Look at any aesthetic kitchen pictures or videos online, and the fridge is always spotlessly organized with no half-opened packaging and loose produce in sight.
While organizing a refrigerator may not seem like that exciting a task, establishing a functional and pretty system will help to encourage you to cook and will stop food from going bad hidden in the back corner.
These are the seven stocking tips professional organizers use to make a fridge look better without sacrificing practicality.
How to make a fridge look better
Before restocking, declutter the fridge first and ensure that there is nothing expired hiding towards the back. With the fridge empty, take the time to clean the fridge (and make a note of how often to clean a fridge) and measure the shelves to pick out containers. Avoid shopping for storage before you know how much space you are working with, or your cold storage will look messier and less organized than it did before.
1. Use containers to cut back on packaging
While there is usually not much wrong with the packaging that comes with your food from the grocery store, it is not always the prettiest or the most conducive to having a uniform fridge. Robyn Reynolds, owner and CEO of Organize2Harmonize suggests using uniform glass containers to decant food goods and keep them contained while also giving you the option to stack storage and fit more in:
'When using containers, try to avoid storing different categories together. For instance, don't put snacks in the same container with drinks.
‘To keep the fridge cleaner, you can always use liners for the drawers and containers, especially where you store fruits and vegetables.'
These highly-rated containers from Rubbermaid are an extremely functional pick with airtight seals.
This large glass jar has an airtight wooden lid, making it a stylish storage alrerniture for food goods.
2. Divide the fridge into zones
Unlike organizing a pantry, breaking your fridge up into zones is a must to maintain good food hygiene. Raw meat and dairy should always be stored away from snacks and produce, for instance. Luckily, creating strict categories also has the added benefit of making your fridge look more uniform.
‘Have all the condiments on the door with the salad dressings together, the sauces together,' suggests Robyn Reynolds. 'Keep the bottled drinks all together, as well the lunch-sized drinks together'.
Robyn Reynolds is a Professional Organizer and member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). She is the author of A to Zen 26 Tips to Inspire Organization and has provided her professional insights to a variety of national publications.
3. Stick to products you know you love
'When planning an aesthetic-looking fridge, it pays to take note of the products you buy over and over again so that you can work them into your organizing scheme,' says Darla DeMorrow, certified professional organizer and owner of HeartWork Organizing:
‘Repeating a shape over and over in the fridge makes it feel organized in the same way store shelves feel organized. For instance, we buy lunch meat that comes packaged in medium plastic containers with red lids. We save those containers, remove the labels, run them through the dishwasher, and re-use them for packaging leftovers and lunches.
‘Some spaghetti jars have the shape and even the measurement markings of Mason jars. An added benefit of reusing packaging that comes with your food is that everything stacks beautifully in the fridge since the containers are all the same size.’
Darla DeMorrow is a certified professional organizer, productivity expert, home stager, and author. Her company, HeartWork Organizing, based in Wayne, PA, offers seminars and training as well as hands-on work with residential and business clients.
4. Stock in order of expiry
'Just because you want to make your fridge look better, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice practicality,' reminds Amy Trager, professional organizer. To keep your fridge easy to use and encourage you to cook, she recommends stocking the fridge from back to front, keeping things that will expire sooner at the front, and putting newer items at the back.
This not only prevents food waste but also prevents you from having to rummage through and disturb your neatly organized produce.
5. Pick pretty labels
Labels are a must when organizing a kitchen to help mark expiry dates and product information – especially when decanting.
'While you can use some basic kitchen tape, it pays to have a pretty label maker to improve the aesthetics of your fridge,' says Robyn Reynolds, professional organizer.
6. Group bottles by size
'Besides stocking your fridge by expiry and product type, organizing by size further enhances the aesthetics of your fridge while making it easier to reach everything without having to rummage through,' recommends Darla DeMorrow, certified professional organizer.
‘I like to arrange the door shelves so the tall bottles sit with other tall bottles, and squatty jars group together. You’ll save space, and things will look more organized than they would with all the condiments jumbled.’
Even when prioritizing aesthetics, keep in mind which things you shouldn’t store in a refrigerator door to avoid accidents or food expiring prematurely.
7. ‘Face’ products for that grocery store look
If you have ever been to the grocery store after they have just restocked, you will notice how neat the shelves look with all the products pushed to the front and turned so you can see the labels. ‘Fronting’ as it is referred to, is the easiest way to make your fridge look better while maintaining the practicality of your kitchen storage, says Darla DeMorrow, certified professional organizer.
What is the best order to stock a fridge?
When sectioning off your fridge, it is best to keep raw and cooked foods apart to maintain good food hygiene. Raw meats should be kept contained on the bottom shelf of the fridge, fresh produce contained in the drawer, dairy on the top shelf where the fridge is coldest, and everything else on the center shelf. The door should be reserved for things that will not go bad if subjected to slight temperature fluctuations such as opened drinks and creamers.
How do I make the outside of my fridge look better?
When trying to make a fridge look nicer in your kitchen, consider adding decals to spruce up the manufacturer-standard front. If you have the scope for a kitchen renovation, you can consider incorporating your fridge into a cabinet so that it blends seamlessly into your space.
Making a fridge look better by stocking it aesthetically can lead to accidental overstocking for the sake of making the fridge look fuller, or more interesting. Robyn Reynolds, a professional organizer urges you to exercise caution and still only buy the products you know you will consume so you do not contribute to unnecessary food waste – not even the best refrigerators can keep everything in top condition when you overshop.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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