I Tried These Popular Fridge Organizing Tips, and Now I’m a Believer

published May 13, 2023
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You don’t have to love everything about your home. Whether you’re renting or buying, you can decide to fix the things you aren’t happy with when you move in, or live with them until you’re ready to upgrade down the line. The one thing I couldn’t stand when my husband and I recently bought our first place was the fridge, but “fixing it” right away wasn’t a possibility. 

I knew we were lucky to have so many of the major appliances already in the home, so an ugly, old fridge wasn’t a dealbreaker. We could always replace it later, I thought. Soon enough, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fridge. Not only did it not match our aesthetic, but it also was not as functional as we needed it to be. The freezer door would regularly fall off (I’m not kidding), and it stood out in stark contrast to our other kitchen appliances, a white box in a sea of modern stainless steel. The interior design of the freezer made it impossible to store goods in it — placing a frozen pizza horizontally was impossible — and I’d have to move every single item around just to get things out of the fridge.

I’ve made do, but ever since moving in I’ve been dreaming about replacing it altogether. Unfortunately, it just hadn’t been an urgent enough priority on the list of all the other things that needed to be taken care of. However, after a recent spring cleaning (as part of the Spring Cleaning Cure!), I realized just how disorganized our fridge was and how much we could benefit from a refrigerator that better met our storage needs. So when LG offered me the opportunity to test drive one of its most popular counter-depth max refrigerators to see if it could help with my fridge and freezer woes, I immediately jumped at the chance. 

I went with the LG 25.5 cu. ft. Smart InstaView Counter-Depth Max French Door Refrigerator for three key reasons: design, function, and features. It also offers standard depth capacity in a counter-depth design to fit nicely and in line with cabinets and counters and boasts the largest counter-depth refrigerator on the market. I’ve always wanted a fridge with French doors and the ability to knock twice to see inside without ever having to open it. This model stands flush with the rest of my countertop and now matches the other stainless steel appliances in my kitchen, making it less of an eyesore than the old fridge. Now, the kitchen feels designed with intention. The dual ice makers — something I’ve never had before — are a delightful feature to have, too. A normal counter-depth fridge typically offers less capacity than a standard-depth fridge due to its design, but this one doesn’t. It’s designed so that you don’t have to sacrifice on style or space. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by it so far, and it’s quite an upgrade from the lackluster fridge I had.

While a new refrigerator is an incredible buy for those who can invest in it, it’s by no means the only way to step up your kitchen organization. There are ample ways to get your current refrigerator to be as functional as possible to meet your needs. Here are some of the organizing methods and tools I use to set myself up for success.

Move the shelves. 

You don’t have to stick with how the shelves were originally arranged in your fridge and freezer. Instead, you should make it work for you and rearrange them to your liking. Plus, it won’t cost you anything to do so. No matter my fridge size, space, or style, I always arrange the shelves first (while they’re empty) to make the best use of all the available space.

Get things sorted. 

Once you play around with the shelves, you should test that the arrangement works by figuring out the best way to put things inside. The way you set up your fridge relies on your answers to a few different questions: Is this how I want items to be stored, and is this the most functional way for those items to be stored (think: produce, dairy products, etc.)? I marry the answers to these two questions together while also weighing it against what I reach for most. For me, it means keeping my cold brew coffee and creamer close to the front, as they’re the first things I reach for every single morning. 

Experts recommend that most dairy products and eggs should be stored at the top and back of the fridge, where it’s the coolest, but that also depends on the fridge you have. My new fridge has linear and door cooling, so it senses fluctuations in temperature and can adjust while also blasting cool air to reach all areas of the refrigerator. That said, I still try to store eggs and some dairy products up top instead of at the door. I just keep the creamer and coffee together on the third shelf closest to me so I can easily reach for them. You can test to find where the coldest part of your fridge is and store things accordingly, or you can do what’s most functional for your household’s needs. 

I also like to keep leftovers and any meat I’m defrosting visible so that I remember to eat or use it ASAP. I have my shelves sorted so that these items are visible even when doing my “knock-knock” trick. This feature on my LG makes it so easy to quickly glance inside to see if things have defrosted in time without having to open the door, but you can do this no matter your fridge type or style by picking a designated space to keep these items. 

Buy strategically. 

There are an abundance of organizing products for the fridge that you can find in stores and online, but before you hit the “add to cart” button, make sure you measure and plan for what you want and need. I also look at what items I already have that I can repurpose. I’ve been testing this 8-Piece OXO Refrigerator Set, which features a variety of bins, trays, and mats, including an egg bin and a non-slip mat for beverages so that they won’t roll around in your fridge, and I really like it so far. The bins have handles that make it easy to pull in and out and the trays are great for storing butter, miscellaneous condiment packets, and other small items. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to use all eight items, dedicating each to a specific task and part of the fridge.

I’ve also been using an extra lazy Susan in my fridge to make it easier to find and pull out all my coffee necessities. For the freezer, I measured and realized I can seamlessly fit two of these deep fridge and freezer bins from Target on the right side, which have been great for gathering and organizing items, like frozen vegetables, meats, and meals, instead of them lying around haphazardly. I repurposed some other bins I already had in my home that fit on the top shelf of the freezer. I also like to reuse Ziploc bags and invested in some Stasher bags to store a mix of things, such as garlic and frozen vegetables, for easy use.

Use the freezer. 

Something I’ve learned that’s been extremely helpful is knowing that your freezer is your friend. The refrigerator I previously had wouldn’t allow for better use of this space, but now I have so much more room to play with. Regardless of what your freezer looks like, know that you can freeze many more items than you think. From leftovers to vegetables to bread, take advantage of any opportunity to store things in your freezer that you might’ve previously let go to waste. I’m a big fan of buying garlic and ginger in bulk, breaking them down, and freezing them to use for months on end. 

It’s been over a month since upgrading to a new refrigerator and making organizational improvements, and I’m so glad I did. Not only do I have a truly organized system that now works for me, but I also have a great feature in the heart of my home.