Organizing the Refrigerator {Ask the Readers}

I recently received this email from Kathie:

My biggest problem (although not the only big problem) in organizing the kitchen is the refrigerator.  How do you keep that organized?   Its ALWAYS a problem.  Ideas / suggestions would be appreciated.

Well, Kathie you are not the only one that struggles in this area. I even shared once what I found hiding in the back of the fridge. So, I know I struggle with keeping my fridge organized and I am sure others do as well.

There are a few things that I have found though that do help my fridge stay at least semi organized.

I try to do at least a quick clean out of my fridge once a week. Now, this is not a deep clean, it is just a quick going through to make sure that all leftovers are used up. And also to make note of what produce I have that needs used. I usually do this the day of or day before I go grocery shopping because it clears some space for anything new I will be bringing home.

I also try to mark the date things were opened on the packages. This works really well for things like lunch meat, chicken broth, or anything else that you only use a partial package of.  Since I have some in my house that eat gluten free, I also label things like butter and mayonnaise gluten free and not gluten free. This helps keep these items organized.

I also try to have sections of the fridge where I always keep the same items. We always keep the milk, eggs, and butter in the same spot. Condiments and salad dressing always go on the door. Produce in the bins, etc. Now, my kids don’t always put things back in the right spot, but they are learning. And when I do my weekly clean out of the fridge I try to put anything that is out of place back in the right spot.

Now, what tips do you have for Kathie? I would love to hear what ideas you have for keeping your refrigerator organized?

If you have a question that you would like to submit for my weekly Ask the Readers you can do so here.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. LOVE this recipe!! Can’t wait to make it, thanks for sharing :)

  2. The way I keep my fridge organized the BEST was when I keep a white board on the front. On one side I list items in my freezer/pantry that are available for meals and how much I have available (for example, 3 whole chickens, 2 ground beef…). On the other side I keep a running list of leftovers that are in the fridge and approximately how many servings are left.

    We can see at a glance (assuming things got erased as they were used) what is inside. This also eliminates some of the “fridge stare”–leaving the door open trying to decide what we wanted to eat.

    I do have periods when I get slack and forget to change my tally, but it definitely helps to have a general idea of our choices.

  3. I bought a little package of something like Post-It labels. Every time I put leftovers in the fridge, or open something, a label goes on. It’s great! Then all I have to do is look through there and see when it got there.

    For my freezer, I keep a running list. And I’ve got 2 freezers. So I keep them separately listed, and check often. Sometimes I’ll see a big sale on something and I’ll check my lists to see if I have things to compliment it.

    I continue to strive for better organization! lol One thing I learned (from a book at the library) is to buy containers/storage things that are SQUARE (more or less) NOT ROUND. Round containers leave some unused space.

  4. “I also try to have sections of the fridge where I always keep the same items. We always keep the milk, eggs, and butter in the same spot. Condiments and salad dressing always go on the door. Produce in the bins, etc. Now, my kids don’t always put things back in the right spot, but they are learning. And when I do my weekly clean out of the fridge I try to put anything that is out of place back in the right spot.”

    THIS I DO TOO! Then you know where to look!

  5. I will definitely be doing the “keep everything in a “regular” spot” idea as well as the weekly “clean out” that can 1) make sure we actually use up all the leftovers and 2) make space for those things we really eat. Oh and most importantly not leave any “surprise/science project” shoved into the back.

    I also like the idea of the white board – currently I use mine as a “grocery” list but I like the listing whats inside better.

    I can’t wait to see what else others have come up with.
    And since Tuesday is my garbage pickup day ….. between tonight and tomorrow I will be cleaning out the frig and reorganize so that we can start February “fresh”.

  6. I like to keep all of my leftovers on one shelf so nothing gets overlooked and we can use it all up before it goes bad.

  7. My favorite tip for keeping the fridge organized is to use bins inside the fridge. I have two for sandwiches 1: (Mayo, mustard, lunchmeat and sliced cheese) 2:(natural peanut butter, any type of jelly currently opened) and a third is for Salads. When I go to make a sammie, the whole bin I want comes out. When we sit down to dinner and are having salad, the entire bin of comes to the table and then after dinner goes back to it’s spot (any opened dressings, bacon bits, shredded cheese, green olives, etc.).

  8. I agree with everything have a place – we have a shelf for left-overs and opened items (like stock, cold meats and things for lunches), a shelf for dairy (we use a lot of yoghurt in this house), a place for eggs, drawers for fruit and veggies, and jams, mayo,milk and condiments in the door. Took a while to get the system going, but it works and means leftovers don’t get forgotten. And I only have to re-arrange things back to their proper places once a week and it is quick.

  9. I have a place for things and a bin for lunch meats and cheese. Don’t keep leftovers past Sat shopping day. Lunch on sat is any leftover in refridge.
    Don’t throw away food this way.

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