Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

The Best Way to Organise Your Fridge in 4 Easy Steps

Adriana Aziz
December 7, 2022
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Organising your fridge is not limited to placing contents neatly on the shelves and in the drawers; nor is it just about grouping similar food items together. What it really means to organise a fridge includes the above, along with getting rid of expired products and foods, and keeping the contents in check so that you know what you have, and what you really need to buy the next time you go grocery shopping.

The key is to stay on top of things and know when your food is expiring so that you don't let it sit too long. At the same time, you need to ensure that your food is fresh longer while being easy to reach. For most people, the habit of pulling things out and putting them back in wherever there is available space leads to complete disorder. Even worse, some contents get pushed to the back of the fridge and are eventually forgotten about until they are past their consumption date.

So, if you want to stop food wastage and keep your fridge organised, we are here to share the best way to do that! Read on!

Step One: Clean Thoroughly

blue microfibre cloth sitting in an empty fridge after being used to clean freezer

When you begin the process of organising, it's always a good idea to start with a clean fridge. For this, you will need to switch the appliance off and allow the temperature of the interiors to rise a little bit. Begin by removing all the contents from the shelves, drawers, and freezer.

Remove the drawers and shelves, and manually wash them with dish soap and water. If needed, soak them in warm, soapy water to break up any stains and debris left behind, and then give them a good scrub with a soft sponge before rinsing clean. 

Similarly, dampen a clean sponge with soap water, and wipe down the interior of the fridge, ensuring that you are not being too abrasive and harming the plastic.  Once you've washed and wiped down all surfaces and corners in the fridge, dry and put back all the shelves and drawers As an additonal tip, place a small, open box of baking soda in the back to eliminate odours as they form, and keep the fridge smelling fresh between each wash.

Step Two: Check Food Expiration Dates

man with pony tail looking into open fridge

When you've taken everything out of the fridge, start checking their expiry dates, or assessing whether you can hold onto specific foods for a while longer. At this point, even if the expiration date hasn't been reached yet, you must decide whether you are going to consume the product or not. 

If you don’t intend on using something anytime soon, and it is close to expiring, consider giving it to someone who will use it before that. For products or foods whose readiness for consumption cannot be determined, it's best not to test them and instead, get rid of the items. Remember, when you have less clutter, things will be easier to reach, and you will spend less time looking for things with the fridge door open. 

Step Three: Organise Your Shelves & Drawers

close up of man with pony tail organising a large open fridge

If you've made it a habit to put things into the fridge wherever there's space, you'll need to break out of it. Instead, you want to begin prioritising contents and placing them in dedicated sections based on their food type, thus making it easier to find things. 

While you can work out how you want to do this yourself, here are a few general rules to adhere to for better results:

Top Shelf

One of the most basic laws of physics is that cold air falls, and warm air rises. With this logic, your top shelf is going to be the warmest place in the fridge. Since it's also the first shelf you'll look at as you open the fridge, consider keeping the foods you need to consume quickly, on this shelf. Any leftovers, or foods close to expiry, are some examples.

Middle Shelf

Since this is the midpoint, you can place foods here that don't need to be kept too cool. Produce that can be left open like berries and some fruits, or dairy products like cheese and milk, can all be placed here. Usually, the middle shelf tends to have the largest space, so you can place tall jars or other large dishes here too.

Bottom Shelf

The bottom shelf is where the cold will concentrate. This is where the really susceptible foods can be stored. If you're not freezing meats, you can place them here since it is cold enough to keep them fresh for a while. Moreover, you will not be running the risk of accidental leaks over any of the other foods because it is the bottom shelf. 

Drawers

Most fridges have a single, large, crisper drawer. This drawer is the best place to put most of your produce since it is covered, and can hold humidity, thus maintaining freshness. Bear in mind, however, that some produce can rot easily, and therefore, won't last very long with raised humidity. 

Door Shelves

The door is the furthest away from the cold vents in the back and sides of the fridge, and is also exposed to the warm air outside every time you open the fridge. It is therefore the warmest, and most unstable part of the fridge. When using the door for storage, condiments like sauces, jams, etc. come to mind since they do not need to be too cold.

Step Four: Use Clear Storage Containers

close up of man with pony tail looking into a full organised single door fridge

As a bonus tip, you should consider storing your food items in clear and, if possible, labelled containers. This allows you to easily identify contents while ensuring neater organisation, too. It is also easier and quicker to assess how fresh the foods are without having to always open the lid. 

While this process may take a little more effort and some getting used to, the outcome and long-term benefit far outweighs the results of just winging it. By using the steps above, you will not only be saving physical space in the fridge, but also save time by finding and accessing items quickly. On top of this, you'll be spending less on buying replacements for items that went bad because they were lost among the mess and disorder of your fridge!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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