Fridge Organization – The No Hassle, No BS Basics

We’ve all seen it. You know… that Pinterest pin about the super organized and super clean fridge with liners and bins and unicorns popping out of the cupcakes. It’s a great fantasy to have and I truly applaud those who can do it. That person is not me.

And I’m guessing that person is not you as you are reading a post from a blog called The Messy Organizer. So here are some basics to fridge organization that you can probably do in 20-30 minutes while watching that re-run of Parks & Rec on your iPad for the 50th time. (You know the one, where Ben and Leslie make the tiny park.)

Clean the Fridge

Ok, depending on how dirty your fridge is, this might take longer than 30 minutes. Since I 12-14-16-fridge-spillam cleaning my fridge today due to an unfortunate marinara sauce spill comparable to the
Exxon Valdez disaster (not really), stay tuned for my cleaning tips (and I hate cleaning so these will be hilarious!). But this really is step one. What’s the point of moving everything around if you are just putting it on top of last month’s Siracha sauce explosion?


Yes, you must do it. I know there are those of you out there that hold on to twist ties from the bread bag just in case you ever need them again, but the fridge is not the time nor the 12-14-16-fridge-purgeplace to get nostalgic over that last bit of wine that’s in the bottle you opened eight months ago when you found out your friend was getting married/ from the night you got pregnant/ when you split from that shitty significant other.  Throw it out! It’s dead, it has seen better days AND it’s taking up valuable space in your fridge. Here is the thing I’ve found about purging – the first three things are the hardest to throw out but if you keep going, you may find it gets easier. And recycle, please! At least in my town the containers don’t need to be 100% clean (or even rinsed out or empty) to be recycled.


Believe it or not, there is a method to your fridge’s madness. Typically things that need to be kept less cold can go on the door, the crisper bins help keep too much humidity from getting into your veggies, and the back of the fridge is usually colder. (I know – pshoww – mind blown.) So make sure everything goes into its place where it will have the best chance of surviving (and saving you money). For example, mine goes something like this:

  • Door – Condiments, wine bottles, butter, and olives.
  • Crisper Bin(s) – All veggies and fruit that require refrigeration. Keep tomatoes, hearty fruits like apples and pears, potatoes, and onions out of the fridge as long as possible.
  • Top Shelf(ves) – Beverages, eggs, already “sour” dairy products (cheese, yogurt, sour cream), leftovers, baked goods needing refrigeration and basically anything else that should be kept chilled but not frigid.
  • Bottom Shelf(ves)/Back of Fridge – Milk, cream/half-n-half, meat, fish, and anything else that basically has a shelf life of 10 minutes if left out of the fridge. This is the coldest part of the fridge so everything should be kept safe back there.


This is where you can let your little organizer’s heart go wild. If you have a big heart for

Not my fridge, obviously. Where are the clementines?!

“everything in its place” by all means, buy the bins. Here is my gripe with bins though.  Things change in size over time. So while NOW your kids’ juice boxes might fit in that $9.99 bin from the Container Store, your kids will grow up and products will be marketed differently to them. If you feel you must do this for your sanity, then by all means – DO IT. But otherwise, think of things you already have. For example, the clementine oranges I buy because I hate peeling regular oranges needed to go in the fridge as they were too ripe to sit out. I took one of my glass pie plates and shoved all 20 little cuties in there and put them on the top shelf of my fridge.  And they look frickin’ great! Seriously, every time I open my fridge I think “Look at that staging, you classy so-and-so.” It was a free solution to a problem since I didn’t want to throw the clems in the crisper bin with the celery who can just be so rude sometimes.
Hopefully by just cleaning out, categorizing, and organizing you will feel 10x better about your fridge without wondering if you can cut the shelf liners as perfectly as they are in the other fridge organization picture. Because after all, while shelf liners are nice, they still have to be cleaned if you are a sloppy mess like me. (Again, I bow down to the amazing people who can keep a super-organized fridge!)


If you feel like your organization skills are colder than the back of the fridge place you can never quite reach with your sponge, feel free to ask me a question about your organizing dilemma. I’m happy to answer and politely, yet firmly, point out that while there may be mold growing in that corner, a good shot of Clorox should take it right out.


More about the snarky gal who is writing.