How To Organize A Refrigerator

A poorly organized refrigerator is one of the biggest money wasters in the home because all too often, food gets lost and expires or rots before it has a chance to be cooked or eaten. Making the most out of your refrigerator space helps ensure that your food stays fresher longer and helps you save time and money. So, why don’t more people do it?

The truth is that organizing the refrigerator can be a daunting task, especially when you know there’s a lot of bad food to go through and a lot of cleaning in store for you. But this is time well spent because your grocery bill will certainly drop as the amount of wasted food is reduced.

Ready to get started? 

What is the Best Way to Organize a Refrigerator?

Optimal refrigerator organization starts with taking everything out of the refrigerator and giving it a thorough cleaning. Remove the drawers and shelves and let them soak in hot, soapy water. Use a non-abrasive cleaner and soft sponge to wipe the entire interior down and rinse away the soap with a wet, clean towel. Clean the drawers and shelves and then use a clean towel to dry them and the interior of the refrigerator. Replace the shelves and drawers and place a box of baking soda inside the fridge to help absorb future odors.

Before returning your food to the fridge, check all the items for their expiration dates. Keep in mind that the dates listed are usually their “best by” dates, so some foods can be safely eaten past their listed dates. But before returning such an item, you should be honest with yourself about whether you think the food will be eaten soon. If an item has an expiration date that says, “use by,” then it isn’t recommended to save that food if the date has passed.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Refrigerator Space

Every part of the refrigerator is designed for a purpose, so understanding this is important for organizing it properly. Organizing the shelves based on their purpose helps you reduce waste because you will know exactly where everything is. 

  • Top Shelf: Heat rises, so naturally, the top shelf is one of the warmer shelves in the refrigerator. Therefore, you do not want to keep things like fresh meat or fish here. Instead, use the top shelf to store food you intend to eat soon, like leftovers and takeout. Since this is typically the first shelf you see when you open the refrigerator door, it is also good to keep the foods that you reach for most often here.
  • Middle Shelf: The middle shelf tends to have the most vertical space, so it is ideal for storing dairy products, tall bottles, and/or fresh produce that can be left uncovered, such as berries. 
  • Bottom Shelf: The bottom shelf is the coolest space in the fridge, so use it for meat or fish. Storing your meat and fish here also helps prevent the risk of accidental leakage contaminating the rest of your food.
  • Drawers: The drawers should be used to store your fresh produce because they are designed to help maintain crispness and maximum freshness.
  • Door Shelves: The shelves on the inside of the door are the warmest parts of your fridge and they tend to be narrow. So, store things like condiments, jams, and other more stable foods here. 

The best way to ensure your refrigerator system stays intact and well-organized is to invest in some clear storage containers. Containers are ideal for helping you keep like items together, so you can find and access them easier. You can even label each container by type of food or expiration date to take your organization one step further.

Using clear containers not only helps you build a solid framework for your storage system, but because they can be removed so easily, they also make future cleanings and food expiration checks a breeze.

Learning How to Organize a Refrigerator Takes Time, But It Pays Off Big!

Organizing your refrigerator for the first time takes a little time and effort, but it is well worth it because it will make your life so much easier once it is done. At Michael Graves Design, we offer a wide range of fridge bins that can keep your refrigerator Pinterest worthy and your food fresh. Our inspired designs complement your life and optimize your most frequently used spaces. We help you organize smarter, so you don’t have to work harder.


Need More Organization Tips? Here Are Some Other Blogs You May Be Interested In!

Say Goodbye To Fridge Chaos With The Best Fridge Bins And Organizers

Keep Your Kitchen Sink Organized With A Compact Caddy

How To Organize Your Silverware Drawer

How To Organize Your Kitchen And Maximize Space

How To Organize A Home Bar


Delight For All with Michael Graves Design

Featured Collection

Storage & Organization

Fridge Bin with Indigo Rubber Lining 12.5" x 6.25"


17 Ounce High Borosilicate Glass Square Food Storage Container with Indigo Rubber Seal


Fridge Bin with Indigo Rubber Lining 14.75" x 4.25"


13 Ounce High Borosilicate Glass Round Food Storage Container with Indigo Rubber Seal


Fridge Bin with Indigo Rubber Lining 12.5" x 8.25"


Fridge Bin with Indigo Rubber Lining 14.75" x 8.25"


Drawer Organizer with Indigo Rubber Lining 3.75" x 3.75"


Drawer Organizer with Indigo Rubber Lining 9.25" x 3.75"