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Today, let’s organize the refrigerator! If you’re like me, this spot is a source of constant stress. I literally used to cringe opening it. I would fully clean out my fridge every week or so, and yet it still somehow always looked like this:
Nothing really had a place. There was no rhyme or reason. Kids stuck bottles on the door haphazardly. Multiple half-drank cups of juice and milk (hello, waste!). I had to dig around to find anything, which made fixing meals even harder. To sum it up: hot. mess.
Finally, one day I had enough. I was scrolling Amazon looking for some things for my Deals group (you need to join us HERE if you haven’t!), when I came across a killer deal on these fridge organization bins. They had good reviews, were a great price compared to the ones I had been shopping, and I really liked that the set came with two egg trays because I almost always have at least 2 dozen eggs in my house at a time!
I ordered them. I knew it was time to tackle this mess and I needed it desperately. After a little more browsing around, I found this lazy Susan for a killer deal, too! Add to cart!
Two days later (thank you, Amazon Prime!), my goodies arrived. Let me tell you, I was like a kid on Christmas morning! I put on some cartoons for the kids and set to work! Here’s how I did it, and what you can do, too!
First step: Take everything out!
Yes, I mean everything! The whole fridge needs to be empty. Throw away anything that is out of date, or that you won’t realistically eat before it goes bad.
Second step: Wipe it down!
Grab some Clorox wipes and scrub until it shines. Take the drawers and bins out and wash them. This is your chance to truly reset, so make sure you do it well!
Third step: Group it.
It’s really helpful to plan this little project on the day before your big grocery run for the week. That way, you have less to move or have sitting out (use a cooler if you think the cleaning part will take you a while!).
You will want to sort out your fridge items based on what works for your family. Some examples could be: Leftovers, salad dressings, sauces, cheese, dairy products, milk, soda/drinks, meats and produce. Sorting while everything is out will help you decide the best use of your bins.
Fourth step: Put it back!
This part is so satisfying for me! I had to play around a bit with how I wanted things to be grouped, based on what I reach for the most and the space in my fridge. You will have to figure out what works for you, but here is what I did!
I have always had a chronic problem with cheese-buying. With it all mashed in the “cheese drawer,” I could never really see what I had on hand. I’d buy more of the same thing and cheese would get moldy and go bad in the drawer. One time, I did a fridge clean out and literally had 20 bags of cheese, you guys. 20. bags. And I threw away half. What a waste of money! I know you can probably relate…
So as I was looking at our space, I had an idea! Why does the cheese have to go in that drawer? Who is dictating to me where I store my queso?? I’m a grown woman! What if I stood my cheese up in one of my bins, always putting the newest in the very back? That way, when I am planning our grocery pickup for the week (holla, InstaCart and Walmart Grocery), I can easily see what I have and what I need. It also makes rotating way easier.
I am happy to report that it has been 4 months since fridge overhaul, and I literally never throw out cheese anymore! It is always used up and far less waste.
Sour cream and yogurt go in the bin beside the cheese. I reach for these often, because we are obsessed with Mexican and my kids love yogurt. Again, super easy to rotate, always putting the old in the front.
So what did I do with my “cheese drawer,” you might ask! I use it as my miscellaneous stuff space, to keep that from cluttering up my shelves. It gets emptied once a week usually, because it is always perishable sides, etc. Mashed potatoes, tortellini, lunch meat, fresh herbs; it is a bit random but I love keeping that stuff out of sight.
Fill the egg bins. This is so helpful for seeing when we need to grab more, and it helps rotate as well! Plus, seeing these pretty bins with my fresh eggs in them is so much more satisfying than those ugly styrofoam or plastic egg cartons!
All of the random salad dressings that cluttered up my door and shelves now have a happy home on the lazy Susan. Dressings could be like cheese for me. Not knowing what we had, I would always buy more. It was nothing for me to have 3-4 open bottles of ranch in there. Now, a quick spin as I am doing my grocery order tells me exactly what I have, and what I need to replenish.
Somehow, this actually makes us eat more salad. I don’t waste dressing, because things don’t get pushed to the back and forgotten. I can see the variety that we have and grab easily!
I adjusted my shelves a bit, to make the best use of space. I needed a bit more room for the dressings, so I was able to make a narrow top shelf space for the egg bins (and garlic).
I put leftovers beside the lazy Susan. We actually go through them pretty quickly now, so this space is plenty. They are at eye-level and easy to grab, so I don’t forget things are in there.
When I buy a larger salad bin, it takes up my entire produce drawer, so it lives on that shelf above it. That entire shelf is my flex-space, honestly. If I am prepping a meal, have a dessert that needs to chill, or just get carried away with the produce for that week, I can store it there. Sometimes I have bins of fresh fruit, at a level where my 3-year-old can grab it herself.
The door is simple, and so much less stressful! Butter in the bin at the top. Milk on the first shelf (whole milk for the baby, 1% for the rest of us!). Next, is coffee creamer and juice; things I reach for daily at a convenient level.
As you move down the door, things are sorted by order of use. I keep beef and chicken broth on hand, because a lot of of my eMeals recipes call for it. (If you haven’t tried eMeals, you need to! Grab a two-week trial HERE). Frequently used sauces and condiments also go on that shelf.
The bottom shelf is reserved for sweets and treats. Syrups, toppings if I have them, etc. I don’t reach for those things nearly as often, so they are lower priority. Plus, out of sight, out of mind, right??
I never truly realized how much anxiety and stress the fridge was giving me until I tackled this project. Opening it actually makes me smile (maybe I am weird?) and feel this sense of peace. I am able to look in there, see what we have, and feel so much gratitude for the bounty that the Lord has provided for our family. I am on a journey to reducing the chaos and clutter in our home, and this was a huge step for me. The book “Having a Martha Home, the Mary Way” is life-changing if you haven’t read it yet. I would 10 out of 10 recommending you order a copy!
I am happy to report that we are about 4 months post-fridge-makeover and still maintaining. Once a week, the day before I get groceries, I repeat this process. It takes about 5 minutes now, simply moving things around, wiping and putting them back. Being able to see everything means so much less waste. We actually eat the food, so there is much less to toss.
I hope this gives you the push you need to just do it! Order the stuff and organize the refrigerator! You will feel so much better!
I’m obsessed with deal hunting! Finding discounts to save myself (and others) money is a huge passion of mine! I have been running a thriving deals group for over a year now, and recently opened up a community-wide public group as well! I’d love for you to join us and save on the things you need! JOIN HERE!