Giving your Refrigerator a Makeover

Updated: Aug 17

Sheltering in place has led to many households cooking at home and stocking up on essentials. So, what better time than now to go over the basics of refrigerator organization?

I want to start by giving the disclaimer that your refrigerator is NOT going to look like the Kardashians at the end of this, no matter how much you organize. The only way to get a refrigerator looking perfect is to tailor the ingredients you keep in the space and get rid of items that do not fit the aesthetic. We do not suggest this. What we do suggest is being okay with your refrigerator looking imperfect. It’s a constantly evolving and changing environment and it’s okay to find balance with imperfection and efficiency.

By the end of this short guide, you should be able to organize your refrigerator like a pro.

Before you get started with the below steps, make sure you are ready to commit to completing this project. This process usually takes about an

hour of time and it ideally should be done in one go. Remember that it's hard to stop halfway through when your items need to be temperature controlled.

Step 1:

Get rid of any items that are old, inedible, disliked, or expired. We talk about editing and decluttering a lot at SortJoy and we truly believe it’s the most important step to the organization process so be ruthless when getting rid of what you don’t want or need.

Step 2:

Take everything out of the space! Usually, this comes before editing so that you can see everything first but with a refrigerator, where the items need to stay temperature controlled, we suggest editing out any perishables you are disposing of before removing everything else from the space.

Step 3:

Move the refrigerator shelves around! I know, this is a radical thought but I promise it will help. I can’t tell you how often the clients that we work with don’t realize that they can adjust the shelves in their refrigerators. Think about the items you store and adjust the levels to best accommodate the sizes of your items. 95% of the time, the way the refrigerator was set up originally is not the best use of the space for you.

If moving the shelves around is not enough to efficiently use the space in your refrigerator, you can get stackable refrigerator bins that can help.

Step 4:

Clean off the shelves and wipe the unoccupied space down. It’s going to feel so good to have this space clean and organized so stay with us for the following final steps!

Step 5:

Remove packaging, decant, and transfer any items to pitchers, tupperware, or reusable bags (we love these!) that can be more efficiently stored. You do not need to do this step if you are in a hurry or if you just don't want to. However, this is a practical step for saving room if your fridge is full and it is also a way to level up the aesthetics of your refrigerator if you choose to decant and transfer items into matching pitchers and glass storage containers.

Step 6:

Sort the items like-with-like and into categories that you want to keep together within the space.

Step 7:

Place the items back into the space. Note the following tips for where items should be stored:

  1. Use the vertical space on the shelves.

  2. Everything should have its own place.

  3. The drawers are the most humid places in the fridge and help keep produce fresh the longest.

  4. The center of the refrigerator has the most accurate temperature control so store any items here that need it. Leftovers, meat, and dairy products all fit this bill.

  5. The doors are a great place to store tall items such as drinks as well as condiments. These areas in the fridge are typically the warmest so try not to store items here that need a well-regulated temperature.

Step 8:

Label your zones within the refrigerator. We love to use dry erase crayons for labeling within the refrigerator or there is a myriad of options for refrigerator labels like these.

Step 9:

Adjust the layout over the next week to ensure that the system you implemented is working for you and whoever else uses your refrigerator. Don’t be afraid to adjust the placement of your items as it’s hard for anyone to get it exactly right the first time.

You will know that it’s working for you when you no longer need to make adjustments or reorganize. Your items should be easy to find, easy to access, and easy to put back in their places.

Step 10:

Double-check the temperature in your unit. The FDA recommends keeping the temperature at 40° F or less in your refrigerator and 0° F in your freezer.


It's worth mentioning that the process works exactly the same with your freezer but take extra time to go through the editing step since freezers usually collect expired items without you realizing it.

Contact Us:

If you have specific questions, comments, or would like specialized help with your organization challenge we would love to hear from you! You can reach us via email at or by phone at 415-592-5786.


© 2020 by SortJoy. 

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