How do you organize a refrigerator??

Julie_MI_Z5August 6, 2006

(Try not to laugh too hard.)

We had a new 21 cu feet side-by-side refrigerator delivered to the house, but I wasn't home when it came so DH "organized" it.

It's dreadfully inadequate. Milk jugs are supposed to fit in the door shelves, but DH put the door shelves too close together height-wise so it won't fit. There are 3 shelves (one is only high enough to hold a can of pop) in there, plus 2 drawers (one is "humidity controlled" whatever that means, and has nothing but grapes in it, the other says "Convertible vegetables/meat" and holds bottled water. We have 1 shelf and 1 drawer sitting on the kitchen counter because DH said they didn't fit (because we have 2 shelves full of milk).

I need HELP!

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Empty the fridge, rearrange the shelves and put the stuff back. LOL When I was setting up our new fridge, I had the milk handy, the big bottles of ketchup, etc. Our shelves are really easy to take off, compared to the old kind, so check your owners manual. I think you'll be suprised how easy it is to put the things spaced for your items. Mine just lift up and are very easy to wash.

On the humidity controlled drawer, check and see if there is a lever type knob which will open and close. You can open to get more air in the drawer so fruits and veggies don't get all soggy and limp. I do like keeping my meats in a bottom drawer so that when we have leaks (and we always do) I don't have blood running over fresh food.

These new fridges are so nice. Having the milk in the door has freed up so much space and I haven't noticed it not staying cold enough.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 1:51AM
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Gloria gave some excllent points. I have rearranged my fridge numerous times and will now only put my milk on the bottom shelf (which is an open container) in the door. I also put those huge water bottles on that shelf as well. Besides the vegetable and fruit drawer, I also have a small drawer for meats and cheese. Perhaps you could find a basket and keep all of your meats and cheese in it.

I put my scondiment bottles on the door scontainers, sorting them by size. I've been able to use all of these shelves because one of them can be placed relatively close to the one above. Before I did this, it felt as though I had one extra container that wouldn't have the space for any food because of how close it had to be put to the ontainer above.

The only way to overcome your problem is to remove the door shelves and start over. Are the shelves inside the fridge split shelves? If you do, I'd play with these as well.

Can you buy milk more often instead of having them take up valuable space?

My problem is watermelon. It takes up a whole shelf and I don't want to cut it all up when I put it in the fridge.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 2:09PM
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Empty the frig and start over ... keeping in mind what you normally store.

If you have "gallon size" shelves, make sure the milk shelf is at a comfortable height. If you want to put salad dressing and condiments on the door shelves ... make the tallest bottle your measuring stick. I made sure the bottom door shelf could hold a bottle of wine.

Then, starting with the top shelf of the refrigerator body, start arranging shelves based on what you usually have in the frig. I made sure the top shelf was tall enough to hold the iced tea jug.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 4:37PM
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Gloria--Thanks for the explanation of that humidity drawer.

Good idea to start completely over, but we're going to wait a few days since I just grocery shopped yesterday.

Marie--My college son moved back home this summer after he broke his leg, so with both boys home we're going thru 9 gallons of milk, a case of water, a case of gatorade and umpteen bottles of gatorade a week. We're already shopping a couple times a week for milk!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:58PM
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I guess we're not that big on milk. Even when the 5 kids lived at home, we never had that much milk in the house in a week. It's probably my Jewish upbringing, though, since DH and I don't drink milk with meat. We definitely don't keep Kosher but the thought of milk and meat just doesn't appeal to me.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 7:59PM
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Here's a thread from earlier this year that may help too :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fridge Organizing

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 8:48PM
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Too bad you all aren't lactose intolerant. Then you wouldn't have this problem of where to put the milk.
You might look into getting an el cheapo spare fridge for a garage or basement for keeping soft drinks and bread and stuff. It will cost an extra $50 or so a year to run it but you won't have to make as many trips to the store I guess.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 9:34PM
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Too funny! Actually *I* am lactose intolerant. LOL Multiple trips to the store isn't a problem, it's "on the way" since we're always in the car going somewhere. The bottled water and gatorade and fruit juice is stockpiled in the basement.

The new refrigerator is the exact same size as the old one (which was the "perfect" size) so it's got to be the shelf layout that's all wrong.

Maura--thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 5:43AM
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LOL, quirkyquercus -

We have a spare refrigerator in our garage for excessive beverages. My husband calls it the "bachelor" fridge. Water, soda, Gatorade, and beer -- and he's fond of different flavor mustards that are stored in here too.

I like it because water and Gatorade are "grab and go" when leaving for a game. And since it's not usually "loaded" there is a spare shelf or two for when I need extra space when entertaining at holiday time.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 9:16AM
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In every "nice" refrigerator I've ever used (not the wire-shelved "two-door luxury option" apartment kind), I've ended up removing a shelf. Just made it easier to space things out some. Many times it has let me put two shelves level so I have one very wide shelf.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 9:32AM
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Me too, Steve.

I store an "extra" shelf from our kitchen fridge in the basement. Removing a shelf makes for much easier access to some of the bigger items.

Good tip!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 9:42AM
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What I've done w/ the shelf that's too tightly space is to turn it into a sort of cubbyhole. Specifically, for eggs and bread. Both are long and skinny, and not that tall. So they slide in to that just-big-enough space w/ no extra headroom.

Or, I stockpile butter or something, yogurt for lunch, maybe, in that space--grab the front one and go, no trying to get something from behind.

We just got a new fridge, and I goofed by getting one just like the old one I hated. Too much hurrying, to be honest. I really wanted a two-door cheapo apartment style, because it was much easier to organize, and to access.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 11:20AM
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We use all our shelves, but we removed a door bin to allow for a full row of milk and soda bottles on the door.

Also, I really wanted the shelves to be even all the way across (not set at differnt heights), and this created a small gap between the 3rd drawer and the lower 2 drawers. We keep tortillas, pita bread and eggs in that gap.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 2:32PM
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In this house I have the biggest fridge I've ever owned I think. It's the largest standard size ...25.9 CF or whatever.
Yet it is the smallest fridge I've ever owned too. I can not figure out what the problem is. It is organized but I think as someone mentioned it might have an extra shelf or an extra drawer. It fills up so quickly and hard to access stuff.

I decided I was going to take my own advice... I already have a fridge in the basement but what I want to do is put a fridge in the kitchen just for coke and bottled water. My neighbors have this mini vending machine they were selling at Home Depot for a while. The size looked just right to hide in a suitable corner. But they apparently stopped carrying these things so I guess my only option now is to get one of those really expensive wine cooler things since that's the only thing that would look right in that space. Maybe I will see what Ikea has since they must have an itty bitty solution. I stockpile soda and water when it goes on sale but it's still a pain to have to keep restocking the fridge all the time. I just want to drop in all the cans and be done with it. Then I'll have more space.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Most of the appliance stores have some small fridges. The one we got is just counter height and cost about $100. I think it came from Lowes or Home Depot, but Sears and several other places carried them. The only drawback to ours is that it does have a small freezer, which is wasted space for what we wanted.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 2:38PM
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