Freshen Up Your Fridge: Tips for Reorganizing Your Refrigerator



About once a month, since my husband and I moved into our apartment, I open the refrigerator door and like clockwork a small jar of fancy yellow mustard crash lands on my foot.

My strategy for dealing with this has been equal parts procrastination and denial, and maybe a couple of tears to deal with the pain.

But that strategy failed me today, as I realized I cannot continue to live with a messy, dysfunctional fridge anymore. So it’s time for a new strategy called “Operation Fresh Fridge,” the goal being to reorganize the food and condiments, to relive my feet from pain by falling yellow mustard.

The Game Plan:

Phase 1: The Purge

Perhaps I feel guilty that my husband does the majority of the cooking, but I have a habit of archiving the leftovers from meals I make and saving them in the fridge as proof of my (reasonable) contributions.

There are no plans to actually eat the rest of these leftovers – but like paystubs, it feels good to save them and show my husband proof when I actually do cook. If no one is going to eat them, dumping the old leftovers is a major first step in reclaiming valuable fridge space.

Phase 2: The Formation

There should be an actual method to your madness when it comes to placement of food in the refrigerator. Top shelf items should include newer, clearly-labeled leftovers. If you see them, you’re more likely to eat them.

Dairy items can find a home on the top shelf too, but they should be positioned in the back corners – that’s where the temperatures are the coolest. Middle shelf should house eggs and items you use most.

The bottom is best for packaged meats, to prevent them from contaminating other foods if they leak. Fruits and veggies go in the crisper, which regulates the temperature and humidity. And finally, the door is where the condiments should live, because it’s the warmest part of the fridge.

Phase 3: Customization

Finally, it’s time to make the fridge work for you. Hate knocking over everything while reaching for something in back? Add a lazy Susan so everything is more accessible.

Do you and your roommate share certain ingredients? Keep a list of shared ingredients – I call these “communal items” – on the door so you can mark them off when you run out. The next person to go to the store should offer to replenish the supply.

Cleaning out the fridge should be a fairly regular activity. If you find that you have a lot of partially used items that are approaching their expiration dates, try searching “fridge soup recipes” for meal ideas.

What other tips for organizing the fridge do you have? Share them with other renters below!




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