Refrigerator full of food close up

Best Ideas for Organizing a Refrigerator

Lately, have you cleaned out your fridge? Once the expired condiments and forgotten take-out containers hit the trash, and the shelves and walls get scrubbed clean, you might as well go ahead and organize the refrigerator. The way you do that matters.

Refrigerator full of food close up

How to organize a refrigerator

Here is a general strategy followed in professional kitchens based on the temperature the foods need to be for food safety:

Upper shelves

Leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat items like yogurt, cottage cheese, and so forth. This area of the refrigerator is slightly warmer than the lower areas, so keep that in mind as you decide what should go here.

Lower shelves

This is the area you want to store raw ingredients that you will use for cooking, like eggs, meat, poultry.


Condiments only in the door, say the food safety pros. Why not cheese or deli items? Because this is the warmest area in the refrigerator.


Typically, refrigerator drawers are designed to hold produce at specific humidities. But if you want to store both fruits and vegetables in one drawer, with meat in the other, make sure you clean the meat drawer at least once a week.

If you need both drawers for produce, placing meat above the drawers could result in cross-contamination. A great solution is to improvise your own additional “drawer” for meat by using a clear plastic bin that will catch any drips and keep the meat safely away from everything else.

Best refrigerator organizers

The well-organized refrigerator makes good use of all the available space in a way that its contents are readily visible. Consider these highly useful items that can help move your refrigerator from chaos to calm in no time at all.

Magnetic Bottle Hanger

magnetic bottle holder for refrigerator


This Magnetic Bottle Holder uses very strong magnets to hang bottles from the ceiling of a well organized refrigerator—making good use of that empty space.



Greek Yogurt Slider

yogurt organizer for refrigerator

This space-saving Sliding Greek Yogurt Refrigerator Organizer gets all those yogurt containers corraled in one place, which keeps them visible and super handy. No hardware or tools required to add this to the side, ceiling, or under-shelf because it is peel-and-stick. Keeps 4 yogurt containers always at the ready.



Plastic Bag Organizer

ziploc bag refrigerator organizer

Don’t let zipper bags mess up your fridge anymore! Hanging them in a file-type arrangement with this Ziploc Bag Organizer keeps their contents visible and corraled in place. Never lose a refrigerator bag again!



Beverage Can Organizer

organized refrigerator beverage can holder


This beverage can organizer holds up to eight standard-sized beverage cans and is ideal for storing soda, sparkling water, seltzer, juice, tea, beer, and more in the refrigerator.

The raised front edge and sides prevent cans from rolling or falling out, while the removable lid allows items to be stored on top of the organizer to maximize storage space.



Stackable Storage Containers

stackable storage containers in the refrigerator

The Stackable Fridge Bins are made of durable high-quality shatterproof BPA free chlorine-free plastic. Easy care. Wash with mild soapy water. Not dishwasher safe, however. What a great way to keep the organized refrigerator contents neat, tidy, and highly visible.



Food Storage Containers

refrigerator storage containers with red lids


This 42-piece Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers set features Easy Find Lids that snap onto container bases. And the lids are the same sizes, so you can always find one when you need it. Your cabinets and fridge will stay organized. Super deal on this generous set. 



Non-Skid Turntables

non-skid gray and white turntables for cabinets or organized refrigerator

This set of two Lazy Susan Turntables are perfect in both the refrigerator and cabinets. This set includes 9″ and 12″ turntable with non-skid liners ane rimmed edges. Never worry about your items falling off.



Refrigerator Shelf Mats

These Washable Refrigerator Mats can be cut to fit the organized refrigerator shelves and drawers. Makes cleaning the refrigerator so much easier when you can just lift out the mats to easily clean them. Waterproof, mildew proof, dustproof, oilproof, non-skid, and super colorful.



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14 replies
  1. Sheri B. says:

    Hi Mary,
    My top shelf hold my 1/2 organic lactose free, fat free milk (3 of them) and leftover, my 6’8″ adult son hot sauces, mayo. His gallon milk jugs go in the door. We don’t go into our fridge that often to warm it up.
    Meat in the meat keeper and produce like Onions in one bottom drawer and the other for other produce. We keep our tomatoes out with a piece of tape on the top (where the branch connected) to keep them longer and keeping them on the counter, they taste better. Also in the door but at the bottom is things like ketchup, dressing, mustards. BBQ sauces.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Since I have a relatively small kitchen, I can’t have as large a refrigerator as I’d like. This has forced me to come up with ways to use every bit of my frig’s interior space, and to store food in the smallest possible containers. For example, we drink a lot of milk so I buy a gallon at a time. And it’s frustrating when there’s only 1/2 gallon (or less) left in that big jug, which eats up a lot of space. The same frustration can apply to other things, like juice, cream, ice tea, grated cheese, sour cream, even pickles. My solution is to have a variety of smaller glass containers, lidded jars and pitchers, that I can transfer foods to when there’s only a little left. I’ve bought several different sizes and shapes that work best for me, but you could certainly do the same thing with the jars or pitchers the food comes in. This has been so helpful. Every time I’m about to bring groceries home I take everything out of the refrigerator, wash it down, and transfer anything that will fit into smaller containers. That way I don’t have to rearrange everything when I’m trying to put my perishables away, and I actually have room for the new stuff. Glass is easier to clean than plastic and is dishwasher safe, which is why I prefer it. And I’ve yet to have something go bad because I put it in a different container than the one it came in.

  3. Kay Jones says:

    I am old, and don’t mind that at all. It’s a privilege many are denied! I cook in bulk and freeze my food in individual serving size. I use the zipper baggies. I put the food in the baggies, expel the air and lay flat on a cookie sheet that goes in the freezer. I freeze them that way and then move them to the boxes. This makes the bags fairly flat. I then use the plastic shoe boxes (three fit on the shelf in my freezer and I have 2 in the drawer part with a space for loose misc. things.) The boxes are filled according to what’s in them. This way I don’t have to leave the freezer open to search for things and just pull out the appropriate box. The shape of the boxes allow many of the flat frozen baggies to be neatly stored. I eat healthier this way and it’s a breeze to do an inventory of what I have which also saves money. I had storage containers, but using them resulted in lots of wasted space.

  4. Red says:

    I have enough trouble trying to get the checkout clerks to not turn yogurt on it’s side, it gets all over the lid and with fruit on the bottom ones just makes a general mess! I can’t imagine applesauce or pudding would fair much better.

    As for brown bananas, my step mother puts bananas in the fridge to keep them from over ripening. It looks awful, but the bananas are quite nice.

  5. Mary Lou says:

    I have those washable shelf mats. They slip and slide and build up condensation underneath. I had high hopes for them but had to stop using them.

    • Robyn says:

      I had seen that people have used the Press n’ Seal wrap on their refrigerator shelves. Easy to clean up messes too!

  6. Barbara Ann Tarleton says:

    I love gadgets and some of these I’ve never seen. That magnetic bottle hanger looks fun as does the ziplock bag holder.

  7. Rebecca Musser says:

    I have an older refrigerator (early 1990’s? WHY won’t it DIE?). If I set the temperature control a bit lower the items on the top shelf get frosty. Based on this, can I safely assume that my fridge is the opposite of the description regarding warmest v. coldest spots?

    • Gina Stevens says:

      Rebecca, pray your refrigerator lives forever, Newer appliances are junkier, have less features, less storage room, etc.


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