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You Should Be Organizing Your Refrigerator Like a Chef – Here's How

The OXO Good Grips Produce Saver is one of our favorite refrigerator organizers; read on for the rest.
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Professional chefs have refrigerator organization down to a science. An organized refrigerator can mean the difference between streamlined dinner service and a frenzied disaster in restaurant kitchens. Even more importantly, an efficient food storage system helps reduce waste due to food spoilage. If you're ready to start creating an organized fridge any chef would admire, you'll want to stock up on some helpful refrigerator organizers.

When searching for refrigerator organizers, consider which areas of the fridge you're trying to put in order. From there, you'll want to choose sturdy items that are the right size to fit comfortably in your fridge. We considered a variety of bins and containers to store produce, eggs, and other foods and reviewed each product on durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and value overall. The OXO Good Grips Produce Saver is one of our favorites; read on for the rest.

To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best refrigerator organizers currently on the market.

Organize By Temperature

First things first: ingredients that need to be cooked should never be stored on top of anything that can be served raw. When thinking about how to organize your refrigerator, keep temperature and gravity in mind. Foods that are harmful when eaten raw (like chicken) should always be stored on the bottom. That way, if anything drips or spills, there's no concern of contaminating other fresh produce. Foods that are already thoroughly cooked or foods that can be enjoyed uncooked, like fruit, vegetables, and leftovers should be stored at the top, to lower the risk of contamination. 

Repeat After Me: "First In, First Out"

If you find that you throw out food more often than you'd like, your storage practices might be to blame. Chefs are taught to memorize the mantra "first in, first out," when stocking refrigerator shelves because it helps cut down on food waste. When putting away multiple units of the same food, always put the older unit towards the front, that way you're more likely to use it first. If you bought a pint of berries on Tuesday and another on Saturday, place the new set at the back when putting them away. That way, the Saturday berries won't get touched until you've eaten the Tuesday berries. 

To make sure you're using food efficiently, keep a permanent marker and some labels handy. Taking the time to label foods makes it easier to remember when you bought them, but also helps keep purchase dates top-of-mind. 

Keep it Contained

The first thing that restaurants do when they receive a food delivery is transfer any loose goods into durable containers. Designate different containers for different items, and utilize heavy-duty containers to store everything from raw meat to loose citrus. That way, messes are easily contained and any germs won't spread. To cut down on time spent digging into the back of my fridge for one rogue lemon, I like to store all of my raw meat in one container and my fruit, veggies, and dairy in various others. That way, I can just grab my designated citrus bin and carry on. 

It's also a good idea to transfer delicate items (like eggs) out of their cardboard containers and into more sturdy plastic egg dividers. In fact, cardboard is known to attract bugs, so it's best to steer clear of storing any cardboard or paper products in the refrigerator.

Though these organization tips might seem time-consuming, they'll become a habit before you know it. Keeping an organized food storage system is an easy way to cut down on waste at home, and will ensure that you keep your family safe from foodborne illnesses and toxins. To get started, we've rounded up our favorite food storage containers for the refrigerator. 

Kitchen Organizing on Amazon
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Clear Fridge Organizers

Keeping foods separate is key to preventing cross-contamination. These bins make it easy to see what you're working with while containing any potentially hazardous leaks or spills. I prefer to keep any packages of raw meat in a designated container, that way I give myself an extra layer of protection in case any juices were to seep out of the packaging. It also makes cleaning up much easier!

To buy: Utopia Fridge Organizers, $25 at amazon.com 

greensaver
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OXO Good Grips Produce Saver

Keep your produce fresher for longer with the OXO Good Grips Produce Saver. This three-part container includes an elevated basket that allows airflow from all sides and keeps fruits and veggies fresh and crisp. The basket doubles as a colander when it's time to wash your produce before eating. Depending on what you're storing, the OXO Produce Saver's lid has an adjustable vent for different humidity levels. In addition, the container's replaceable carbon filter slows the aging process by absorbing ethylene gas.

The 1.6-quart container is perfect for keeping delicate fruits like raspberries and blackberries in peak condition for longer. The container is hand-washable, and the carbon filter lasts up to 90 days. The durable OXO Produce Saver is available in three sizes, 1.6-quart, 4.3-quart, and 5-quart, for different produce. Stronger than the plastic or cardboard berry bins you get at the farmer's market or grocery store, this container is easy to stack and store in your fridge without crushing the contents.

To buy: Oxo Good Grips Produce Saver, $15 at amazon.com 

food storage container
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Rubbermaid Brilliance 24-Piece Food Containers

These locking food containers create an airtight seal that helps keep foods fresher for longer. Ideal for leftovers of any size, they can be stacked in the refrigerator and placed directly into the dishwasher. 

To buy: Rubbermaid Brilliance 24-Piece Food Containers, $40 at amazon.com 

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Rubbermaid Commercial 12-Quart Food Container

When marinating or brining, it's best to have a container that can accommodate large quantities of liquid without spilling or sloshing. This industrial-grade container can be used to brine a whole chicken in the refrigerator or to store bulk dry goods in the pantry.

To buy: Rubbermaid Commercial 12-Quart Food Container, $21 (originally $25) at amazon.com 

egg container
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Scotty's Refrigerator Egg Bin

Eggs are particularly delicate, so it's a good idea to store them in something more sturdy than cardboard. This plastic container keeps them safe from stacking and makes it easy to see how many you have left. 

To buy: Scotty's Refrigerator Egg Bin, $10 at amazon.com

freezer labels
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Removable Freezer Labels

Labeling food is essential in restaurant kitchens. To help cut down on food waste and to save yourself from the dreaded sniff-test, keep a permanent marker and some labels on hand. If you're not sure if something is still good, you can save yourself the anxiety by knowing exactly when it was purchased.

To buy: Removable Freezer Labels, $8 (originally $9) at amazon.com

food storage
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Plastic Deli Food Containers

All loose foods must be put away properly to avoid cross-contamination. That includes cut lemons, nubs of ginger and loose garlic cloves. These deli containers help to keep all the odd bits and pieces floating around in your vegetable drawer safe, clean, and fresh. The locking lids prevent spills and the streamlined design makes them easy to stack. 

To buy: Plastic Deli Food Containers, $19 at amazon.com