Prepare Your Fridge for Thanksgiving in 5 Steps

The highlight of Thanksgiving is definitely the food. Before Turkey Day, get your fridge ready for leftovers with these tips on how to organize your fridge.

Open fridge

If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’ve probably already been busy scouring websites and recipe books, not to mention trying to sweet-talk grandma into sharing the secret of her perfect pecan pie. Amidst all these holiday preparations, just make sure you don’t neglect one crucial step — carve out space in your fridge to hold all that food! 

Here are some tips on how to organize your fridge to make sure you have plenty of room for both your Thanksgiving ingredients and your leftovers.

Meal Plan Wisely

Believe it or not, careful, detailed menu planning is a great way to free up ample space in your fridge. First, identify the ingredients that you'll be using in multiple recipes. For example, if your stuffing recipe calls for a cup of vegetable broth, look for another recipe that also uses vegetable broth. Doing so will simplify your shopping list and help keep the contents of your refrigerator organized.

Deep Clean Your Fridge

One of the most helpful things you can do before your big (Thurs)day is to take everything out of your fridge and give it a good cleaning.  That gives you the opportunity to make sure your valuable refrigerator real estate isn’t being wasted on jars of old condiments and expired produce. Salvage what you can and throw away the rest.

Also, many fridges today have adjustable shelves. The perfect time to readjust them and make room for large items (turkey, anyone?) is while they're empty.


The first Thanksgiving was a sort of potluck, and it’s still customary for guests to bring something to add to the spread, whether it’s a side dish, a dessert or even just a decorative centerpiece. Talk to your guests in advance. Make a record of what everyone is bringing to avoid redundancy. As delicious as they are, you don’t need six casserole dishes full of sweet potatoes — so feel free to issue recommendations and communicate specific needs. Maybe someone will even volunteer to bring the turkey!

Freeze It

Don’t forget to take advantage of your freezer space! Whether you choose to make some dishes ahead of time and freeze them to be reheated the day of or apportion your leftovers between your fridge and freezer extra storage for leftovers, you might be surprised at how much it can accommodate. You should also empty and carefully restock your freezer, just as you did your refrigerator, to maximize its storage capacity.

Gift Take-Home Bags

Who doesn't love the days of turkey sandwiches that follow Thanksgiving or the feeling of opening the refrigerator on Sunday night and discovering a last slice of pumpkin pie? These aren't leftovers — they're bonuses! Give your guests the gift of continuing to enjoy the meal you so painstakingly put together in the days after the holiday. Stock up on storage bags, containers and boxes that your guests can fill up with food and take home with them. Provide custom labels or a permanent marker for them to indicate which bag or box belongs to them. Remember, the more they take, the less you have to store.

Finally, be sure your refrigerator and other appliances are covered when they breakdown with an American Home Shield® Home Warranty. Help protect your budget by choosing one of our flexible plans to suit your needs.

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AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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