Last year, when the pandemic hit, it was clear that grocery shopping habits would change for many of us. For me, it meant fewer trips to the store and bigger-than-usual hauls. And this, in turn, meant a very full refrigerator. I quickly realized that I needed a new, creative way to keep my fridge both stocked and organized at the same time.

Which brings me to my greatest aha moment yet: I added an entire extra shelf to my fridge just by sliding in a cutting board! Not only does this create additional storage space out of thin air, but it also helps me see everything I have so nothing goes to waste. Let’s take a look.

As you can see, I tend to stock up on the things I know I’ll use (such as organic kefir, organic grass-fed milk, and lots of yogurt). I also always have lots of fruits, vegetables, and salad greens. And these things can fill up a fridge … quickly.

By placing a cutting board toward the back of the fridge on top of the tall items — like milk or kefir in my case — I’ve created an extra shelf just like that! (You can even a cute kitchen tray or a half or quarter baking sheet.)

I make my “shelf” even more useful by making a rule for it: The only things that can go on it are the things that need to be used ASAP. For example, I use it for yogurts that are dated to expire soon, freshly cut fruit or vegetables I need to eat right now, or leftovers that should be prioritized.

Maybe you don’t buy quite as many milks at once as I do. I get it. You can still use this tip! Just put the cutting board across a few similarly shaped things. You can span the board over a few yogurts, or a couple of leftover containers, or even a full casserole dish.

It’s been more than a year and I can happily say that I’m still using this cutting-board-as-shelf storage method. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon — even if I do eventually start grocery shopping more frequently.

Do you have any super-smart fridge organizing tips? Tell us in the comments below!

Heather McClees


Heather McClees is a nutritionist and freelance writer from SC who covers health, food, and lifestyle topics for a variety of online publications. She has a B.S. in Nutrition Science and Dietetics and a background in communications and news journalism.

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