We all know that feeling. You open the fridge door immediately, hit with the stench of last week’s leftovers. Still, you have no idea what you should make for dinner, so you stand there and stare into the abyss. Sound familiar?
If your fridge is in dire need of a spring cleaning, don’t despair. It’s just time for a deep clean. While not technically part of organizing your home, we always run out of time for projects like this, so I am giving you the gift of time to scrub! Let’s get started!
Remove All the Food from Your Fridge
Don’t worry if you have your milk, egg, or meat outside the fridge for a little while. They will be just fine at room temperature. Plus, it’s much easier to give your fridge a good cleaning when all of the food is out. So, start by taking everything out of the refrigerator and giving it a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth.
Next, look at all your food and see what can be tossed or donated. If you have any leftovers that are more than a week old, it’s time to say goodbye. The same goes for produce that is starting to rot or dairy that has expired. If you have any canned goods or non-perishables that you know you won’t use, consider donating them to a local food bank.
Once you’ve gone through all of your food, it’s time to start cleaning the fridge itself. First, take everything out of the refrigerator and wipe it with a damp cloth. Next, remove all of the shelves, trays, and drawers and wash according to your manufacturer’s instructions and then clean the inside as well.
Wipe Down the Inside and Outside of Your Fridge
Use a mild cleaning solution, an all-purpose cleaner, and a sponge to wipe the inside and outside of your fridge. Don’t forget to get into all the nooks and crannies, like the gasket around the door and the coils on the back of the refrigerator.
Once you’re finished cleaning, give your fridge a good once over with a clean, dry cloth to remove any streaks. You should also take this opportunity to vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge. This will help keep your fridge running efficiently.
Replace the Food in Your Fridge
Now that your fridge is clean, it’s time to start stocking it back up with food. Start by putting your shelves, trays, and drawers back in. Then, when you put back the food, try to group like items, for example, salad dressings on one shelf, breakfast items like jam and syrup on another, and so on. This will help you find what you’re looking for more quickly the next time you open the fridge door.
I always use this opportunity to quickly inventory my pantry and fridge to see what I need to restock. This is also an excellent time to create a shopping list for your next grocery trip. Plus, if you see anything that will expire soon, you can use them for the next meals before they go bad—such a win-win; you don’t waste food, and you don’t have to come up with what to make for dinner.
Make an Inventory
Once you have your fridge all cleaned out and organized, it’s a good idea to make an inventory of what you have. This will help you keep track of what you need to buy and also help you use up food before it expires.
I like to keep a whiteboard in my kitchen, so I can quickly write down what I need. You can also use a notebook or your phone. Make sure you put it where you’ll see it daily so you remember to update it.
When you’re making your inventory, try to group items. For example, you could have a section for condiments, another for snacks, etc. This will help you find what you’re looking for more easily.
You can also use your inventory or combine it with meal planning. For example, if you see that you have a lot of chicken, you could make chicken tacos for dinner. Or, if you have a lot of products that need to be used up, you could make a frittata for breakfast. Combining these two lists/methods will help you save time and money and reduce food waste.
We’re living in a world where food wastage is a huge problem. Every year, millions of tons of food end up in landfill, and much of it is perfectly edible, so if you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint and save some money, start by cleaning out your fridge.
You’ll be amazed at how much food you can save simply by cleaning out your fridge regularly. Not to mention, it will make your kitchen smell great and help you keep track of what you have.