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5 Free Tips for an Organized Refrigerator

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food containers neatly stacked on refrigerator shelves and items in fridge drawers

We recently renovated our kitchen and I’ve been reorganizing everything in the kitchen to make it work better for my family. I’ve always kept our refrigerator neat and organized, but now that my children are old enough to make their own lunches I needed to do a bit of an overhaul. Since we’d just spent a pretty penny on renovating the kitchen, I knew that I needed to find inexpensive ways to get better organized. These are five free tips for an organized refrigerator that work for my family.

Keeping your refrigerator organized makes your busy life a bit simpler and less stressful. It also saves money because you can see what you have and find what you need. No more finding an expired container shoved in the back of your fridge. No more buying a duplicate or triplicate item because you couldn’t see it in the bottom of your freezer.  Organizing your refrigerator and freezer doesn’t have to cost anything; you can do it with these free tips.

Free Tips for an Organized Refrigerator

bottles in shelves on refrigerator door

Place similar items together. Keep similar items together in designated areas.  No more just shoving items willy nilly in the fridge or freezer. Refrigerators are set up to help you keep like items together. Take advantage of the shelves in the door to keep salad dressings, jams and jellies and condiments grouped together. Use the drawer bins to keep fruits, vegetables and sandwich fillings grouped together. Keep different categories of items grouped together on different shelves in your fridge. Think about what will work best for your family and organize your fridge that way.  Make sure you explain the new organizing system to your family so they can help you keep everything in place. Once your family learns where everything is located in your fridge, you should have less time with the doors wide open while someone (who shall remain nameless) stands there deciding what to eat and that should save you money.

items neatly organized in pullout refrigerator drawer

Use Containers or Bins that You Already Have  Use the drawers that come with your fridge and freezer to keep like items together. Also, use bins or containers that you already have to further organize smaller items.  I like to use plastic storage containers that have lost their lids as repurposed organizing bins.  One container keeps the small round cheeses from tumbling around in the drawer and getting lost. Another container keeps fast food condiments neatly organized so we can easily find them for school and work lunches.  I keep sliced cheese, a block of cheese and lunch meat in plastic storage containers so they stay fresh. Often the original packaging rips or just doesn’t stay closed well so using containers we already have to store these foods keeps them fresh longer.

Use Repurposed Packaging

bags of rolls and tortillas in clear organizing bin

If you don’t already have containers that you can reuse, look at food packaging for containers you can use to organize. The plastic bin that lettuce comes in is perfect for organizing items in my freezer and I use the lid from the same container as a tray to organize items on a shelf in my refrigerator. Look at the packaging your food comes in with new eyes and you’ll find many different containers and trays that you can use to organize your kitchen with repurposed items.  And best of all – they’re free!

overhead view of bags of food neatly organized in freezer drawer

File Items So you Can Access Them Easily  Placing items vertically in your fridge or especially your freezer keeps them much more organized. By filing items vertically, you can immediately see exactly what you have rather than having to rummage around in the drawer to find what’s on the bottom of the pile. Filing your items also makes it easier to remove an item or add an item. You simply slip the item you want right out of the drawer rather than wrestling that item you want from the bottom of the pile. Since you can see everything you have, filing helps you when you make your shopping list. No more buying an item you already have just because it was lost in the depths of your freezer. And no more throwing out an expired item that was lost in the back of your freezer.

overhead view of blue lid on glass food storage container with masking tape label with black marker text saying "spinach tortellini 8/10"

Label Leftovers  Keep a roll of making tape and a marker in your kitchen drawer. This makes it easy to label leftovers and other items that aren’t in the original packaging. Labeling makes it quick and easy to figure out what you’ve got in your fridge. Be sure to write the date on the label, too, so there’s no more wondering how old those leftovers are and whether they’re still edible. Using clear containers also make identifying contents easier.

neatly stacked food containers on refrigerator shelf

What are you doing this evening? You have time to try out these free tips for an organized refrigerator yourself. It won’t cost you a dime, will make your life simpler and might even save you money.

More Kitchen Organizing Ideas

If you’d like to purchase kitchen organizing products these items from The Container Store are key. {Affiliate links are provided for your convenience. Click on the image for more product and purchasing information.}

Now that your fridge is organized, you’ll have room to include some dump dinners shared by Homemade for Elle. Dump dinners are wonderful gifts for an expectant mom.

top image - close up of handwritten instructions on plastic zippered food bag, bottom image - overhead view of plastic zippered food bag filled with frozen food and blue "garlic chicken" text written on the bag

Use this kitchen cheat sheet from Wondermom Wannabe to purge expired food and keep your refrigerator neat and organized. Knowing how long to keep food items is important for your family’s health and your refrigerator organization 

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5 Comments

  1. Susan, these are all good tips. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the store for that special item only to find out I had two of it at home already. Love the tip about using containers from other foods – space saver and easy to find what I am looking for.

  2. I love stopping by to party with you! It would be amazing if you would stop by our party,Friday Favorites, and share your favorite posts with us.The doors open every Thursday at 7PM at mustlovehome.com….I hope I see you there – Christine @ Must Love Home

  3. I really like this site. It has some information that I hope to put into practice and develop better habits for getting and staying organized. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much, Linda. I hope you continue to find helpful tips here. Let me know if you ever have any questions or challenges (you can always email me).

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