How to Organize a Fridge the Right Way

Meta description: Learn the best tips and strategies for organizing your refrigerator the right way, including advice for food storage, shelf organization, and cleaning to maximize space and efficiency.


Keeping your refrigerator organized can seem like an endless chore, but having an efficient system in place makes a huge difference in being able to find what you need when you need it. A properly organized fridge also reduces food waste, keeps foods fresher longer, and makes meal prep and grocery shopping easier. Follow these tips to learn how to organize a fridge the right way.

Do a Deep Clean

Before organizing anything, it’s important to fully clean out your refrigerator. Remove all food and condiments and give the shelves, drawers, walls, and door a thorough scrubbing. Be sure to:

  • Clean spills – Use hot, soapy water and disinfectant to clean up any spills, drips, or sticky messes.
  • Wash shelves and drawers – Take them out and wash thoroughly with hot water. Let dry fully before replacing.
  • Clean walls and door – Use a kitchen cleaner or diluted bleach solution to sanitize all interior surfaces.
  • Deodorize – Sprinkle baking soda over surfaces and leave overnight before wiping clean to absorb odors.
  • Check for mold – Inspect closely around door seals and produce drawers for any mold growth and clean well.
  • Replace filters – Check water and air filters and replace if needed according to manufacturer instructions.

Once everything is fully sanitized, you’ll have a fresh start for optimal fridge organization.

Organize Food by Category

The most efficient way to organize your fridge is to group similar items together. Basic categories include:

  • Produce – Store fruits and veggies in crisper drawers to help maintain moisture and prevent spoilage.
  • Dairy – Keep milk, cheese, yogurt, butter in one designated shelf.
  • Eggs – Store eggs in their carton on a shelf, not the door.
  • Condiments – Group sauces, dressings, spreads together, ideally on a door shelf.
  • Drinks – Keep juices, waters, soda, and other drinks together on a shelf.
  • Leftovers – Place all leftovers or prepared foods together for easy grabbing.
  • Snacks – Give snacks their own shelf or drawer.

Grouping like items together makes everything easier to find without searching and rummaging.

Use Strategic Shelf Organization

To maximize fridge organization, be strategic with shelf items based on temperature zones:

  • Top shelf – Store items you use sparingly like salad dressings, oils, condiments. The top shelf is the warmest zone.
  • Middle shelves – Place milk, eggs, leftovers, and other frequently grabbed items here for easy access. The mid-section tends to be the most temperate zone.
  • Lower shelves – Keep produce, meats, and other perishables that need colder temps on the bottom shelves. The bottom is the coldest zone.
  • Door shelves – Use door shelves for drinks, condiments, butter and spreads since the temperature fluctuates when opening. Avoid eggs, milk and meats on the door.

Putting the right items in the right fridge zones keeps foods fresh and reduces waste.

Invest in Storage Containers

Using storage containers and organizers helps corral messy fridge items for a neat appearance:

  • Produce bins – Use bins designed for fruits and veggies to keep items separated and organized.
  • Leftover containers – Store prepared food and leftovers in clear glass or plastic containers with lids to see contents easily.
  • Beverage organizer – A drink caddy with divisions keeps bottles and cans upright and contained.
  • Butter dish – Use a covered butter dish rather than a foil-wrapped stick.
  • Condiment organizer – Keep small condiment jars, tubes and bottles tidy in a door organizer.
  • Egg caddies – Transfer eggs from the flimsy carton into a sturdy refrigerator bin.

Investing in some coordinating refrigerator storage options helps everything look neat and makes items easy to access.

Employ Strategic Fridge Layout

When it comes to a streamlined fridge layout, keep these tips in mind:

  • Place taller items like bottles and jugs along the back wall, leaving shorter items accessible up front.
  • Position items you use most often at eye-level for convenient grabbing.
  • Keep baking ingredients like milk, eggs and butter on the same shelf for ease when cooking and baking.
  • Avoid overcrowding shelves – too many items can lead to getting buried and forgotten.
  • Allow for air circulation – don’t shove items tightly together.
  • Place sticky condiment bottles in easy-access door racks.
  • Put snacks kids can help themselves to on lower shelves.

Mapping out where specific items go for an intentional layout saves hunting time.

Establish Smart Fridge Habits

Certain habits keep a fridge organized over time:

  • First In, First Out – Move older items to the front and place new items in back to use food before it spoils.
  • Prep produce – Wash, dry, chop, and package fresh produce as soon as you get home from the store.
  • Eliminate clutter – Don’t overcrowd the fridge. If you’re not using an item, toss it.
  • Immediately wipe spills – Don’t leave drips and leaks to get crusted on.
  • Check dates – Be diligent about checking expiration dates and throwing away expired food.
  • Restock strategically – Have a plan when returning from the grocery store where items will go.

With some effort upfront, maintaining organization becomes natural.

Tips for Different Sections of the Fridge

Certain areas of the refrigerator require some special attention when it comes to organization.

Crisper Drawers

  • Place fruits and veggies in separate drawers to avoid ethylene gas transfer.
  • Use bins in drawers to separate produce.
  • Line drawers with paper towels to absorb moisture and prevent sogginess.
  • Avoid overpacking produce drawers or air can’t circulate.

Fridge Doors

  • Use door shelves for drinks, condiments, spreads, butter that you use regularly.
  • Install sturdy door bins with vertical dividers to corral jars and bottles.
  • Remove dairy products from door shelves and store on fridge shelves.

Top Shelf

  • Use the top shelf for items used only occasionally since it is the warmest spot.
  • Store oils, dressings and sauces on the top fridge shelf.
  • Avoid dairy, eggs, produce on top shelf.

Bottom Drawer

  • Use bottom freezer drawer for frequently used frozen foods for easy access.
  • Organize with bins and dividers for structure.
  • Avoid overpacking so cold air can circulate freely.

Answers to Common Fridge Organization Questions

Organizing the refrigerator properly often brings up many questions. Here are some helpful answers.

Where should milk be stored in the fridge?

The optimal place for milk is on a middle shelf towards the back where the temperature is consistently cool. Avoid storing milk on the door where the temperature fluctuates.

How should you organize condiments in the fridge?

Store condiments together on a door shelf for easy access. An over-the-door organizer with slots provides an efficient way to corral jars and bottles upright.

Where should eggs be placed in the refrigerator?

Eggs should be kept on a middle shelf, not on the door. The door exposes them to unstable temperatures each time it’s opened. Keep them in their carton or transfer to an egg container.

Should fruits and vegetables be stored together?

Fruits and vegetables should be kept separate, ideally in their own crisper drawers. Together, ethylene gas from some produce can cause other veggies to ripen prematurely and spoil faster.

How can you maximize space in a crowded fridge?

Using storage bins and organizers helps maximize space, along with storing foods efficiently so nothing gets buried. Also, regularly purge old or expired items and avoid overpacking shelves.


Organizing the refrigerator in a systematic way truly helps contain the chaos and preserve food longer. The key is to group like items together, invest in storage solutions, pay attention to product placement based on temperature zones, maintain smart habits, and layout items strategically. With some effort upfront to establish an organizational scheme, keeping the fridge tidy becomes an easier routine over time. A properly organized refrigerator not only looks great, but also functions optimally keeping food fresher for longer.

How to Organize a Fridge the Right Way

Organizing your refrigerator properly is an important kitchen task. A clean and organized fridge helps you efficiently locate foods, ensures proper food storage conditions to optimize freshness, and saves you time with meal preparation. Here are some top tips for how to organize a fridge the right way.

Remove Everything

The first step in a fridge organization project is to remove all food and storage containers and shelves. Take everything out so you have an empty canvas to work with. As you remove items, discard any expired or spoiled foods to start fresh.

Deep Clean the Inside

With the fridge emptied, this is the perfect opportunity to deep clean the interior. Give shelves, walls, drawers and door bins a thorough scrubbing with hot soapy water or a natural cleaning solution. Be sure to sanitize any problem areas like spills or stains. Let the fridge fully air dry before putting food back in.

Categorize Foods

Once clean, it’s time to organize foods in a sensible way. Group together foods of similar categories or usage frequency. Some ideas:

  • Produce
  • Dairy
  • Condiments
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Baked Goods
  • Lunch Foods
  • Leftovers

Categorizing like items together makes everything easy to find without searching through all the shelves

Use Proper Storage Containers

To keep foods organized, store them in the proper storage vessels:

  • Produce: Perforated bins or crisper drawers
  • Dairy: Original packaging or specialized dairy bin
  • Leftovers: Airtight glass or plastic containers
  • Drinks: Can organizers or bins with divisions
  • Condiments: Door organizers with slots for bottles
  • Snacks: Bins or baskets

Proper storage helps items stay neatly contained.

Place Foods in the Optimal Location

Be strategic with placement based on each food’s storage needs and frequency of use.

  • Top Shelf: Infrequently used items like salad dressings, jars of sauces
  • Middle Shelves: Dairy, eggs, drinks, baked goods
  • Lower Shelves: Produce, meats, highly perishable items
  • Door: Drinks, condiments, snacks, butter
  • Crisper Drawers: Fruits, vegetables, berries

Smart placement preserves foods appropriately and allows for convenient access.

Establish Smart Habits

Certain habits make fridge organization a breeze:

  • Toss expired items immediately
  • Put new items at the back, older in front
  • Never overcrowd shelves
  • Return items to proper places
  • Immediately wipe spills
  • Regularly purge leftovers

Habits like these help maintain order consistently over time.

Add Optional Organizers

Specialized organizers make fridge storage even more streamlined:

  • Lazy susans for condiment rotation
  • Tiered bins for fruits and veggies
  • Can dispensers for drinks
  • Egg trays for carton-free storage
  • Spice organizers for jar storage
  • Wine racks for bottle storage

Organizers provide dedicated spaces for items prone to clutter.

A clean and organized refrigerator helps contain chaos and reduces tossing out spoiled foods. Follow these tips and tricks for maximizing your refrigerator real estate so you always know exactly where to find ingredients and supplies. An organized fridge saves time, money and stress!

Tips for Organizing Different Fridge Sections

When organizing the refrigerator, not all areas are created equal. Certain sections of the fridge require some special attention when it comes to optimal storage and organization.

Produce Drawers

The produce drawers, also called crisper drawers, need strategic organization to keep fruits and vegetables fresh.

  • Separate fruits and veggies into different drawers – ethylene gas can accelerate ripening.
  • Use small bins to help separate produce for easy access.
  • Line drawers with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and prevent sogginess.
  • Avoid overfilling produce drawers or air can’t circulate properly.

Door Shelves

The fridge door shelves require some finesse to keep items from toppling over every time the door opens and closes.

  • Use door shelves for frequently used items like drinks, condiments, butter.
  • Install organizers with vertical dividers to neatly corral jars, cans and bottles.
  • Position taller, heavier items on lower shelves.
  • Avoid overloading door shelves which can strain the hinges.

Top Shelf

The top refrigerator shelf comes with a caveat – it is the warmest zone in the fridge.

  • Reserve top shelf for items used infrequently or sparingly like oils and dressings.
  • Avoid storing milk, eggs, produce or other perishables on the top shelf.
  • Only use this shelf for items not harmed by warmer temperatures.

Bottom Drawers

The bottom freezer drawers need organization for easy access to frozen foods.

  • Use bottom drawer for items you use often like frozen fruits, veggies, meals.
  • Categorize with dividers or bins for neat compartmentalization.
  • Avoid overpacking so cold air can freely circulate around foods.

Common Fridge Organization FAQs

How should milk be stored?

Milk storage can be tricky since it needs consistently cold, but not freezing temps. The optimal place is towards the back of the middle fridge shelf. Avoid storing on the door.

Where should eggs go?

Eggs require stable cool temperatures, avoiding temperature fluctuations. Store eggs in their carton or container on a middle shelf, away from the door is best.

Should fruits and vegetables be stored together?

Fruits and vegetables should each get their own separate produce drawer. Together, gases can accelerate spoilage. Separate bins work well for organization.

What’s the best way to organize condiments?

Installing a door organizer with vertical slots neatly corrals condiment bottles and jars. Avoid stacking or overcrowding condiments on shelves.

How can you maximize space in a crowded fridge?

Only keep current foods in the fridge, don’t overbuy perishables, and use storage bins to consolidate similar items. Avoid cramming shelves so air can circulate.


A properly organized refrigerator helps contain chaos, reduces tossing spoiled food, and makes meal prep easier. Be sure to thoroughly categorize foods, use storage containers, and pay attention to optimal temperature zones for different items. Establishing smart organizational habits also keeps the fridge tidy over time. With some effort upfront, maintaining a clean fridge becomes an easier routine.