Having a clean and tidy fridge can save you some big money on your grocery bill. After all, if you know what you have stored in there, you won’t be buying doubles or letting it go to waste!

Here are some tips on how to clean your fridge and keep it organized:

What You will Need to clean with:

  • A cloth or a sponge
  • A sink full of soapy water
  • A dish towel
  • Glass cleaner (optional)
  • Counter space or table space for organizing food
  • A garbage can

How to Clean your Fridge:

Here are some great tips on how to clean your fridge AND keep it organized!

Take everything out of the fridge

First of all, you’ll want to take everything out of the fridge and throw out any expired or rotten food.  I found this guide for how long to keep food in the refrigerator on Good Housekeeping that you may find useful!  (Also, I have to take things out one shelf at a time because we don’t have much counter space.)

Deep clean everything

Take out the shelves and drawers and give them a good wash in your sink with soapy water. Dry them well. Before you put the shelves and drawers back, be sure to wipe down every surface inside the fridge. Don’t forget to do the shelves in the door, the outside and the top of the fridge! We have a smaller fridge with no coils, but if you have a fridge with coils, be sure to vacuum them!

Wipe down any sticky jars/containers

Before you put your food back, wipe down any sticky jars or containers.  Don’t forget to clean inside the lids of ketchup bottles and the like!

Now that you’re ready to put everything back, here are some tips to help you organize your fridge and keep it that way:

Make zones

Arrange everything by zones. Meaning, all meats should go on a bottom shelf so that they don’t spoil other foods if they leak. If you find yourself always reaching for the eggs and butter every morning, for example, be sure to place them together for your convenience.  Salad dressings are always together in the top door shelf in our fridge. Likewise, I like to keep all bottled goods together in the door. Cheeses are also together in the cheese compartment in the door.

Use baskets

You may find that using baskets will help to keep you organized. Especially if you find you’re always shuffling small items around on the shelves to get the one item you need in the back.  I recommend picking up some baskets from the dollar store if you think the basket system would work for you. No need for them to be expensive!

Use clear containers

This is one of my favourite tips that my Mom has thought me. Use clear containers to store any leftovers so you know exactly what you have on hand. If you can actually see what’s inside a particular container, you’re more likely to use it up!

Sort by date

When you get home from the grocery store, make sure to put items in according to the date if you have doubles.  For example, say you brought home a second container of sour cream knowing that you’ll need it in a few days time.  Make sure you put the new container behind the old/already opened container to ensure the old container won’t go bad before it’s used up.

Not everything belongs

Not all grocery items belong in the fridge.  While a freezer is more efficient if it’s jam packed, a fridge will keep things longer if there’s space between the items.  Here are some items that you may be keeping in the fridge but don’t necessarily belong there:

  • Potatoes (these should never be kept in the fridge, but in a cool dry place)
  • Tomatoes (their flavour is enhanced by sitting in a sunny window)
  • Onions
  • Apples (give off gases that will make other things ripen quickly)
  • Eggs (if you use them quickly and buy them fresh, they can be left on the counter)
  • Butter (store it in a butter keeper to keep it soft)
  • Herbs (can be placed in a jar or vase, just like flowers!)

Did you learn anything new?  Do you have any tips or systems that work well for you that you could share in the comments?