Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Setting up your fridge, organizing it,
and keeping it clean will not only help
ease your mind, but it will also help you
save money, save time,
and make healthier choices.
There are 5 main steps to make this process really work;
1. Discard the excess and unnecessary
2. Analyze the food you keep in your fridge
3. Buy the appropriate storage supplies
4. Take the time to clean, organize, and set yourself up for success!
Discard Excess and Unnecessary Items
When going through your fridge ask yourself these questions:
-What are my favorite condiments and which ones are just sitting there wasting space?
-Are there things I can do without, or make from scratch to lessen the overwhelming amount of condiments available? (Do I really need 10 different types of salad dressings, or can I buy just a few at a time?)
-What can I condense into smaller containers? Do I have 3 things of ketchup that could be condensed into one?
-Whens the last time I used it? Have I ever used it?
- Is this expired?
These steps are so important because less is truly more. Take the time to decide what you REALLY NEED, and make sure moving forward you are buying things that will be used more than just one time.
Tip: If a recipe calls for an ingredient that you will never use again, think about if its worth it. Can you make it from ingredients you already have? Can you buy a smaller jar? Can you find other recipes that include that new ingredient? Can you find the same recipe that uses an ingredient you already have? Then ask yourself.. is it worth it?
When buying any food make sure you are being intentional but ESPECIALLY with 'condiments'. It's so so easy to end up with 4 containers of jelly, 2 things of salsa, 3 ranch bottles, and expired OJ. Always ask yourself if you actually need it, how often you will use it, and if its worth it.
Take Time to Analyze Your Food
When I say analyze your food, I do not mean you should inspect individual apples.
I do mean take the time to figure out...
-What do you consistently buy at the grocery store?
-What is always stored in your fridge?
-What foods are constantly going to waste?
-Do you meal prep and need space for containers or leftovers?
-Are you trying to be intentional about snacks?
-Are you making a change in your diet and want less temptations
These questions will help you decide what you want to be the 'focus' of your fridge. Sometimes our desires don't always match up with what works best, but take the time to try to make your dream fridge come to life. What would it look like?
When I answered the questions above, I realized that I buy A LOT of fresh produce, eggs, and fresh meat at the store. I also almost always have some type of can (La Croix or Pineapple juice). And we ALWAYS have salad dressing, aioli, and pesto sauce on hand. I also realized that the fruits and veggies in the bottom drawers almost never get finished before going bad. I knew ahead of time that we do need A LOT of space for containers and leftovers (and I also realized these need to be EASILY accessible or my husband will NOT eat them). And lastly, we did want to improve our snacking and make it as easy as possible to snack on fruits and veggies.
After taking the time to ANALYZE MY FRIDGE, I tried to envision what the perfect fridge would look like- for me it was eye level produce, a whole shelf for meal prepping, storage for my cans, and some type of container to hold my condiments. I wasn't 100% sure what I needed, but started looking for containers and made some decisions.
The goal for an organized fridge is to have a HOME for all your frequently bought items. Decide what is most important to be easily accessible and set that up first. Only keep what you need and will use.
Now it's Time to Add Storage Solutions
I bought all of my containers off of Amazon (where I buy most everything these days).
I started with buying a pack of 4, clear acrylic bins. My idea was to put our fresh produce in them on the shelf that was most easily accessible. This would not only eliminate the waste that was happening before, but also encourage better snacking.
After a week or so (and LOVING the containers) I bought a few more storage items for the fridge. This included a can dispenser, a large bin to hold our eggs (we usually have about 3 dozen on hand), and a lazy susan for the bottom shelf.
I love the lazy susan on the bottom shelf for my condiments because NOTHING gets lost. I can easily access any of the items or even take the whole lazy susan out. It's a great use of space!
I intentionally left an entire shelf open for leftovers and meal prepped meals. We meal prep a lot and love the glass containers that we use! We have two packages because we use so many!
While this was the PERFECT solution for my fridge, it might not be for yours. You truly have to look at what you CONSISTENTLY buy and make sure there is a place in the fridge for that. (If possible in a container).
If you always have yogurt on hand, where will this be stored?
Do you need a space for baby food?
Do you have different types of milk, where will this be?
Do you have a place to store cheeses?
Do you have a place to store raw meat?
When you have an idea for which container will be best for what, get started looking (and measuring). If bins work best for produce, do you want a small bin or need a deep bin the covers the whole shelf? What size lazy susan do you need to fit your largest condiment? What size container do you need for eggs? Do you need 1 or 2 drink dispensers?
Tip: you can always return. Play around with different shapes and sizes till you find what works best in your fridge.
One more tip: use bowls or pans to store raw meat on so it doesn't leak all over your shelf
Now Take Action
You have the knowledge so let's get to it!
Make sure you take EVERYTHING out of the fridge and then go through the elimination process. (Step #1).
While your fridge is empty, take time to clean it ALL. Wash the walls, the shelves, the door, and the food itself.
Analyze your food and your grocery list to come up with a system for the fridge (Step #2).
Add in the new bins/storage containers. Play around with the containers themselves to figure out a way that they fit best, and work best. Try different shelves, different orientations, and different containers. (Step #3)
Remember, nothing is permanent. You can change things around and make modifications if necessary. You can take things out, switch things around, and frankly- do whatever you want.
Now You Must Maintain
You've gotten rid of the excess and expired- make sure your keeping up with that. Be intentional with what you buy and don't bombard your fridge with 50 different condiments.
Take time each week, or each month to do a quick clean. Assess your fridge and make changes if necessary.
If you see that your cheese is ALWAYS going bad then ask yourself if your buying too much or if its stored in a place that you forget about and maybe this needs to be changed? Switch things up if you are still struggling to find homes for all your purchases.
Another important note is to share your desires with your family, remind them OFTEN of where things go. If I tell the kids to put something away I make sure to always add "Please put these away in the correct drawer or correct container." It takes a while for everyone to get used to a new organization system so be intentional and forgiving while it all gets set up...
but I promise that when things have a home, things stay much more clean and organized.
Here is a look into my fridge and what works best for our home
(The photos are ever changing because what we buy, what we eat, and what we use changes- but there is always a home for everything).
The top shelf is for raw defrosting meats, leftovers, and meal prepped meals
The second shelf is for all of our PREPPED produce (This means washed, chopped, and ready to grab).
The third shelf is for condiments (aioli's, mustards, hot sauces, and salad dressings) along with large items like kombucha, milk, or OJ. Also our can dispenser and eggs.
The drawers are for overflow, (extra fruits and veggies not yet chopped, bacon, lunch meats, cheeses, etc).
On the door we store our largest items like broths,
cottage cheese, yogurt, jelly, pesto, and BEER!
Check out my links below and tag me @jessicahaizman with all of your fridge organization! (Or message me with any questions <3)
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S !
W E B S I T E : www.jessicahaizman.com
I N S T A G R A M : https://www.instagram.com/jessicahaizman
T I K T O K : https://www.tiktok.com/@jessicahaizman?lang=en