What is the one thing you need when you move into a new place.. besides maybe a bed but even that you could probably make do with a blow up mattress if you really had to..
Drumroll.. a fridge!
A refrigerator is so crucial to our homes and very existence that I thought why not show mine some love and give it the clean out, spruce up and organization makeover that it deserved. Of course I have some tips and things I learned along the way and there’s a video to get you pumped and motivated to clean out your own fridge. In our germaphobic filled minds these days, having the piece of mind that everything has been properly cleaned and and checked is really priceless. Plus when you unpack your new groceries, everything has a space and it makes it a dream to put away. OK let’s get to making your pinterest-worthy fridge!
Set aside a couple of hours..
Unlike other organization projects where you could probably pause and continue at another time, the nature of everything in your fridge is that they are perishable and you need to work in one go and fairly quickly. SO, try and set aside at least an hour or two if you want to try this method so that you can get it all done. I know that sounds like a lot of time for your fridge but this deep clean doesn’t need to happen to this extent more than perhaps a couple of times a year and it’s your fridge and it gets gross so you need to prioritize it.
Prep to clean
Once you detangle all your fridge parts like I’m about to tell you, you will see they take up a lot of space and some parts are made of glass which need to be handled carefully. Created space on your kitchen counter, your floor, outside, wherever so you can lay everything out once you have washed it, to dry before you put it back. I lay out towels to place all the pieces and then have a couple extra to dry everything manually to speed up the process.
Before you grocery shop
This is totally up to you but I find it easier to clean my fridge before I add more groceries because obviously I am dealing with less stuff to manage. But do what you can and if you feel motivated to clean after a big shop because you realize you have no space to put anything then by all means, still clean it all out and organize it back in!
Take all the food out..
OK so you have blocked your calendar, prepped your work space with a spot for all the fridge guts to go and now you’re ready to get started. Depending on the temperature in your home, you may want to do this on a cooler day so that things don’t start warming up super quickly. Take out all your food.. It may be helpful to keep similar categories together for when you have to put it all back like all veggies together, all fruits, all milk, all leftovers that stack, makes the re-packing go much quicker.
Take out the fridge insides
No comes the fun part. I have found the easiest and best way to really clean my fridge is to take anything that can come out, out. This means the shelving, the drawers, the compartments that hook into the door. EVERYTHING. I take it all out one by one and wash everything carefully with warm, soapy water and let it all air dry on those towels I was talking about earlier. Once everything is out I try and get all the crumbs out – thinking about it, if a cloth doesn’t help get rid of everything, using the narrow nozzle with a vacuum cleaner might work really well to get those hard to access bits and bobs and icky bits out.
Don’t forget about the doors
Don’t forget about the doors inside and out. I like to spray the inside of the fridge – the walls – and the inside of the doors with a gentle cleaning spray and then wipe to remove excess moisture. I do the same on the outside of the fridge and the handles (which you should be wiping down regularly anyway). Once all of that is dry you can start putting the dried shelving and containers and drawers back in
While you wait
No time to sit on your laurels, while everything else is drying, I check all the expiry dates of things that can go off as well as anything you may have forgotten about.. ew and chuck. I then like to wipe down jars and containers because over time you get a build up to get rid of any stickiness. If something is 99% finished but was still put back (!) I rinse it out and recycle or discard. If I know no-one is going to eat these 4 day old leftovers (if they were going to eat them, they would have already!), I say bye-bye too!
The moment you have been waiting for..
Now comes the fun part putting it all back! If your fridge has designated places for produce, eggs, drinks etc start by putting all that in the obvious places. You want very temperature sensitive things like any dairy or meat towards the back or colder part of the fridge and things like condiments and sauces should be fine in the doors. Fruit and veg in their little drawers.
Now you can finally organize
As you put your food back, put things that you want to use up, either food or condiments or sauces, right in front of you (and your family) when they open the fridge looking for something! Hide the things you don’t want to be tempted by at the back of the fridge (like sneaky chocolate!) so they are out of sight, out of mind. I like to use this opportunity to meal prep ingredients I plan to use in the next few days while everything is out, e.g. zucchini into zoodles, strawberries chopped and ready for a snack, cooked sweet potato etc
I guarantee that with your fridge clean and sparkling and you being able to view all your food you will:
- cut down on food waste
- save money
- get more meal ideas stemming from what you already have
- make more food at home -> healthier and better!
Let me know if you clean out your fridge and how it changes things for you!
And don’t forget to watch the video below for some good tunes and even more tips!