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How to Organize Your Fridge to Prevent Food Waste

Professional organizer organizing a fridge.

When it comes to getting and staying organized, what part of your house is the biggest challenge? If you said “OMG, my fridge!” you are not alone, friend. So many of us want to know how to organize our fridge to prevent food waste and keep things fresher, longer. 

Fridges are challenging. Items are being placed in and then taken out again by everyone in your household pretty much all the time, especially if you have kids in the home. And with all of this activity, it’s inevitable that some items get hidden, ignored, and wasted.

I know that you know what I’m talking about. That sad half of an onion in your produce bin. The bunch of cilantro that you had every intention of using up in some cilantro-lime rice, but it’s now wilted and gooey, hidden in some corner. I’ve been there, too. At least, until the year I finally got organized

Wasted food and wasted money is SUCH a bummer. Did you know that the average US family wastes almost one-third of the food they buy? And the problem with food waste is that it costs us so much money (about $1,800 per year), and has wider environmental impacts.

Graphic with a photo of an organized fridge and the title, 'How to Organize a Fridge to Prevent Food Waste.'

So, how can we organize our fridges to prevent food waste? I’ve got three tips to share that helped to dramatically reduce my family’s food waste and keep us organized.

1. Use fridge organization containers that keep things fresh

I know this sounds like an obvious tip, but you’ll naturally waste less food if that food stays fresh longer.

Fruits and veggies always seem to be the worst culprits for food waste! So, a great start is to buy the best-looking produce you can find in the supermarket — raspberries without mold on them, apples without bruises, and so on. Educate yourself on how to select the best produce.

Then, to keep that yummy produce fresh, I recommend trying these OXO greensaver produce keepers. I don’t know how they do it, but they are way more effective than regular Tupperware at keeping produce fresh. The design is all-natural and flawless; it literally captures the gases that lead to food spoilage.

2. Organize your fridge so you can see everything at once

What if you could see everything in your fridge as soon as you opened the doors? Trust me, it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. You can do it!

It’s way too easy to forget about the food we cannot see.  “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true here, friend. That’s why a major solution to organizing your fridge to prevent food waste is clear, labeled bins. They’re not just for leftovers, either. You should be using clear storage containers to organize food that needs to be cooked, pre-packed lunches, and more.

Photo of a neatly organized fridge.

Some of my favorite fridge organization containers are the iDesign Linus Fridge Bins Wine Holder, Plastic Carafes, and the iDesign Linus Fridge Bins Egg Holder. Not only does their clever design allow you to see your food at first glance, but they’re also total space-spacers.

As a bonus benefit, the egg holder has a flat, sturdy top so you can stack additional containers or items on top of it without worrying about damaging your eggs.

3. Create zones in your fridge

Yep, I have zones in my fridge. It sounds intense, but it’s actually a super easy tip to implement and maintain if you want to keep your fridge organized. 

I recommend coming up with zones that best serve your family and your routines. As a guide, here are the zones I use to organize my family’s fridge:

  • Items to be cooked: These are front and center so I am reminded that we do, in fact, have food that needs to be cooked. Plus I prevent food waste because I know exactly what needs to be prepared (long before it needs to be thrown out).
  • Lunch: We prepare 2-3 days worth of school lunches at a time, so they need a place in the fridge that is out of the way but easy for my kids to identify.
  • Dinner: Dinner is often the most stressful meal of the day. Knowing where to go for leftovers, or for a quick grab-and-heat option, makes it so much easier! Plus we also prevent food waste by using up those leftovers instead of forgetting about them and, ultimately, throwing them out.
  • Veggies: I cut up fresh veggies during my weekend reset so we can easily grab them for snacks, lunches, or as a side with dinner.

Of course, if you’re going to create these zones you also have to find an easy way to maintain them. My secret trick? More clear bins and labels! These Refrigerator Organization Bins are great for extra storage, so you can keep items you buy regularly in the same place each time you unpack your grocery bags.

An organized fridge = less food waste = a happier wallet + planet

I know refrigerator organization is not the sexiest of all topics, but it can save you so much time and money if you implement these simple steps! I hope you feel inspired to step up your food-freshness game, and finally figure out how to organize your fridge to prevent food waste going forward. Happy organizing, friend.

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