The modern electric fridge has long been the busiest, most popular appliance in the great American kitchen. Today’s generation of full-size refrigerators – from Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, LG, Samsung, and other leading brands – are much roomier than those installed in prior decades, but storage space will always be at a premium, especially for busy families with many mouths to feed.

And while a cluttered, badly organized fridge raises your risk of spoiled or contaminated food, a well-organized one will keep your groceries fresh longer, operate more efficiently, and present a more appetizing, savory, sanitary environment each and every time you open it up.

Here are the best ways we to organize your fridge.

  1. Know what NOT to keep in the fridge. If your refrigerator is suffering from internal gridlock, first make sure you’re not parking items there that don’t belong in the fridge at all. Removing these items will free up valuable real estate you can put to more productive use. has a useful canonical list of 52 foods that should never be placed in refrigerators to guide your decisions. While some prohibited items are obvious (potatoes, bananas, bread, pumpkins), some are not (pickles, cucumbers, carrots, ketchup). A cool, dry storage area such as your pantry is a much better storage site for these displaced items.
  2. Cooler is lower. Heat rises, which means that the lowest areas within your fridge will be the coolest, making them much better places for storing meat, seafood, and other items requiring very cool temperatures to stay fresh. Placing meats at the bottom of your fridge also minimizes the risk of meat drippings that might inadvertently contaminate items placed beneath them on a lower shelf. The upper shelves of your fridge are best reserved for items you need to keep moderately cool but readily accessible, such as milk, leftovers, take-out, and eggs.
  3. Fridge doors aren’t the place for your food to chill out in. The door(s) of your refrigerator are convenient places for stashing condiments and sundries, but poor places to keep food reliably cold, because the doors warm up each time you open up your fridge. The exception is butter and cheese, which will do all right as long as it’s sealed in its own dedicated bin (a standard feature of most contemporary fridges). If you must use the door to keep food reliably cold, use the door’s lowest shelves, which will be the coolest.
  4. Load shelves from BACK to FRONT. After grocery shopping, many people stash food into the front of the fridge’s shelves and move older items to the back, where they’re blocked from view. Loading your fridge this way is a prescription for waste, mildew and spoiled food. Yes, it takes a bit more planning, but try to load your newly bought items to the back of the shelves, moving items that are nearer to their expiration date to the front of each shelf. This way, they’ll be consumed first. Stick a “Load Back to Front!” note on your fridge to remind yourself to use this logical and efficient storage tactic.
  5. Containerize! Today’s generation of refrigerators do their best to accommodate your food organizational needs with dedicated bins, but you can still likely benefit from some additional, highly affordable, inside-the-fridge containerization to handle the kinds of food you most enjoy. Fridge bins can keep similar items (e.g. yogurt containers, jams, etc.) organized within your refrigerator. Crisper food storage bins can do the same for your fridge’s crisper bin. Even empty six-pack and egg containers can have new life as storage units in your fridge.

Got questions about the best kitchen appliances to choose for your kitchen remodel? Give NDA Kitchens a call – we love to talk about fridges, ranges, stoves, freezers, and other appliance choices. Plus, our design consultations are always free.