Mastering Fridge Organization: Simple Steps for a Clean and Functional Refrigerator


December 4, 2023

Top 25 Ranked With Over 500K Download
Simplify Meal Planning with the Menu Board Meal Planning System
Ep. 08
How to Use a Brain Dump to Increase Your Weekly Productivity
Ep. 02
Are You Time Blocking the Wrong Way? Details on The 5 Block System
Ep. 135
Your WFHM Survival Guide! Stop the Mom Guilt & Get in Control
Ep. 141
Get a Squeaky Clean House the Easy Way! The Uncomplicated Cleaning System is Here
Ep. 133
Binge Worthy 
My Favorites!
All the essentials you need to keep up with cleaning your home without chemicals or complicated tools.
Home Organization
My top used bins, totes, lables, and more to keep your organization
game on point!
Business Productivity
Sit down to an effective and fast work block with my favorite productivity tools to use in your business.
Paper Planner
time management and time blocks have never been so simple and so beautiful. get my number one recommended planner now!

Take Your Home From Overwhelmed To Organized In 4 Weeks
Listen to the Podcast
Crunchy mom of two, married to my favorite boy for life, and lover of the dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
I'm Chelsi Jo
Business Growth
from idea to six figures in 2 years and i'm sharing all my resources with you!
for work from home moms

Let’s dive right into the essential steps for efficient fridge organization. The inspiration for this topic struck me during a recent engagement in my Facebook group.

If you find yourself grappling with organizational challenges, simply post about it in our Facebook community. This is my go-to space for understanding the current struggles and concerns people are facing in their lives. It serves as a valuable source for me to evaluate existing systems or, if needed, to swiftly devise a new and effective system. That’s just the way my mind operates!

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Effortless Fridge Organization: A Quick Guide for Busy Families

I adhere to this system consistently, and I can breeze through it effortlessly. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature, and you won’t have to think about it again. Seriously, set aside just an hour for this—keep it short and sweet. Fridge organization is an enjoyable activity, especially if you involve your kids. Play some music in the background, jot down the steps for them—only three steps, and you can do it together. If you’re thinking, “What is this even about? I won’t do this with my children,” you can absolutely do it on your own. The choice is yours—whether a family affair or a solo endeavor.

You can do it before any holiday, which is going to be to help you if you have all those leftovers, you’re trying to host in your home or you’re trying to have space for the extra things that you have to cook to take to a big dinner; you’re actually gonna have a space for it. And you’re not concerned about where to put the milk container, those juice bottles or have that weird awkward shape pot or pan with foil on it shoved on top of things.

Streamlined Fridge Revitalization: The 20-Minute Purge

Step One, known as “The Purge,” is designed to be completed in 20 minutes. Start by pulling everything out of the fridge—yes, everything. Clear off the kitchen table or, if it’s cluttered, make space by shoving things aside. We’re not dealing with the kitchen table right now; our focus is on the fridge. Create room; even if it means placing items on the floor, ensure it’s a clear workspace. If you have a pet, like a dog, relocate them to prevent any unexpected feasting on your kitchen goods. The key here is to empty the fridge completely.

Next up, grab your trusty all-purpose non-toxic spray. Wipe down the shelves; give them a good spray and thorough cleaning. Opt for an all-purpose, non-toxic spray for an effective and safe cleaning process.

Effortless Fridge Transformation: The Art of Decluttering Expired Items

As we delve into Step Two, the focal point is decluttering—an essential aspect of our fridge transformation journey. Begin by purging all expired food items. It’s not unusual to discover approximately 15 bottles, and, let’s face it, at least five of them have likely passed their expiration dates. Take a moment to bid farewell to these expired items, clearing the way for a refreshed and organized fridge space. This simple yet impactful step sets the stage for a cleaner and more functional refrigerator.

Strategic Fridge Organization: Efficient Consolidation for a Cohesive Space

Once you’ve cleared the expired items, move on to the last step: consolidate. Combine all three bottles of ketchup and the mustard bottle. No, I don’t mean mix them into one bottle, but gather all the ketchup into a single bottle. This step follows tossing expired food for a reason. Don’t mix that four-year-old ketchup with the one you just opened six months ago. Dispose of the expired one, even though it might seem like it could last another six years—let’s not push it.

Strategic Fridge Mastery: Crafting Your Personalized System

Now, onto Step Two, aptly named “Create Your System.” Although it may lack a catchy title, it’s a crucial 20-minute task. To maintain organization, you must establish a system for where things go and how you use them. Understanding your rhythms and your family’s habits is key to crafting an effective system. Don’t overthink it; just place items where it makes sense to you at the moment. You can refine and adapt it next week based on what works and what doesn’t. This step is about establishing the systems that suit your needs in the fridge.

 “To maintain organization, you must establish a system for where things go and how you use them.”

Zoning In: A Structured Approach to Fridge Organization

These are my zones in our fridge but feel free to add and take away what does and doesn’t work for you!

1. Lunch Shelf: For items like bread and local handmade products that need refrigeration.

2. Meat Section: Dedicated to all types of meat.

3. Fruit Section: Reserved for various fruits.

4. Dairy Section: Specifically for dairy products.

5. Leftovers: A designated area for leftover food.

6. Prep Area: For food that needs preparation.

7. Vegetables Section: Split into vegetables, prepped vegetables, and those needing to be cooked.

8. Bars Section: Reserved for bars or similar items.

9. Pickling Station: We’ve established a dedicated pickling station tucked away at the far end, just behind the dairy section. It’s a personal zone reserved for my pickling and lacto-fermentation projects, which is an ancient method of pickling. I strategically positioned this section behind the more frequently accessed zones, recognizing that it’s exclusive to my needs.

Moreover, each shelf has specific compartments for condiments, sauces, oils, and other related items. This systematic approach will undoubtedly make your fridge organization efficient and easy to maintain.

Occasionally, things can become a bit disorganized when an item doesn’t fit neatly into its assigned place. It’s permissible to make an exception to the rule, though it might bother me personally; it’s just the way it goes.

Not Every Fridge Needs to Be Pinterest-Perfect: Embracing Practical Organization

I haven’t reached the point of achieving a completely Pinterest-worthy fridge. While my fridge is organized, I haven’t invested in matching cute condiment bottles, squeeze bottles, and meticulously labeled items. It’s a goal I’d love to reach, but it’s not a reality for me right now, and it might not be for you either. That’s perfectly okay. If your large pickle jar doesn’t end up on the same shelf as the other jars with smaller items, it’s not a big deal. The ideal scenario is to make it easy for everyone to return items to their designated spots, but we understand that doesn’t always happen.

Here is where you can also organize your zones by designating bins, dividers, or containers as well.

In my previous fridge, which I knew inside out for eight years, I utilized a door shelf with a built-in drawer. To keep things organized, I ingeniously fashioned a cardboard divider, securely held in place with duct tape. This makeshift solution served as a designated space for refrigerating all the bars, preventing them from scattering everywhere. While a basket could have been an alternative, this setup worked seamlessly for us, providing a practical and effective storage solution.

Navigating Fridge Gadgets: A Personal Perspective on Lazy Susans and Can Dispensers

I often come across people, particularly on Pinterest and Instagram, showcasing their use of lazy Susans in the fridge. While some find it incredibly useful, I personally don’t favor it because it tends to consume a significant amount of space. Unless you maintain a minimalist fridge with just the essentials, it might not be the most space-efficient solution. While fancy gadgets like lazy Susans can be tempting to try, I prefer to keep it simple and avoid them.

We experimented with a can dispenser section for a while, and it served its purpose for a season. However, I personally prefer the straightforward approach of standing cans up and lining them up. Determining the bins you need will involve some fine-tuning over time, adjusting based on what works best for your specific needs and preferences.

Labeling for Flexibility: Enhancing Fridge Organization and User-Friendliness

The last suggestion, while not mandatory, is highly recommended: labeling with masking tape (not duct tape). Be cautious about the type of labels you use; opt for something easily removable. While chalk labels may seem appealing, I prefer masking tape because it doesn’t adhere too strongly, making it simple to peel off. This is crucial because you’ll likely reorganize your zones about four or five times before finding the optimal arrangement. You’ll want the flexibility to move your labels as you refine the system, avoiding the frustration of someone, like your husband, getting accustomed to the setup only for it to change unexpectedly.

While everything is well-organized, the absence of labels means I often need to answer questions about item locations. Labeling becomes crucial in this context—it not only aids in your learning process but also proves helpful for everyone else who interacts with the fridge. Labels provide clarity and streamline the process of finding items, making the overall organization even more effective and user-friendly.

Revitalizing Your Fridge: Restore and Share the Triumph

Now, for Step Three: it’s time to put everything back into your fridge, now that you’ve established your zones or at least your initial zones and cleaned everything out. One additional tip I forgot to mention earlier is to ensure you clean off the bottoms of all items you pulled out before putting them back. Often, they can be grimy, sticky, and unpleasant, potentially dirtying your newly organized fridge.

If you’re like me, you might also want to take off the caps and clean any residue around the edges. While this step isn’t mandatory at this phase, if you have some helpers, you can easily get it done within that 20-minute timeframe. Using hot water and a good microfiber cloth, you can swiftly clean the goop. The hotter the water, the more effective the cleaning process will be.

In Step Three, the task is straightforward: put everything back in your fridge. Ensure items are arranged in your designated zones as you desire. Avoid overthinking or obsessing about it—keep it simple. Once you’re done, take a picture and share it on Instagram, tagging me. I’d love to celebrate this achievement with you.

Resources To Get You Started

Now, instead of spending the next 15-20 minutes listening to more episodes, take the opportunity to clean out your fridge. Organize it, snap a photo, and share it with me. I’m genuinely excited for you, and I can’t wait to join in the celebration of your freshly organized fridge.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of implementing such impactful systems in your own life, I invite you to look into the other episodes I have on decluttering like Your Fast Action Plan To Declutter Your Home And Never Go Back and Decluttering Made Simple: Your Guide to the 5 Minute Method. Until our next encounter, wishing you success in systemizing your life for a more organized, intentional, and fulfilling journey ahead.


Frequently Asked Questions

If I am finding that I want to go deeper with decluttering, what are the next steps I can take?

The next step will be to really start digging into creating systems. If you’re not sure what area of your life you need to start implementing systems in first, take our quiz to get you started!

Effortless-Fridge- Organization-A-Guide-to-a-Tidy-and-Efficient-Refrigerator-chelsijo

Take our 60 second quiz to get a FREE custom system delivered to your inbox that tells you exactly where to start systemizing. Knowing where to focus is hard when there's so much to do. Answer a few questions and get your personal get started plan sent to your inbox. 

Start  Here

Get the support you need to implement your new system by joining our completely FREE facebook group. It's full of resources and support that you'll need to make your systems stick! Can't wait to see you inside. 

Join Now

I'll officially become the bestie in your back pocket with over 350 podcast episodes on a top 10 ranked show ready for you to binge. The deep dive conversations you need to hear to go from overwhelmed to organized are waiting. 

Listen Now



Take The Quiz

Join The Group

Listen To The Podcast

Your Path To A 

Systemized Life



Get Started Quiz

Natural Home Care

welcome Friend

Systemize Your Life

Systemize Your Biz

Systemize To Scale


Hey girl!