Some of the most valuable space in your home resides in your refrigerator. That’s where you squeeze as many items as possible into a tight area so that you can take advantage of weekly deals and wonderful produce.

If you’re sick of losing track of the contents of your fridge and wasting too much food, there’s no reason to keep up the bad cycle. All you need to do is a bit of improvisation and a little sorting and organizing. Then you’ll have your fridge ship shape and ready to help you create amazing meals.


Put It in the Basket

Have you ever noticed how much stuff you can shove into your luggage when you’re packing? It’s such a small space yet you can fill it well beyond its capacity if you plan well. The same is true of your refrigerator, only you’ve probably usually tried filling it with less than perfect tools.


Buy a bunch of storage baskets and then label them. You’ll want titles such as condiments, meats, fruits, and bottles. Then, fill each basket as the sign would indicate. You immediately create a ton of storage space at a minimal cost. You’ll also more easily view each item, and have easier access to the contents by using the basket as a drawer on your shelves, giving you the added benefit of less wasted food. Plus, it’s the best use of space possible, whether you have a standard or side-by-side Samsung, GE, or LG refrigerator.


Throw Out Your Refrigerator Magnets

Cross-contamination occurs when you accidentally transfer germs and bacteria from a tainted item to a clean one. Refrigerators are a breeding ground for this, but you can ward off this disgusting eventuality through simple planning. Look at the door of your refrigerator, the one that currently has outdated holiday cards and children’s drawings with check-plus marks. Move those somewhere else in kitchen and cut back on the number of germs you’re growing.  At the same time, you’re decluttering your fridge and making it look sexier from the outside!

Still need your lists? Then grab your dry erase markers! Use the front or side of your refrigerator, to write out a list using your dry-erase markers. Keep notes from your next shopping trip or the contents of your fridge or freezer written down.

In your freezer, keep a running tally of the contents. Note the foods you have in the freezer and an expiration date. Sort your list from time to time by expiration date. This helps you in two critical ways: 1) You know when your food is about to go bad, so you can prioritize these items for your meals. 2) Equally important, you know when to throw out the ones that you didn’t eat since they increase the danger of cross-contamination.


Employ Color Coding

Keep the organization going in your fridge, and use color coding if you need to so you know what is soon going to expire. You can train yourself to look for a certain color code inside and want to pick the shade that stands out the most to you. Do this once a week and code all the foods in danger of expiring. If you’re a meal planner, make sure you pick weekly recipes that use these ingredients or take your leftovers in for lunch.  Over time, you’ll learn to look for that color first when you’re picking something from the fridge, reducing the amount of ingredients you waste.


Add a Lazy Susan

If baskets don’t solve all of your problems in the fridge, give a Lazy Susan a try. There are many items you keep in your fridge that you need to access daily so add them onto a Lazy Susan and you’ll be able to quickly grab them whenever you need.

If you’re not sure what a Lazy Susan is, these devices are rotating turntables that you can place in your refrigerator. Simply spin the Lazy Susan to put the item you want within hand’s reach almost instantly. It’s the perfect storage solution for foods such as cheese, luncheon meat, and your favorite condiments.


Organizing your refrigerator takes only a little time and increases your productivity immensely. It also reduces your amount of wasted food. Follow the tips above, and you’ll feel like you have an entirely new refrigerator.


Image via Flickr from amigeress