How to Add Zones to a Fridge and Freezer

October 5, 2020

After years of using a French door refrigerator, we recently went back to a side by side. It has taken some configuring and getting used to the new set up, but I finally have it organized in a way that makes sense for us. Just like our French door refrigerator, I created zones – this refrigerator is quite a bit larger. We also have a stand-up freezer and the old refrigerator in the garage. This has been a huge blessing when it comes to meal planning, grocery shopping, and having food in storage.

The kitchen had a space for a built-in refrigerator but it was never placed by the original owners. We found one that would fit the space perfectly and went for it. It’s a Kitchenaid 30.0 cu. ft 48-Inch Width Built-In Side by Side Refrigerator with PrintShield™ Finish. If you’re wondering about the “PrintShield™ Finish”, it’s amazing!  I was skeptical but it doesn’t show prints or smudges at all and it looks like regular stainless steel.

If you’re curious what the inside layout is, here’s a factory image from Kitchenaid. I wasn’t sure if I could go back from a drawer freezer to a side-by-side, I love this layout. I love that there isn’t a water or ice dispenser in the door and and I love how much room there is in the refrigerator and freezer.

QUICK TIP: Wipe down your refrigerator weekly (I use Bar Mop Towels – find them here) as you’re doing a grocery list/menu planning. You’ll be able to maintain your clean fridge status and you won’t have nearly as much food waste. I do this on Fridays as part of my Catch-All Day Routine. You can see more about the Clean Mama Routine here.

If you have never thought of adding zones to your refrigerator/freezer I recommend completely emptying it and decide on zones for your refrigerator and freezer. If you want to plan it out a bit you can use sticky notes on the shelves to figure out where things will fit.

The zones are fairly universal – tweak to fit your diet and the typical food that is stored regularly. Fruits, vegetables, dairy condiments, beverages, leftovers, food that is going to be cooked in a day or two (meat tray and flex), etc. I find that keeping the fruit and vegetables – fresh in the refrigerator and frozen in the freezer in the same area in both is helpful.

I also find it helpful to separate the sweet condiments from the savory condiments – this just keeps things easy for locating and helps us to know what we have so we can use it up.

The biggest dilemma I ran into was that the drawers are large and it was hard to keep things separated and easy to grab. I found these acrylic kitchen organizers and put one in the dairy drawer, three in the fruit drawer, and one in the vegetable drawer.

They come in different sizes – measure and make sure that they’ll fit. They fit snugly in our refrigerator and can be removed and washed in the sink with warm, soapy water. I love the organization that they add.

Here’s a look at the fruit and veggie drawers – these change depending on the season, what we’re eating and what we’re cooking each week. I always keep limes and lemons in the fruit drawer!

I’ve talked about this tip – I keep a quarter sheet pan in the refrigerator and put uncooked meat on it – this keeps the shelf clean and keeps those proteins at the ready for the week.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for organizing your refrigerator and freezer into zones – once you have your zones set up, it’s so much easier to keep it that way!

What zones will you add?