I just LOVE a clean and organized refrigerator. I adore taking the time, after I shop for groceries, putting everything away in an organized fashion! However, during busy times it is so easy to fall prey to the expired items, molded cheese, dried celery leaves or a random sauce that has leaked and taken residence on a shelf.
Every other month I like to give my entire refrigerator a deep cleaning. I begin by removing everything from the refrigerator and place items on my countertop or in coolers, if necessary. I check for expired items and throw away. I make sure I don’t have that one jar that I have held onto in hopes of recreating a recipe with mold living inside. Yuck…I am guilty as charged!
- Remove EVERYTHING from your refrigerator
- Clean the inside of the refrigerator by spraying down with an all-natural multipurpose cleaner or a solution of vinegar and water. Wipe down walls, shelves, shelf seams, and rubber door seals. Remove sticky spills that have dried, making sure you get into crevices.
- Replace shelves and drawers.
- Before replacing items back into the refrigerator, wipe down jars, bottles, and containers with a damp cloth.
- Assess your inventory, as you’re reloading your refrigerator, and adjust the shelves accordingly. I REALLY get stuck keeping shelf height the same. Working on this as product packaging preferences change.
- Clean the exterior of your fridge in guidance with your manufacturer’s instructions.
I love a well-organized and color-coded refrigerator as they save both time and money! Knowing exactly what you have will make meal organization and grocery shopping so much easier and efficient.
- Prioritize foods that you reach for most. Group items and place in clear bins. Storage solutions are fabulous like a soda can holder, containers for snacks and stackable wine storage.
- When organizing, determine what makes sense for your family and the food item. For example, we keep milk and orange juice on the top shelf, eggs below.
Refrigerator Geography is Important
If you have shelves in the door, this is the warmest area of the refrigerator. Store items like condiments and butter here, items that don’t have to be kept as cold.
Drawers are typically designed to hold produce at specific humidity level so it makes sense to store fruits and vegetables in this area.
The middle shelves and back of the refrigerator are the areas that are cooler.
Always place fresh meats, that could possibly drip, on the bottom shelf or in bins.
Line Your Drawers and Shelves *optional*
Using a heavy-duty, water-resistant shelf liner in your crisper drawers makes cleanup a lot easier when fruit or vegetables are not as fresh. The same is true for your shelves. A liner isn’t always necessary but helpful in preventing spills and drips.
Group Like Items Together
Place condiments and salad dressings together in labeled bins. Select clear organization bins and containers with handles to make these items easy to grab out of the refrigerator.
Snacks Front and Center
Keep the most often used items in front for easy accessibility. Ready-made snacks like single-serve cheese and yogurt in easy-to-open containers are helpful to assist in overindulging and great on-the-go items! For example, I love fresh fruit or veggies that are pre-washed and ready to go!
Stack to Save Space
If space is an issue and you like to store water bottles, soda cans or beer cans in the refrigerator, consider a bottle or can dispenser. You can stack bottles or cans in a small space while providing easy access to a cold beverage.
Keep It Fresh
I fondly recall as a child a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda in the refrigerator for freshness. There are a number of ways beyond a box of baking soda to combat odors. I love using Fridge Refresh or Odor Magic Filters. Give them a try!
To help keep your fruits, vegetables and herbs fresher longer, consider specially designed Produce and Herb Keepers. These containers work in three ways to keep foods fresh.
That’s all there is to it! I promise you that a clean and organized refrigerator will change your life, for the better, in so many ways. Not only will it look beautiful, but it will save you time and money, too!
P.S. Here is a funny…not so funny story as I certainly panicked for a bit! When I was cleaning out my refrigerator for this blog post the lights on my Sub-Zero refrigerator went completely out, yikes! In the upper portion as well as the freezer. I quickly closed the door and placed cold items in my beverage refrigerator and began searching the University of Google for the answers and found out that if a door or drawer is left open and the light terminator reaches a high temperature, the lighting in that section only is disabled. The unit will continue to run (compressor and evaporator fan will both run). Thanks for the information, Sub-Zero! If this happens to you, they say to:
- Close the door without opening it for 45 minutes.
- When the terminator cools, the lighting will be restored.
- If any control buttons are pressed with lights out, they will not work; therefore, the unit cannot be turned off during this time.