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Refrigerator storage bins containing organized food like scallions, cheese, strawberries and meat.

How to Achieve Your Organized Fridge Goals

Fed up with having to dig around in your jumble of a fridge and still not find the peanut butter? Here’s how to get everything beautifully organized.

6 min read

We all have them: #OrganizedFridgeGoals. The shelves look picture perfect. The ketchup is where we left it. The lettuce never wilts. And it’s not just about aesthetics. Considering the U.S. annually wastes 40 percent of its food—with households being the biggest source of that waste—learning realistic storage ideas for your refrigerator is important for saving time, money and the planet.

The key to success is knowing how to store items so they stay fresh and accessible. Here’s our guide for how to organize your refrigerator (be it French door or regular), making it more efficient and—dare we say—beautiful, plus the tools that’ll help it stay that way.

Clean and Sort

A clean slate is crucial here, so start by removing everything from the fridge. Toss any items way past their expiration dates, and wipe down shelves and drawers. Sort the remaining items by category (dairy, condiments, jams etc.); if you have multiples, place newer versions behind or underneath older ones, so you’ll use up what expires first.

OXO refrigerator undershelf drawer containing cheeses being easily pulled open.

What Goes Where

Because everyone in the household uses the fridge, establishing regular places for items to live helps the space stay organized. Plus, some refrigerator areas are colder than others. Follow these basic guidelines to ensure you’re storing various foods where they’ll stay fresh and accessible:

  • Condiments: Condiments don’t spoil easily, so they’re perfect contenders for the door, one of the fridge’s warmest zones. 
  • Dairy and eggs: The bottom and middle shelves are the fridge’s coldest zones and maintain consistent temperatures, so use them for highly perishable items. Store up to 20 eggs at a time with a reusable egg bin.
  • Kid snacks: Things like mini cheeses, squeeze pouches, juice boxes and other lunchbox and snack supplies do well on middle shelves where kids can easily reach them. Store them together in a clear bin so they’re easy to see, too. 
  • Leftovers: Leftovers belong front and center on the top and middle shelves, because if you see it, you’ll eat it. 
  • Meat: The bottom shelf is another of the coldest regions and the best spot for meat. That way, if it drips, it won’t contaminate everything below it. Save yourself cleanup time by storing meats on a tray or paper towel.
  • Produce: Keep produce in the drawers or on the middle shelves. As a general storage rule, fruits and veggies should be separated. That’s because certain fruits (like apples, pears and bananas) give off ethylene, a gas that causes many veggies to wilt and spoil. Veggies also tend to need more humidity than many fruits. So put anything that wilts (like leafy greens) in your high humidity drawer, along with berries and asparagus (which also don’t like ethylene). OXO’s Produce Savers also absorb ethylene and control humidity. Sturdier produce (like grapes, apples and citrus) do well on the middle or top shelf. Bonus tips: Keep herbs fresher, longer by storing them in an herb keeper, which circulates air to prevent wilting, or in a jar with an inch or two of water. Don’t wash produce before you’re ready to eat it; moisture breeds bacteria, causing foods to spoil faster.

Remember: Many refrigerator shelves are movable, so you can position them where they’re most helpful. Add drawers or shelf risers to maximize storage space. 

OXO refrigerator shelf riser placed over a bowl of greens.

Add Clear Storage Containers

Once again: If you see it, you’ll eat it. That’s why clear storage containers and bins are a win for storing leftovers, small snacks and produce. Some containers also stack conveniently, making the most of storage space. Plus, because they’re easy to see through, items behind them won’t get lost. 

You can also use clear bins to corral eggs, keep similar foods together (hello, hot sauces), hold canned drinks (add a beverage mat to the bottom) and house overflow items that won’t fit in the door. Make fridge life even easier by labeling the containers—and on that note…

Cans of soda and bottles of wine stacked neatly on OXO's dual sided beverage mat.

Label and Line

Label leftovers with the date they were made or purchased, so you know in a glance what’s ok to eat. Labels also tell everyone, including guests, where things go; this works especially well on bins and in the fridge door. Buy ready-made labels or make your own (painter’s tape and a marker will do the trick).

Line shelves and drawers. Liners are easier to wipe down or remove altogether when a deep clean is in order. Some liners also allow for better airflow around food items, which cuts down on mold. For super simple clean up, use paper or dish towels as liners; they can be easily swapped out (and washed) as needed.

Organized refrigerator, check. Now, of course, you’re eyeing that freezer. We can help there, too.


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