Your fridge has rotting food in it. I know it, you know it, the American people know it. But unless you’re one of those people who lives in ads for incredibly expensive refrigerators with French doors and touch-screen computers, you’re set up for failure. Things are destined to get shoved, jostled, and otherwise forgotten about when a new jug of milk casts aside last week’s fajita night leftovers, proving once again that “out of sight is out of mind,” at least until you find it months later and your mind tells the rest of your body that it’s time to puke.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even the most basic rental fridge can be tweaked to make food easier to find, remember, and consume. Here are the best tools for getting your fridge in order.


InterDesign Soda Can Organizer with Lid

Soda shooters aren’t exactly novel, but this is a huge improvement on the basic design for one reason: A lid lets you stack things on top, giving you the option to maximize your vertical storage. Keeping your cans nicely stacked also cuts down on valuable shelf square footage.

Copco Non-Skid Pantry Lazy Susan

Sauces, bottles, and various tubs of dairy (your sour creams, cottages cheeses, etc.) are easy victims of the shuffle to the back and corners of the fridge. Rather than having to constantly re-shuffle them in search of the medium salsa or BBQ sauce you know is (probably) there, keep them corralled on a lazy susan. This non-skid one will keep things in place as you give it a twirl to find just what you need.

mDesign Plastic Storage Bins with Handles

A lot of fridge organizer sets come with an egg carton organizer, which I object to purely on the basis that eggs already come in their own organizers, and it’s called a carton. More practically, taking eggs out of the carton means you don’t know the expiration date and could get several cartons of eggs mixed up easily. But enough about why you should appreciate egg cartons–this set has two large and two smaller bins, both of which are deep enough to make the most of horizontal storage. If four bins is too much for your fridge, consider using a one or two in the freezer as well.

Seville Classics Expandable Kitchen Counter and Cabinet Shelf

A rental fridge with a very limiting freezer (no shelves at all) meant my roommate and I had to get creative to keep things from turning into an undifferentiated pile of frozen food. Designed for kitchen counters and cabinets, this Seville expandable shelf was nevertheless a great way to keep things separated and easy to find. It could also work well in large fridges that could use more shelving.

mDesign Expandable Drawer Divider

These drawer dividers, which are ostensibly meant for dresser drawers, won’t work for every fridge drawer. But if your fridge drawers are deep and flat, this set can be an easy way to keep things from turning into a disorganized mess. Just think about what a silverware organizer does for your kitchen drawers, and apply it to your carrots, onions, peppers, etc.

Prepworks by Progressive Produce ProKeeper

Produce is one of the perennial victims of a disorganized fridge. Keeping various fruits and veggies in a large bin designed to keep them fresher longer may be a better solution than sticking them in a produce drawer. Instead, those easily-forgotten drawers can become home to less perishable items, like extra cans or bottles of soda, beer, or wine.

Ball 32 Ounce Mason Jars
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Ball 32 Ounce Mason Jars

It brings me very little joy to report this, because mason jars have become so ubiquitous they’ve likely crossed from cool all the way back to uncool again...but they are one of the best ways to keep liquids, herbs, and even leftovers like pasta organized. Because they’re tall, rather than short and wide, its hard to lose sight of them. They also allow you to store just about whatever you want in the door organizers, further clearing up the shelves.