How To Organize Your Refrigerator For A Zero-Waste Kitchen

How To Organize Your Refrigerator For A Zero-Waste Kitchen


How often have you returned home from your local supermarket with a bag of your favorite frozen foods, only to discover that the refrigerator has been completely stuffed? There’s no need for an answer because we understand; it’s happened to all of us. 

A well-organized refrigerator can be helpful in avoiding several catastrophic food scenarios. Being able to quickly see all of your food encourages you to use up leftovers as well as prevent buying duplicates. When you make use of labels, well-adjusted shelves, and tactical organization ideas, you won’t have to aimlessly glance into your refrigerator wondering what’s for dinner.

That is why, for this blog entry, we here at DaDongNY will go through the entire refrigerator organization shebang and explore everything there is to know about it. In addition, we will give ideas and suggestions that could benefit you in the coming years. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

Warning: major refrigerator goals ahead!

Each Year, Grocery Food Is Wasted 

Sure, you refrigerate your store-bought meat, vegetables, and snacks, but you seldom toss out uneaten leftover meals that have been sitting in the back of your refrigerator for a couple of days, wasted. Even if you believe you are not wasting much food, think again and consider the numbers below.  

How Much Food Is Thrown Away Each Year?

According to Recycle Track Systems, Americans throw away around 40 million tons of food each year, the most of any country in the world. This amounts to around 219 pounds of food waste for each person, with an annual cost of $8,289 for the average-sized American household. Think about how much you could accomplish with an extra $8,289 yearly. 

The Three Most Common Causes Of Food Waste

  1. Buying Way Too Much

Buying too much food is one of the biggest and most typical reasons for food waste. While shopping in bulk may save you a few cents at the checkout, food that ends up in a garbage can costs you money in food waste. 

Even while buying in bulk might be a better price, the average customer will save money by purchasing the quantity they only need. These are examples of fresh vegetables, fruits, and other raw foods that cannot be frozen or reheated well.

The same applies when purchasing frozen food or additional food to store in the freezer until needed. While your freezer compartment is an excellent place to keep excess food, it cannot be used permanently. The longer the food sits in the freezer, the less likely you will consume it and the more probable that it will suffer from freezer burn when you do. 

  1. Inadequate Refrigerator Organization

The absence of refrigerator organization could additionally contribute to the over-purchasing of food. If your shelves are disorganized or food is often misplaced, you will likely need to purchase a new item. 

Misplaced food items, particularly vegetables, can soften, becoming mushy before you can utilize them. If you leave it too long, you can end up with a scientific experiment sprouting in the back of your refrigerator. 

  1. Inadequate Storage

Have you been searching for an egg only to discover that it was fully frozen? Improper storage, particularly in the refrigerator, is a major source of food waste. Making sure that meals are stored at the proper temperature will help you avoid tossing out damaged food. 

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How To Organize A Refrigerator

There may be a method for arranging items in your refrigerator from top to bottom that maximizes space and puts foods together based on use and convenience. This will keep the right temperature of the food, avoids cross-contamination, and eliminates wasteful food waste.

Here are some plans for organizing all of the foods in your refrigerator, from the top shelf to the drawers:

  • Top Shelf

Because the top shelf isn’t one of the coldest sections of a refrigerator, it is best for storing cooked meals like leftover foods as well as ready-to-eat meals. It’s also a good spot to keep things with a longer lifespan as well as refreshments like soda or water.

  • Middle Shelf

If there isn’t enough room on the top shelf for pre-cooked items or leftovers, the middle shelf is ideal for storing uncooked foods. This is because the middle shelf is at eye level, which is ideal for storing snacks and grab-and-go meals that could not be easier to reach on a lower shelf. Fresh herbs, for example, stay fresher when stored with chopped ends submerged in water. Thus, a wider middle shelf would be excellent storage space. 

  • Lower Shelf

The lower shelves are among the coolest areas of the refrigerator. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products should not be stored within the refrigerator door. Temperature changes caused by opening and closing the refrigerator door may affect the dairy products.

Eggs and milk, in particular, should be kept in a temperature-controlled refrigerator compartment. On the other hand, dairy products should be kept in refrigerated storage containers that are easily accessible. Keep milk toward the back of the shelf at the proper temperature. 

  • Crispers

One of the biggest contributors to food waste is poor storage in the refrigerator crisper or pull-out drawers. It is a general rule to store fruits and vegetables separately, but there are a few more precautions you may take to avoid unintended rotting.

The humidity level in most crisper drawers may be adjusted. Fruits thrive in low humidity, but vegetables, particularly leafy greens, thrive in high humidity. As a result, fresh vegetables are frequently missed in grocery shops, while fruits are commonly stored separately at ambient temperature.

  • Drawers

The drawers should only be used for meat and fish. This is one of the coldest parts of the refrigerator. On the other hand, uncooked meat should be stored below all other components to avoid cross-contamination. 

While not always practicable, raw meat, seafood, and poultry should not be placed on top of cooked food. Keep meat in sealed plastic bags or refrigerator storage containers to avoid spilling or leaking to avoid further contamination. 

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  • Refrigerator Door

Because the door is one of the warmest areas inside your refrigerator, it’s ideal for storing less-perishable products like spices, condiments, or manufactured food items. This is also an excellent location for additional beverages, soda cans, or wine bottles.

Reasons Why Refrigerator Organization So Important To Take Into Account

Let’s be honest: organizing a refrigerator is time-consuming, so we often forget about it and carelessly store the foods and drinks we bought inside, especially if we don’t have time to clear everything after an eventful day. After all, “it couldn’t hurt, would it?” We hate to break it to you, but IT CAN

Here are some of the reasons why refrigerator organization is so important:

  • Whether of good quality or not, food is not cheap to purchase. Proper storage planning will guarantee that everything you buy stays in good shape and does not go to waste.
  • You can dodge potentially catastrophic food-related bacteria by observing proper organization on your refrigerator. Failing to keep your food secure is one of the reasons your household could be exposed to diseases.
  • Using your space wisely improves the quality of your food.
  • A well-organized residential kitchen ensures seamless operation. When you aren’t wasting time hunting for a specific food item in a disorganized refrigerator, you can prepare dinner much more quickly.
  • Disorganization in your freezer and refrigerator compartment causes these machines to operate more intensely, which means you’ll need to contact them for repairs more frequently if your food isn’t cooling properly.

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  • When shelves are arranged, there is significantly less need for cleaning. Everything will have a safe space, and items will not be thrown in, regardless of where they fit.
  • When shelves are ordered, cleaning becomes easier.
  • Restocking has never been a breeze, especially when everything has its place inside the refrigerator. Also, you have no trouble finding the required products and will not have to spend time looking for them.

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Eleven Brilliant Ideas To Organize Your Refrigerator

  1. Examine Everything You Have Got

Like any organizing job, the first step in decluttering is to catalog everything you have. Start by unloading your refrigerator and placing everything on a flat area like your counter. You can start this procedure shelf by shelf to avoid ruining perishables, or you can utilize a portable cooler to deal with the entire refrigerator all at once. 

Toss anything that has gone rotten, expired, or you know you will not consume. Avoid leftovers that are longer than three days old and cooked veggies that are a minimum of five days old. Following that, thoroughly scrub the interior. 

Fruits and vegetables should be stored in bottom drawers that provide humidity regulation. Unfortunately, ethylene-producing fruits may cause vegetables to fall apart quickly, so dedicate one drawer to fruits because they’re subject to low humidity levels and the other to vegetables because they’re subject to high humidity levels.

That leaves us with raw meats, preferably stored in their drawer. If your refrigerator has only two drawers, one alternative is to keep the meat in an air-tight container. A container not only makes it easier to take, but it also prevents meat fluids from spilling onto other products. Place this container on a lower shelf.

  1. Add Zones

Arrange similar items alongside, then place them in separate sections within your refrigerator. The most sensible approach is to pay attention to what places are ideal for food. You may notice that some portions of the refrigerator seem warmer or colder than others. 

Because of all the opening and closing, the refrigerator doors, where nearly all of us store milk, are the warmest part of the fridge. Milk and raw meats must be kept at the back of the bottom shelf, which is the coldest portion of the refrigerator. Refrigerator doors are ideal for longer lifespans, such as juice and condiments. It’s worth noting that the top shelf and doors are the hottest, while the middle and bottom racks are the coldest..

  1. Keep Tall Items In The Back

There are quite a few ways of making it easier to find things. To begin, store all tall, visible items in the back of your refrigerator, such as an entire gallon of orange juice or a Coke bottle. Smaller bottles should be placed upfront so they don’t get misplaced. Gather regularly used things, including butter and yogurt, in front of you so you won’t have to look for them.

  1. Add A Snack Station 

Store their favorite treats at eye level so youngsters may easily assist themselves. Designating some containers for these delights is an even easier approach. A divider-lined container is ideal for storing little, easily hidden things such as cheese sticks as well as yogurt packets. And having their own space is going to make snack time feel more special.

  1. Start Stacking Your Chopsticks

We all wish we could have a 30-inch refrigerator, but you have to be creative since you’re limited on room. After a party, you tend to find yourself with dishes of leftovers along with little shelf space. 

When this occurs, move vertically. Grab chopsticks, position them about an inch apart on top of a covered dish, then place the next bowl above. Everyone that opens your refrigerator will think you’re a genius.

  1. Make A Can Pyramid

It can quickly consume precious shelf space. If your family drinks LaCroix, make use of the vertical space by storing cans or bottles. A binder clip is an ingenious method to keep your liquids in place. 

Start by arranging cans vertically on the shelf to form a foundation. After that, attach the binder clip to the bottom shelf. Place the clip close to the outermost can to keep the can from rolling away. Pile cans on top of one other to form a pyramid-like facade.

  1. Utilize A Sponge Holder With Small Produce

Tiny food items like half-used lemons can easily be overlooked when stored in drawers alongside lush greens or heavy vegetables. Placing these products in their storage bin is an easy approach to keep them from being forgotten. 

Sticking a sponge holder against the sidewall of your refrigerator for these little goods is a brilliant solution. This location is also ideal for storing and utilizing tiny condiment packets. It will feel great not to squander anything.

  1. Refrigerator Drawers Must Be Lined

How challenging can it be to remove refrigerator drawers or shelves in order to clean them? So much so that we rarely do it. However, we all know that spills rapidly accumulate in refrigerators. Clean-up with kitchen towels or plastic mats with a detachable shelf liner will be a breeze.

  1. Always Have A Dry Eraser Pen On Hand

If you enjoy leftover foods or prefer to remove items like eggs, put expiry dates on storage containers using a dry eraser pen or Sharpie. The same applies to cheese, a jar of sliced fruits, and so on. This way, you’ll know what must be eaten first or discarded immediately.

  1. Include Label In Everything

Suppose you marvel over those pristine, color-coordinated pictures of refrigerator interiors and pantries on your news feed. In that case, you’ll notice one common theme, other than that they don’t do takeout: all things are labeled. Naming drawers and bins will make it much easier to discover and store goods. And when things seem great, it pushes you to maintain them that way.


As we conclude, we hope that this article has assisted you in maximizing the storage capacity of your refrigerator, offering a delightful and stress-free culinary experience since you’ll know where everything is, and assisting you in making the best possible use of this often electricity-powered equipment.

After all, you’re paying your electricity bill, so why not make the best possible use?

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To learn more about refrigerators and how this valuable piece of equipment chills the food and beverages inside, including your breast milk, check out the post here.

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