Continuing with our Kitchen Organization Series, today we have Part 3: Fridge and Freezer Organization. I have some simple ways to help you keep things organized, along with a few tips.
I really do like organizing the fridge, it’s so nice when you open it up and everything has a place. I think the more we can keep our fridge and freezers organized, the easier they are to clean too!
Tip: Before I do any organizing or go to the grocery store, I try to clean the fridge out first. Any leftovers, or food that didn’t make it throughout the week will get tossed and I’ll give the shelves a quick wipe down. This is really helpful in upkeep with the fridge. It also helps me to see what we have, this way I’m not buying doubles of something and wasting food.
This is the most spacious fridge we’ve ever had. It’s interesting when you’ve lived in a few places and you start to appreciate upgrades like an updated fridge or stove. They can make all the difference especially if you’re in the kitchen a lot.
Needless to say this fridge is my favorite so far. The setup makes it easier to store food and is probably why I like organizing it so much.
But no matter the layout of your fridge there are still some tips I’m going to share with you that are easy to apply in any fridge space. I’ve organized a few refrigerators in my day so I’ve learned to adapt hehe.
So let’s jump right in, we’re going to start with the fridge first, then work our way down to the freezer.
Fruit & Veggie Bins
When you first open our fridge, the veggie and fruit bins are at the very bottom. On the left is where we keep our veggies.
Tip: It’s usually a good idea to keep veggies and fruits separate because they ripen at different rates. Veggies also tend to be a bit drier so they need a little extra moisture/humidity.
In the veggie bin I keep a green cloth at the bottom to help absorb all the extra moisture that builds up in the bin.
This has really saved me from things like lettuce, going bad too quickly.
I also unwrap everything prior to sticking it in the bin. Which helps to keep it fresh longer as well.
I do use my own produce bags.
I talk more about this in my Zero Waste post and you can read more here.
Although I bring my own bags, some things still come wrapped in plastic like the cauliflower. It’s a bummer but hopefully we can change this in the near future. Until then, it gets unwrapped and placed in the drawer.
Then on the right is our fruit bin.
Avocados I keep on the counter until they soften then I stick them in the fruit bin.
This drawer is pretty easy to keep clean because there isn’t any extra moisture like the veggie bin.
On top of the bins is our bottom shelf.
This shelf is reserved for larger items because it has the most space. Currently, on the left side we have a bowl of grapes that we’re trying to finish.
On this side I will also store large bowls of leftovers like soup and beans.
Next to the grapes, on the right side is where we store large drink items. Today we have some tea.
Our tea pitcher used to be a pickle jar that my Pops gave to us. We like to drink tea regularly so we’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. Thanks Pops!
Next to the tea jar is where I keep jars of food items that are best kept refrigerated. It’s pretty much seeds and nuts.
The names of each item are written on the jars, but I also write them on the plastic top so it’s easier for me to see when they’re in the fridge.
Tip: You can use dry erase markers to label the tops. These make it easy to change the name if you ever decide to switch out the food, and saves from having to use paper labels each time.
The acrylic organizer I found at TJ Maxx for about $8. It helps to keep the jars in place and I don’t have to worry about them falling and breaking.
The middle shelf is where our “cheese bin” is located. We do keep some cheese in here, along with the butter.
Now, I also keep a few things in this bin that some may not agree with, that is the onion and garlic.
I know there are those rules of what’s supposed to go in the fridge and I’m all about proper food storage, but oddly this has been the best place for me to store them.
As a new onion and garlic eater, I don’t use a lot of them while I’m cooking.
My Pops will buy a basket of onions and they’ll be gone by the end of the week…I can’t relate.
We don’t go through them that fast so, when I would store them in the pantry they would go bad. Keeping them in the fridge has helped them to last longer.
Tip: If you sometimes have half of a fruit or veggie that doesn’t get used, you can buy a smaller organizer to hold it so it isn’t rolling around in the fridge. The small organizer I have is also from TJ Maxx and was about $3.
We usually don’t store anything under the cheese bin because there isn’t enough space.
On the other side of the shelf is where we keep our tortillas and bread.
Bread with better ingredients is best kept in the fridge. We learned this the hard way. No preservatives is a good thing but you just have to know how to store the food. It isn’t fun when you go to make avocado toast and there’s already something green on your bread…ew.
At the very top, in our fridge is the most eventful shelf because it’s where we keep the leftovers!
We just had quinoa tacos so there’s quite a few leftovers. Plus some beans, rice, and breakfast potatoes from the other day.
Tip: Keep your leftovers at the top or the shelf you gravitate to the most. This way they are always front and center, and aren’t forgotten about. When I pack Eric’s lunch I will put it in front of the leftovers. It always goes in the same spot so he sees it and knows it’s for him. We’ve had a few instances where he took my leftovers, we don’t wana have to relive that debacle again.
On the right side is where I keep fruits for breakfast or anything for dinner that week.
This week we had strawberries, blueberries, and some mushrooms.
Behind the strawberries is another tip I’m excited to share with you.
Baking Soda Tip
As you may have seen, in the stores they sell the boxes of baking soda to keep in your fridge and freezer. The baking soda helps to absorb odors in the fridge and keeps it smelling fresh.
To help cut down on waste and having to buy a new box of baking soda every 3 months, I came up with another solution.
I put baking soda in a small mason jar, Eric drilled small holes into the plastic top and wahlah! A homemade baking soda odor eliminator – wow try saying that 3 times fast.
Again, with a dry erase marker I put the date that I put it in the fridge and simply change out the baking soda every 3 months or so.
The jar goes in the far corner of the fridge and that’s it.
This is what it all looks like inside of our fridge. I know it may look a little sparse but there’s only 2 of us and we only buy what we need each week.
If you have a large family you can also get separate bins to store their lunches and snacks in. This way you still keep things organized and everyone knows exactly where to go, to grab what they want.
The Fridge Door
Moving on to the door, at the bottom is where we keep smaller drink items, along with things that we need for dinner that week.
Above that, on the left side is the “sauces shelf.”
Tip: When it comes to organizing the door, I like to group similar items together hence the “sauces shelf.” This way I’m not searching for something every time I need to use it, instead it has a specific place.
Behind the Soy sauce and Sweet Chili sauce is the Sriracha, wing and Teriyaki sauce.
This shelf also holds Vitamins that I use as part of my skincare routine. They need to be kept in the fridge, and although they aren’t sauces this was the best place to store them.
Above this shelf is where I keep items for cooking.
With something that I don’t use all the time, like gluten-free flour, I’ll write the expiration date on the lid.
This way I’m not cooking with old flour. I don’t think that would taste very good.
The top shelf on the right is where our “spreads” go. As long as you can spread it on a piece of bread, it’ll be on this shelf.
With the exception of ketchup which is on the shelf below. The bottle is just too tall.
This shelf is for miscellaneous items. As you can see there are random things here like pumpkin seeds that I use for smoothies.
Tip: You can reuse glass bottles to store other food. My pumpkin seeds are stored in a soy sauce bottle that I reused.
There is also jalapenos that Eric likes to eat, syrup and pickles. I know it’s random.
So that is what the lovely fridge door looks like. And this concludes the fridge organization.
Next, we move on to the freezer!
I’ve never had a freezer that pulls out like a drawer and I really like it. For me, it’s a lot easier to see everything that we have. There is a top and bottom.
On top is our ice maker and tray, and where I keep my drain cleaner tabs and frozen bananas for smoothies.
If you’d like to see how I make the drain cleaner tabs you can check it out here.
Sometimes when my Mom comes to stay she orders some items that need to be kept cold, so that’s why we have so many ice packs.
This is where I could use a tip – Do you know what you can do with extra ice packs? Can they be recycled or donated?
Alright, finally, we’ve reached the bottom of the freezer. Here I store frozen veggies on the right and fruit and desserts on the left.
Sometimes we do have veggie burgers or dumplings that are frozen so I just store them with the veggies.
Tip: You can use metal clips to keep your veggie and fruit bags closed. This keeps them from getting freezer burn. The metal material is also better because it won’t crack from the cold like plastic does. I found some at TJ Maxx for just a few dollars.
And there you have it, an organized fridge and freezer.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for you.
Now, if only I could figure out how to get Eric to stop leaving food stains on the door handle that would be great! Have any ideas?