French door refrigerators may look aesthetically pleasing, but those side-by-side doors can make it harder to organize. French door refrigerators also tend to be narrow and tall, resulting in less horizontal shelf space. What’s more, in some French door refrigerators, the upper shelves can be warmer than the bottom ones. All these factors mean organizing the space can take a bit of planning. Start with this step-by-step guide to making your French door refrigerator work for you.
Begin With a Blank Slate
To start, take everything out of your fridge. Toss out expired products, make a shopping list of anything you need to replace and wipe down the empty shelves, advises Erin Steele, a professional organizer and owner of Joyful Tidying in Haddon Township, New Jersey.
Divide Your French Door Refrigerator Into Zones
As you place the food back in the fridge, imagine that you are creating zones, starting with a zone for drinks. Use a flexible beverage mat to hold up to 12 cans in place. (It can also secure wine bottles.) When the beverages are all gone, the mat’s slim profile makes it easy to remove and store.
Next, use an egg bin to create a zone for fresh eggs. With a sturdy lid that allows you to pile more food on top without crushing the shells, this egg bin holds up to 20 eggs at a time.
Organize the remaining zones by categories such as dairy, produce, meat, leftovers, and condiments. For parents, Steele suggests a school lunch zone stocked with items like yogurt, juice boxes and string cheese. If a zone includes more than one type of food, consider organizing it by using a three-in-one tray, which houses three separate containers for various items.
Unpack Your Products
Before stashing your groceries in the fridge, Steele recommends removing the original packaging to save space and placing similar items in clear bins. Clear bins and containers make it easy to take stock of what you have.
“Bins can be pulled out and brought to the counter to help you keep a good inventory,” says Steele. “In the freezer, I like to use bins with handles. You can pull them out, load them up and then slide them back in.”
Shelf Placement Matters
The placement of products in the fridge is important. It’s best to put items you’ll use more frequently—like milk or a water pitcher—near the front of the shelf for easy access. Likewise, put items that are close to the expiration date, as well as leftovers, in a high-visibility spot so you’ll use them before they go bad.
Take Advantage of Your French Door Refrigerator’s Height
What French door fridges lack in width, they make up for in height. Many new French door refrigerator owners aren’t sure how to make the most of this vertical space. Steele recommends using containers that stack to take advantage of the unique fridge layout. Another option: Use shelf risers to add another level of storage. This also helps you see behind items more easily.
Monitor the Temperature Zones
Since heat rises, the top shelf of a French door fridge tends to be warmer. Keep this in mind when you’re storing items. “The top should hold things that don’t spoil as quickly; dairy and meat should be stored lower down,” says Steele.
Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables can go in the middle of the fridge in crisper bins. (You can also use a produce keeper with carbon filters to keep food fresh.) Storing produce at eye level encourages you to make a healthy choice when you’re hungry for a snack.
Your Fridge, Your Way
Do you put creamer in your coffee every morning? Make sure it is front and center. Bring your lunch to the office? Use this salad container to store your meal on a shelf the night before so you can grab it in the morning. Ultimately, there’s no wrong way to organize your fridge: You’re the one using it, so do whatever makes sense to you.
Now that your fridge is organized, why not tackle other parts of your kitchen? Try these tips for organizing your kitchen pantry, check out kitchen chores you should tackle daily and learn how to clean your pots and pans.