HOW TO CLEAN AND ORGANIZE YOUR REFRIGERATOR
Yes, I plead guilty! And I’m ashamed… I swear!
Okay, if you’re like me, every once and awhile I open my refrigerator produce drawer and jump back, stifling a scream with my hand. Is that green slime in the bottom of the drawer? Oh, no, it’s actually a cucumber having a very bad month.
The fact is, I’m really not that ashamed. I entertain a lot. And if you haven’t heard yet, I have a lifestyle blog, so my kitchen can be a very busy place on any given day. And since we downsized last year, for the first time in over 20 years I don’t have a second refrigerator in my garage. YET!
CAN YOU SPELL “YUCK”?
Yes, I know that I should be keeping better track of what’s in the refrigerator.
And making sure that things don’t get pushed back into the cold-storage netherworld, but I didn’t.
This is what I discovered (much to my chagrin!) when I finally found the fortitude to venture into what could only be called, in all fairness, a “rotting mess”.
That little dried up thing on the storage bag was a radish in its past life, those lemons, got zested for a photo shoot, but never used, the runner beans, a moldy-gooey mass of slime.
I couldn’t bear to take a picture of what George Carlin would have called “meat cake”, it could be meat, or it could be cake.
On the whole, it was actually much worse than this, but I couldn’t get the rest of the yuckies out without scooping it up with a paper towel and a garbage bag nearby. Lucky for you, I think.
I know how to clean and organize my refrigerator, but sometimes it just “the right time”.
AMAZON TO THE RESCUE!
So as I mentioned, I resisted sticking my head inside the refrigerator for so long, that I finally decided to give myself some motivation and clicked onto Amazon late one evening.
I found exactly what I was looking for. Something to “corral” my odds and ends (lots of sauces/homemade condiments/pickled vegies/compound butters) into some kind of organized system that would allow me to “see” exactly what I have on the shelves, even in the very back.
Relieved, I snapped off the light, knowing that I’d need to be ready to face the mess in two day when the Amazon Prime package would arrive.
The Cook’s Tools 7-Piece Fridge Storage Set contains:
- 2 wide drawers
- 2 narrow drawers
- 1 beverage bin
- 1 egg drawer with lid
I PULLED ON MY GLOVES…
Facing the mess with determination, I decided to listen to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts. It’s hosted by Hal Elrod, author of the The Miracle Morning, and I figured Hal and I could face anything together!
LOOKED IT RIGHT IN THE EYE…
The first task was to tackle the food inside the refrigerator. I sorted everything on my kitchen counters — what would get tossed, repackaged, eaten for any of that day’s meals or frozen for future use. My counters were covered from stem to stern. The stack of plastic storage containers alone was staggering.
And how many plastic containers of who knows what do you currently have in your refrigerator young lady? Don’t go look, it could be a bit depressing.
I had so many, including those little tiny ones that only hold a few tablespoons of this or that, I decided I’d count them so I could help make you feel a little better about yours.
No, I didn’t take a picture, I didn’t think of it until after they had been washed and put away. Drum roll please… 31! Yes, I said thirty-one. I had no idea I even owned that many!
Filling the sink with hot, sudsy water, I proceeded to take out the drawers and door shelves and give them a good cleaning. After scrubbing the shelves, inside walls and door, I pronounced it sparkling clean!
Whew, what a relief! I bet you know the feeling – when you finally get that dreaded task done, and you think to yourself, “what took me so long”? Either way, I was thrilled that the tough part was done.
REFRIGERATOR “RESOLUTIONS” TO KEEP YOUR REFRIGERATOR CLEAN
- LABEL EVERYTHING!
- CREATE ZONES FOR ITEM CATEGORIES (condiments, etc.)
- LEAVE SPACE FOR LEFTOVERS AND NEW GROCERIES
- ADJUST SHELVES TO YOUR CONTENT NEEDS
- INSTALL PRODUCE DRAWER “HELPERS”
- CHANGE WATER FILTER EVERY 6 MONTHS
I was actually looking forward to the next part. While I was hunting for my refrigerator organization system, I stumbled on the solution to my produce drawer mess. Here’s what I purchased:
A 3-pack of refrigerator liners from Easy Home Kitchen. The package wrapper touts:
- absorbs excess moisture
- protects against scratches and scuffs (from what, my shoes?)
- cut to fit and machine washable
- line cabinets, fridge bins and under the sink
A BluApple combo pack that uses activated carbon to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer.
HERE’S MY PLAN
I decided that the combo of the two products inside both my large produce drawers should really help me use up all my produce before it goes bad. I really wanted to see how the activated carbon vegetable and fruits savers worked.
It will also give me the motivation to keep the drawers better organized. On a whim, I decided to line my lunchmeat/cheese drawer also while I was feeling so ambitious.
After doing a few rough measurements of the drawer bottoms, I cut the attractive green liners to fit. It took some creative piecing to get the entire bottoms completely covered, and then I added an apple to the corner of each produce drawer. Then in went the fresh vegies, meats and cheese.
I tucked an open box of Arm & Hammer baking soda into the corner of the bottom shelf for good measure!
My elation was growing by the moment.
In went the remainder of the items left on the counters.
And voila, my refrigerator was gleaming, organized and bursting with wonderful little goodies I had lost in the dark recesses of my formerly messy refrigerator.
LOST & FOUND
Here’s a few of the long lost of items I reclaimed:
tarragon-lemon compound butter / anchovy-olive tapanade / arugula pesto / pistachio butter / homemade chili sauce / lemon-rosemary syrup/ pickled onions
I quickly rolled most of these items into the next week’s menu plan to make sure I didn’t lose them again! But, I won’t! My refrigerator’s organized and sparkling clean!
Now that I’ve shared my deep, dark secret with you, I hope you can use a few of my pointers and check out the types of products I used to try to keep me from my worst self!
I think I’ll be able to keep up with this system. The liners really only need to get changed out when dirty or after 6 months or so. I can do that. I think I can… I’ll keep you posted! Now that I’ve figured out the best way to show you how to clean and organize your refrigerator, I’d better keep it up!
Do you dare share a picture of the inside of your fridge? Or your produce drawers? I have just the place to show us your before and after shots gals!
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