It may be hidden behind a closed door, but a well-organised fridge and freezer can make cooking a whole lot easier. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but practical too, as clearly-arranged shelves make it much easier to spot items about to go past their prime, minimising the spread of unhealthy bacteria and cutting down on food waste to boot.


Making the most of your fridge-freezer space is a skill that comes in especially handy during the festive season, when many of us will be hosting family and friends for drinks, parties and that all-important Christmas dinner.

How to organise a fridge

- Start by taking everything out and sorting through the items. Fridges can easily become overcrowded, so dispose of anything you’re not going to eat and all of those jars that have been lurking on the shelves for far too long. A decluttered fridge will also help to improve energy efficiency.

- This is a good time to give your fridge a proper clean if it's been a while since it had a thorough going-over. Wash the shelves and drawers in warm soapy water. For the inside, you can use warm soapy water or your own homemade natural cleaning solution - get the recipes here. Chemical cleaning sprays are best avoided, as the smell can linger.

- Reserve the bottom drawers for your veggies, salads and any fruit you want to keep in the fridge. As the coolest part, it’ll keep your food fresher for longer and protect it from unwanted smells.

- Raw meat and fish should always be stored on the lowest shelf, where they can’t leak onto any other foods. Place cooked and ready-to-eat items on the top shelf so that there’s no chance of contamination. In the middle shelves, where the air is able to circulate well and keep the temperature regulated, store dairy items like milk, cheese and yogurt.

- As the door shelves are most susceptible to temperature changes, it’s best to store foods that contain natural preservatives here, like jams, condiments, juices and preserves.

- For the ultimate organised fridge, invest in reusable containers and jars that you can decant your everyday staples into or use for leftovers. As they’re airtight, Kilner jars are perfect for berries, preventing them from going mushy too soon!

How to organise a freezer

- Run an inventory check of everything in the freezer. Different types of food have varying periods of shelf-life and how long they can stay in the freezer. As a general rule, throw out anything that’s been frozen for over a year.

- Label food containers or freezer bags with what’s inside and the date it was frozen. Permanent markers are great for this, but you can also write a label and tuck it inside the container or freezer bag, as it won’t stick in cold temperatures.

- If there’s a build-up of ice you’ll need to defrost the freezer as ice acts an insulator, making it work harder to keep the food cold. Put your remaining frozen food in a cool box with some freezer blocks, then it switch off. Take out all the drawers and set aside. Set newspaper around the freezer and put dry towels inside to soak up as much water as possible.

- Wash the drawers in hot soapy water and once the freezer has defrosted, wipe it with a cloth and antibacterial spray. Dry the freezer as much as possible with towels, then switch it back on. It may take several hours before it reaches the right temperature to put your frozen food back in.

- If any food has defrosted in the meantime, then don’t refreeze it - instead, make a meal plan to use it up within a safe timeline, according to packet instructions.


For more handy household advice, check out our guides to deep cleaning your home, cutting down on plastic waste, having an eco-friendly declutter and maximising your kitchen storage.