Hillshire Farms (and similar store brand knockoffs) come in recyclable containers (they’re just like the Glad reusable/recyclable containers you can buy.) They’re see through and can be reused for storage, and when I “oops” and have to throw out some nasty stuff, I have only the small amount of “recycling guilt” about throwing the whole thing away, instead of the mess of having to clean out a nasty container.

    Where I get tripped up is not always being able to put the big items in the back, because it’s highly inconvenient (and with kids, just asking for trouble) to bury the milk and other beverages. With a traditional top mount, there is just isn’t enough space to put it all on the door.

    Leigh, I like that tray idea! I’ll have to figure out how to rig something up like that for myself.

    • 5.1
      Sharisse says

      Amen to the Hillshire Farms containers!! We do the same thing. Not just for food but just about ANYTHING for the house. Small screws, not and bolts in the garage, craft or scrapbooking items, etc…

      I also agree about the bigger items in the back. Logically it makes sense so small items can not hide back there but like you, my 8yo would be knocking everything over trying to grab a gallon of milk from the back. Thankfully our fridge has the shelves in the door that hold gallon size items.

  5. 6
    Jonie says

    I usually have no problem organizing the fridge part, ie bottles, veg etc. It is the freezer part that really gets on my nerves. How do you pack your chicken wing, chicken thigh…which is uneven shape to begin with.

    I used the ziploc box, but there is so much i can put in one box, and i have so many ziploc boxes all stack up. I always have to ask myself…is there any room for a tub of ice cream before i go ahead and grab my most beloved flavor that is on sale…

  6. 7
    Lain Ehmann says

    Is that really a photo of her kitchen at the top??? It looks like a model home! Do real people live there? ;)

    I have a friend who has placed labels on the shelves with a Brother labeler. I can’t go that far because once I start the path to OCD, it’s a slippery slope. If something didn’t have a labeled place, I’d go nuts!

    The tip I like the best is to clean it often. We think we can’t do a quick-clean because we don’t have time to take EVERYTHING out, wipe down the shelves, etc. etc. But if we just take 30 seconds every time we’re cleaning up from a meal to go through one drawer or one shelf, it doesn’t pile up and the periodic big clean doesn’t take so long.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • 7.1
      Ammie @ Domesticallyobsessed.com says

      Um, thank you, because I was just about to say that very same thing. Now I wanna see a reallllly dirty before and after pic of her kitchen.

    • 7.2
      zestycook says

      @Lain – Yeah that is a picture of my new kitchen. We just moved in Last Christmas – I love it! Oh and I am a guy :)

  7. 8
    Allison Perkins says

    Thanks for sharing these great and simple tips. I also like to label my leftovers with the date it was prepared. I just use masking tape and a black marker. It helps me keep track of how old stuff is.

  8. 9
    Jessica says

    I do large items to the right and small items to the left. That way the big items are still accessible (which is nice when you are VERY pregnant).

    Another idea that I use and ADORE- we have a “sandwich” box. A plastic container that sits on the top shelf and has lunch meat, cheese, whatever veggies, and small condiments containers. So when you want to make a sandwich (which my husband does every day for work) you don’t have to dig 10 things out of the fridge. You just grab the bin and plop in on the counter. Works great because people are less likely to just throw things back in the fridge in a huge mess. It has literally changed our lives. I’m not even joking.

    • 9.1
      Mari says

      We have one of those, too. It used to be in a drawer but the drawer randomly fell out for no apparent reason so I moved it to a plastic shoe box container and it works really well.

      We also have fruit and veggie bins instead of drawers (since, like I said, my fridge is falling apart I pretty much don’t use the drawers anymore) and they’ve worked really well. I have a bin for cleaned, cut up veggies and dip so that the fam can just pop out the veggie bin and cart it to the sofa for munchies while watching movies then pop it back when they’re done. Another for fruit (cleaned, cut up, and popped in the bin). Not only does it help keep the fridge tidier and reduce spoilage but it’s got the fam eating healthier since it’s convenient to get the healthy foods.

  9. 10
    Alison says

    I have a tip to help with the “chuck it in and collapse” urge: I sort like with like when I’m packing the groceries at the store, so that when I get home I can just empty a bag of dairy products straight onto the “dairy” shelf (and so on) without having to engage any brainpower. This is my continuation of a family tradition of sorting as you take things out of the cart to pay for them, so that everything that’s going to the cellar rather than the kitchen goes into a separate bag, for example.

  10. 11
    Clearly Composed says

    This post inspired me to clean my fridge out last evening and while it can be a tedious task at moments it is so fulfilling to have it done and to open the door and see order instead of chaos. Now I just have to remember to give it weekly touch-ups!

  11. 12
    Lydia says

    Funny I just cleaned my fridge last night & I happened to get a chance to do some google reader subcription catch-up. I have the same exact fridge as the above image so the images where awesome (i’m not to far from the same order)… totally understand the concept of putting stuff away in a certain order, you’re not the only one =D LoL… my thing is the two pull-out compartments … I never know if I should put veggies & fruits together or not? these always confuse me… uggg =)
    Thx for the tips!

  12. 13
    Surviving and thriving on pennies says

    I am a long time reader of your blog and love all your idea’s. This is my first comment thus far. I have a really hard time following your idea’s at times for one reason. Plastic. I see so much plastic going on and was wondering if you could throw in idea’s for non plastic idea’s. Why no plastic? Well if you read http://www.fakeplasticfish.com you can see the dangers of these plastic products. Maybe you can try adding some plastic free alternatives? Maybe some upcycle? There really are some great alternatives out there made of glass, metal and all natural products. Don’t forget about your green readers!

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      Thanks so much for your comment. I will definitely keep that in mind. I have to admit that a lot of my bins and things are plastic because I get them from the dollar store and that is mostly what I can afford. However I am a HUGE believer in re-purposing whenever possible as not only a great way to save money but to keep things out of the land fill as well.
      I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for some great green alternatives. Please let me know if you ever come across a product that you think I would love.

      Blessings,
      Laura

  13. 14
    Ramblings of a Woman says

    I have been in a mood for the past year or so (due to some work/health issues) where I HATE to cook. I am no longer working, so I am trying to get back into the cooking mode and realized one reason I am disliking it so much now is that my fridge is a mess! I am going to use all the tips and ideas here and get it organized and cleaned out. Then maybe I’ll feel like cooking again!
    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/pruning-away-to-be-more/

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