We’ve all been there. You open the fridge to grab a snack or see what you can throw together for dinner only to find half-used sauce bottles, unmarked food storage containers, and wilting produce shoved all over the place. Is that leftover chicken still good? Eww. Do the berries have mold on them? Yuck. The fridge is full, so how can there be no food??? Ughhhh.
Guess what…it’s time for a clean out and some fridge organization TLC.
Start by taking everything out of the fridge and wipe down the shelves, drawers, door seals, and handles. Make sure to get all the nooks and crannies! Grab a step stool and wipe down the top of the fridge as well.
Throw out any expired foods, crusty condiments, or mystery leftovers. Wipe down any remaining condiment bottles, sauce jars, and food storage containers so they don’t drip on your newly cleaned shelves.
Group like items together. The main reason fridges get disorganized is that the contents are scattered all over the interior. I recommend investing in some clear fridge bins to help corral loose items and provide the framework of your zones. Keeping like items together is the key to having a well-organized fridge.
Replace the grouped items in your fridge and keep like things together so they are easier to find and use. Ensure they are accessible by creating zones based on what makes sense for you and your family. Zones can be set by type (dairy zone, condiment zone, kids zone) or by meal (breakfast zone, snack zone, sandwich zone). Make sure to leave an empty spot for food storage containers (leftovers zone).
Add erasable, dishwasher safe labels to your food storage containers so you can keep track of leftovers. If needed, add labels to the fridge bins or shelves to help family members learn the new zones. Anything that comes out of the fridge needs to go back to its home, aka zone. That is how your fridge will stay organized.
That’s it! Super easy, right? Well, yes. The easy part is over…now for the hard part, consistency. You absolutely must make sure that when things come out of the fridge, they return to their zone. When you bring groceries home, make adjustments to ensure everything fits. Take a couple of extra minutes while in the moment and train yourself to put things back where they belong.
Periodically reassess your zones to see if they are still working for you. Do you find that you’re always having to make room for certain things? Move your fridge contents around until you have a better layout. Being organized does NOT mean that things stay static. Your organization system can and should adjust to meet your changing needs.