Fridge full of food.

Pinterest and Instagram are awash with tidy pantries and organized refrigerators. They’re lovely, they’re functional — and maybe they’ve got you thinking about how to clean and organize a fridge that professionals would be proud of.

With a few simple steps, your fridge can be hygienic and picture-perfect, too. And you won’t have to empty your bank account while doing it.

Categorize by food group

First, figure out what category sections you need. Just because someone on social media has an entire row of green vegetables and another row of fruit and on and on, all layered according to rainbow colors doesn’t mean that’s the practical way to organize your food. You might want something pleasing to look at, but you also want it to be practical!

Make a list of the common food categories you keep stocked. That might include fruits and vegetables, meat, leftovers, condiments, beverages and bread.

Separate for safety

After you list your categories, you need to know exactly where you’re putting them. If your fridge is usually a free-for-all and you want to keep things contained, make sure you assign the right amount of real estate for each category.

And remember to factor in food safety. Restaurant kitchen pros know that you never store raw meat above fresh produce. If raw meat juice leaks into your fridge, it poses a contamination risk. So, start from the top down. If you have a meat drawer and a produce drawer, the rest is easier. But if you tend to have too much meat or produce to fit into a single drawer, put fresh produce on the uppermost shelf, followed by bread and baked goods. After that comes dairy products and eggs, and lastly, anything raw, like meat and seafood.

If you’re short on space, consider cutting down how many beverages you keep in the refrigerator, for example, or trim your condiments to only those you really use.

Plan your container needs

After you know generally where your categories are going, it’s time to decide what types of containers or organizers can transform your fridge into the tidy space you’ve been imagining. Containers can be expensive, and it’s easy to misjudge the size when you’re at the store.

To be sure you know what you need, cut up cardboard boxes for templates, reuse large bottles or repurpose other household storage boxes as temporary solutions. This will help you know the size of containers or organizers you need. Live with your cardboard setup for a few days or a week to be sure it really works, and then make your actual container shopping list.

Keep in mind: Many people have to organize a fridge once or twice before they land on a way that feels natural. Before you invest in organizational boxes or bins that won’t fit a different setup, make sure you’ve decided on a method you love.

Stock your fridge

Once you’ve settled on an organization method you love and you’ve set up your bins, boxes or bottles, it’s time to stock that fridge! When you’re ready to shop, look for weekly ads, sales and coupons on our website. Don’t feel the need to fill every shiny, new container you have — only buy what you need — but placing delicious food to cook with and snack on in a clean, organized fridge is one of life’s little pleasures.

Don’t do it all at once

If you’re invested in a project like organizing your fridge, it’s easy to feel like you have to do it all in one day. But by pacing yourself and making it a weeks-long (or month-long) project, you’ll save on the money you put into it — and you’ll likely get a better result, too.