How to Organize Your Fridge on a Budget
Learning how to organize your fridge isn't just satisfying—it makes cooking way more enjoyable. We break down how to transform your fridge on a budget.
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Raise your hand if you struggle to maintain a fridge organization system. Or, raise a hand if you’ve tossed groceries and leftovers because you forgot they were hiding way in the back. The good news is you’re not alone.
As someone who likes to organize for fun, I’m not proud of my fridge and pantry storage methods. Condiments have quickly taken over the fridge door and top shelf, not to mention the overwhelming amount of pre-made meals screaming for attention on the middle shelf. Simply put, I haven’t dedicated time to implement the best refrigerator organizing ideas—until now.
Mindful of the cost involved in investing in all the organization bins and food storage containers, my goal was to organize on a budget. I thoroughly researched stackable bins, drink organizers, sneaky storage solutions and refrigerator organizing deals to know what I truly needed to maximize space. All in all, I bought four organizers total. Here’s how to organize your fridge for less, according to my tested methods.
How to Organize Your Fridge
Tools and Supplies
- Lazy Susan. The fridge door isn’t the only place to keep easy-to-grab essentials. Lazy Susans make genius fridge organizers for two reasons: They spin for easy grabbing and corral random items. Opt for these non-skid turntables. They keep ingredients from flying off when turning the tray.
- Stackable bins. Time to maximize vertical space! These stackable bins are ideal for fresh, ready-to-grab produce, random jars, kids’ snacks and yogurt packs.
- Secret drawer storage. Short on drawer space? This genius insert creates storage out of thin air. The fridge drawer organizer easily clips onto the shelf, instantly creating space for cheese, produce and more.
- Drink dispenser. This vending machine-style drink dispenser requires zero assembly. We love that it holds more than just soda cans—it fits tall bottles while creating a fun way for the whole family to find their favorite beverage. It’s one of our favorite drink organizers!
- Glass storage containers. If you don’t have a set of uniform glass storage containers, it’s time to stock up. The consistent design of these Rubbermaid glass storage containers not only looks sleek, it maintains your fridge organization system by preventing various containers from overflowing. Their stackable design maximizes vertical space, too.
While you’re at it, learn how to organize a freezer in 5 simple steps, too.
Step 1: Empty and take inventory
The first step in learning how to organize your fridge is removing everything and checking expiration dates. Chances are there’s a few condiments past their due date (we’ve all been there). Consolidate like items, if possible, and clear way for new items. It’s also a good idea to wipe down the fridge while everything is out. (Learn more about how to clean a fridge.)
Step 2: Create zones
Perhaps the most important step, create zones for dairy, produce, meat or seafood—all of your family’s go-tos. The fridge door and top shelf tend to be the “warmest” zones, while the middle and bottom shelves are the coldest. Designate space for dairy towards the back of the fridge, condiments in the door and leftovers or ready to cook meat and seafood on the middle/bottom shelves. If you have crisper drawers, keep them open for leafy greens. A fun way to remember these zones is adding colorful shelf liners to categorize the areas.
Step 3: Assemble fridge organizers
Once you’ve stocked up on your favorite bins and organizers, play around with where they will go. It may take some maneuvering, but once they’re in place they make a world of a difference. I put the drink dispenser on the top shelf along with a Lazy Susan. The stackable bins went on the bottom shelf and the secret drawer insert below the top shelf. I also added an additional turntable to the bottom shelf to gather a tub of yogurt and condiments that didn’t fit in the fridge door.
Step 4: Restock
Now for the fun part: Restocking! Again, this may require playing around with a few different options, and that’s OK. Stash any leftovers or prepped meals in glass food storage containers. Not only is it visually appealing, but you’ll be able to see everything you have in your fridge at a glance. Pro tip: Designate a turntable for frequently used condiments, jams or sauces. If you have extra drawer space, it may be a good idea to keep loose items that tend to get lost toward the back of the fridge (think that random container of homemade dip or pack of tofu).
Fridge Organization FAQs
Where do you put things in the refrigerator?
A good rule of thumb is dairy products on a shelf, condiments in the door, meat, seafood or leftovers on the lowest shelf and fridge-friendly produce in the crisper. This is because the bottom shelves tend to be the “coolest” in terms of temperature. Read up on foods you shouldn’t refrigerate.
How do I declutter and organize my fridge?
Start by emptying it and taking inventory. Throw away expired food. Then, dedicate zones for every type of food you need to store in the fridge. It’s helpful to categorize by like items and assign bins, shelves and drawers for specific ingredients. Need inspiration? Turn to these satisfying TikTok fridge organization ideas.
How do I maximize space in my fridge?
It’s important to create vertical space wherever possible to truly get the most out of your fridge. Stackable bins are helpful, as well as stackable food storage containers for leftovers. There’s even genius solutions like a fridge drawer insert and automatic drink dispenser available to create space in unlikely areas.
All in all, I was able to completely transform my fridge for under $100. Though you technically don’t have to spend any money to organize your fridge, it makes a big difference to invest in pieces that will help maintain your new system.
Incorporating bins, turntables and even a drink dispenser has helped me keep my fridge organized. It actually brings me joy to open my fridge and see everything front and center. Plus, no more fumbling around to find ingredients when I cook!