Easy refrigerator organization ideas that work for anyone! Suggestions for drawers, shelves, door, and container ideas. Refrigerator organization made easy!
In my quest to embrace our existing kitchen, I recently tackled a kitchen cabinet organization project that has literally changed my life. That may sound dramatic, but it’s true. During the process, I slowly transformed our kitchen from a room I desperately wanted to gut, into a room that is functional and organized. The good things now outweigh the bad, and I enjoy the time I spend there.
When the cabinets were finished, the next space that needed attention was our refrigerator. When I chose new appliances several years ago, I was limited to a small selection of refrigerators that would fit the space. Due to the age and layout of our kitchen cabinets, most refrigerators available were too big. I love our refrigerator, especially the bottom freezer drawer, but the size does present some challenges. Read on for a breakdown of these challenges followed by affordable solutions.
What Wasn’t Working
- The biggest problem with our refrigerator was that due to the small size, it was always over-crowded. Items would get shoved to the back and I would forget they were even there. I was really bothered by the amount of food that was thrown away because it expired before we could eat it.
- There was no rhyme or reason for where we put things. Random jars would be on the same shelf with lunch meat. Sometimes drinks were in the door, sometimes they were on a shelf. We needed consistency.
- I had decent storage containers, but the shelves in the refrigerator were not placed so they would stack properly. They were taking up way to much room.
Refrigerator Organization Goals
- Every item in the refrigerator had to be easily accessible.
- Like items needed to be placed together in a way that made sense.
- Better use of clear and stackable storage containers.
Before You Organize
- The very first thing to do is look at every item in your refrigerator and discard anything that is outdated. No…you really don’t need that jar of pickles from 2017! Also, get rid of anything you know you won’t use.
- The next step is to thoroughly clean the refrigerator. I try to keep up with this by cleaning a shelf or two on grocery day as I’m putting things away. For this project, I cleaned the entire refrigerator. One shelf at a time was emptied and washed. I emptied the door and washed all the bins, using Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap.
Refrigerator Organization Ideas
The first thing I did was measure the width and height of my shelves, and then I shopped online for appropriately sized bins. (Everything I used is linked below.) I wanted clear bins with handles that were deep enough to reach the back of the refrigerator. I also purchased soda can and water bottle dispensers, along with an egg caddy. These refrigerator organization containers were the tools I used to bring order to the space. By designating zones with the bins, everything became accessible and easy to see.
Once I had the shelves organized, I turned my attention to the drawers. I designated one for vegetables, one for fruits, and the small one for meats & cheeses. I prep the fruits and vegetables we eat for snacks as soon as they are purchased. They are washed & sliced so they are ready to eat. Vegetables used for cooking are not prepped until I am ready to use them.
*Yes…I store potatoes in the refrigerator. They last a lot longer and I have not noticed a difference in the way they cook or taste.
Next in my refrigerator organization process was the door. This is where the most purging took place! Large containers were placed in the bottom bin. Like items were grouped and placed in the smaller bins.
A few final refrigerator organization thoughts:
- I wanted to come up with storage solutions that I knew we could maintain. I didn’t want to transfer drinks (like milk or juice) to pretty pitchers. The eggs have to be transferred from the carton to the caddy, but I like being able to simply pull out the egg caddy to get eggs. (Instead of removing the entire egg carton, opening it, and returning it to the refrigerator.) I opted not to use the lid so access would be easier.
- I completely love being able to pull out a bin and see exactly what is there. No more trying to find things in the wasteland that was the back of the refrigerator!
- Make sure to leave some empty space. I didn’t end up with as much empty space as I would have liked, but hopefully we can make it work.
- Don’t forget about lazy Susans. I ordered one, but in the end, did not use it. If you have a bigger refrigerator, I know one or two would come in handy.
Refrigerator Organization Ideas Sources
I still have many more spaces in and around our home that need organized. Our garage is at the top of the list, but that will have to be a project that is accomplished in phases. To look at the big picture is completely overwhelming!
Until next time…