The Ultimate Guide To Decluttering Your Refrigerator

With Thanksgiving leftovers looming, we thought it would be the perfect time to present you with The Ultimate Guide To Decluttering Your Refrigerator. So often the holidays (& normal stressors of daily life) lead us to shoving things in the refrigerator. As a result, we end up with really random (often rotten) things in the fridge. In a cluttered refrigerator, many items get shoved to the back and you find them much later in a not-so-pleasant state. We hope these tips and tricks are useful in saving some money, and keeping your refrigerator neat and organized!

-Store foods in the proper places: Different foods require different storage methods based on the humidity they need and the temperature they are cooked at. Properly storing foods also preserves their shelf life so you’re not throwing money away with bad food. Your upper shelves should be your leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods (or those that don’t need to be cooked or packaged foods). Avoid storing raw meats above produce because any runoff from the meat can unintentionally contaminate that produce. Try dedicating a drawer to raw meat or make your own by buying a separate clear, plastic bin to store meat in. Then be sure those produce drawers are at the proper humidity for your fruits and veggies so you get the most life out of them. You can also buy a refrigerator thermometer to help you know when it’s time to adjust the temperature. The thermometer should be set at 40F or below. 

-Check Expiration Dates – Make sure you’re checking expiration dates regularly and ditching foods that are past their lifespan. Designate one day a week or every couple of weeks to review those labels and toss what you no longer want. Put what’s expiring soonest at the front of your fridge, and if you see something is expiring soon and you don’t think you’ll be using it, consider freezing! Condiments tend to be the biggest culprits so devote extra time to sifting through those. 

-Meal Planning: Create a meal plan for the week and a grocery list that coincides with the plan. When you go to the grocery store, stick to the list. This prevents you from over-purchasing foods that you do not need and will not use. Check out our Ultimate Meal Planning Guide for ways to meal plan like a pro! 

-Rotate Items – Make sure to regularly rotate items in the refrigerator so that the same ones don’t keep getting shoved to the back. Designate time to bring the back of the fridge to the front so that you’re using the items you purchase and so that you’re using the items that are going to go bad first. 

-Get Creative – There are SO many ideas on the internet for organizing your refrigerator.

  1. Create magnetic containers to clear off shelf space and hang items on the sides.
  2. Place fruits and vegetables at eye-level on the middle shelf so that you are more likely to eat them when you see them.
  3. Purchase external containers and wire baskets to efficiently utilize space.
  4. Label shelves and storage bins. Chances are – unless you live alone – some grubby hands might mess with your newly found organization.
  5. Create snack drawers

-Don’t Forget About the Freezer – The freezer may be even more guilty of discombobulation since it’s not always obvious when food has gone bad. Aim to do a deep cleaning of your freezer every 3-6 months. Make sure to date when you freeze items and regularly check those labels. Treat frozen foods just as you would your fresh. Include them in your meal planning for the week, check dates, and toss out what’s no longer good.

The holidays come with tons of leftovers that make their way into your fridge. Be sure to have a plan for using leftovers and organizing the existing food that’s there. Don’t let this guide stop you at the refrigerator either. Get creative with hacks in the pantry and cabinets as well. If you’re really feeling really motivated, check out our highly recommended read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to apply these concepts of organizing to the rest of your home (and life). 

Do you have any pro tips for organizing your refrigerator? Share the love in the comments below! 

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4 Comments on The Ultimate Guide To Decluttering Your Refrigerator

  1. Avatar
    November 23, 2017 at 3:00 am (2 years ago)

    This grabbed my attention right away. I’m always struggling with an overstuffed fridge. Too many condiments and leftovers. Thanks for reminding me to get organized!

    • Wendy
      November 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm (2 years ago)

      Any time! Hope you found this helpful. Happy Holidays!! xx

  2. Avatar
    November 25, 2017 at 7:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Cloud I propose a slight change in one of the tips?
    “Make sure you’re checking expiration dates regularly and MAKING USE OF foods that are NEARLY past their lifespan.”
    I mean the emphasize should be rather on not wasting food unnecessarily.

    • Wendy
      November 26, 2017 at 1:14 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the suggestion- we emphasize ways to reduce food waste throughout the article. It’s okay to throw food out that’s gone bad- as much as it sucks, it happens. We’re human.


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