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How to Organize Your Refrigerator

Keep produce, meats, and other ingredients separated and neatly organized. Learn how to organize your refrigerator like a pro with these expert tips.
Organized Refrigerator Shevles with fresh fruit and vegetables

Getting Started

Cleaning a fridge can take lots of sweat and elbow grease. But once it's nice and clean, it doesn't require too much effort to keep it that way. The best way to keep a refrigerator clean is to keep it organized and spill-free. With a few professional strategies and convenient accessories, you'll be able to keep your fridge spotless and coordinated. Here's how to organize your refrigerator so you'll always know precisely where everything is when you want to prepare a meal or grab a snack.

Organize to Avoid Cross-Contamination

Organize your refrigerator similarly to the way professional chefs organize theirs. With food safety as a top priority, chefs usually arrange their commercial kitchens based on each food's cooking temperature. For instance, prepared foods and leftovers are placed on the top racks, while meats and chickens are stored at the bottom. Storing and organizing items this way prevents cross-contamination, such as raw foods dripping down to lower levels.
Organized Refrigerator Shevles with Food and Beverage inside

How to Organize Your Fridge Shelves and Drawers

Using the same tips and principles from the pros, let's take a look at how homeowners can organize their fridges, one shelf at a time.

Upper and Lower Shelves

Store items such as leftovers, drinks, and grab-and-go packaged foods like yogurts on upper shelves. Raw foods, such as meats planned for cooked dishes, should go on the lower shelves.

Doors

Whether you have a double French door refrigerator or a bottom freezer refrigerator, you need to keep in mind that the door is the warmest area. Because of this, it's best to keep condiments there, instead of things that can easily spoil. While many homeowners tend to place eggs and milk in these open compartments, it's best to put those in colder regions of the fridge.

Drawers

Many fridges have drawers that offer humidity control for delicate items like vegetables and fruits. They will usually be labeled according to their suggested use, but if not, you should designate the top drawer for produce and the bottom for meats. This will help you avoid cross-contamination. Alternatively, you could use both drawers for produce, and store meat elsewhere in its own clear plastic container. This will prevent any nasty spills that you may often encounter when storing raw items.
Food in Food Storage Containers

Organize Your Refrigerator With Storage Containers

Besides arranging items by shelves and drawers, another way to organize your refrigerator is to use kitchen storage containers and accessories. Naturally, you already have some containers on hand for leftovers, but there are a few fridge-specific containers to keep everything in place.

Clear Plastic Containers

Always keep some clear plastic containers on hand to sort produce or, as mentioned above, to store meats safely. Having clear containers allows you to spot ingredients right away, instead of holding the door open and digging through the fridge, which wastes energy.

Soda Can Organizer

Whether it's for soda, beer, or any other canned beverage, a can organizer will help keep cans neatly stacked and ready to grab for a cold refreshment. If you have kids, you especially know how easy it is to create an avalanche when cans are stacked haphazardly.

Lazy Susan

Lazy Susans are a great way to organize small containers that tend to get lost and buried in the deep depths of your fridge. This way, you can keep track of items like small yogurt cups, cheeses, and jars of homemade jelly. If you're in the market for a new fridge with all the organizational bells and whistles, check out Abt's comprehensive Refrigerator Buying Guide.

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