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How To Organize Your Refrigerator And Keep It Organized

After grocery shopping, you probably place your groceries in the fridge wherever they happen to fit. However, this approach not only leads to clutter, but it also can lead to foods spoiling quickly and potentially putting your family at risk for foodborne illnesses. Proper organization maximizes the shelf life of your food and prevents wasted time searching for the right ingredient when cooking.

Zones: A Quick Guide to What Goes Where

If you look inside your fridge, you'll see that the cold air is circulated from the back of the unit. When you open the door to the fridge, you let warm air in, which means that the back of the fridge is the coldest part. You also probably have heard that hot air rises. These factors separate the fridge into several zones, where the front of the fridge is warmer than the back and the top is warmer than the bottom.

Top Shelf

Foods that are likely to spoil or will be consumed quickly, such as leftovers or drinks, should go on the top shelf. Items that will be eaten immediately should be put at the front of the shelf, leaving room at the back for those that may not be eaten for a couple of days. This not only helps the items at the back to last longer, but it reminds you to eat the ones at the front first.


Uncooked meats, such as poultry, beef, and fish, are perfect for the coldest part of the fridge. These items would spoil quickly at the top of the fridge and potentially could leak juices onto lower shelves, contaminating other foods.

Crisper Drawers

The drawers at the bottom of your fridge are intended for fruits and vegetables. These drawers not only keep produce cold to prevent ripening, but they also often have humidity controls to further protect from spoilage. Leafy vegetables and herbs should be kept at high humidity, while most fruits should be kept at low humidity.


The doors are the warmest part of the fridge because it is the most exposed area every time you open the fridge to get something to eat. As a result, they are best for condiments or alcoholic beverages. Items that taste good when cold, but will not spoil, are ideal. Putting butter in the compartment most people use for butter at the top of your fridge door is actually a bad idea as it can cause the butter to spoil. Your butter would be better off on the back of the top shelf.

Keeping it Clean

Once you have your fridge organized, keeping it that way is as simple as remembering where everything goes. Labeling the shelves can remind you of the organizational structure. Before going shopping again, move everything to the front of the fridge, so you can easily see what you need and make a list. When you get back from shopping, simply place the new items behind the old ones. This ensures that you use the older items first, saving you both time and money.

Organizing your fridge helps foods to last longer and makes them safer for you and your family to consume, making all of your lives easier and less expensive. For professional help with cleaning and organizing your fridge and other areas of your home, contact a service like ALPS Professional Services.