There are certain chores that are easy to put off. You know, those little tasks that stay “out of sight, out of mind?” A big one for me has been cleaning out my fridge. But I’m slowly coming around to the idea that the payoff for doing those annoying chores is much more satisfying than continuing to put them off. So I recently spent a couple of hours cleaning and organizing my fridge, and it looks SO much better!
But I’m also pleased to report that cleaning and organizing your fridge is actually not as awful as it sounds. Especially if you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve! So today I’ll be sharing all of the things I did while cleaning and organizing my fridge that helped make it a pretty painless process. That way, you can get your fridge looking clean and tidy too! And you’ll be well ahead of schedule on your spring cleaning, so that’s a win-win in my book. :-)
How To Clean And Organize Your Refrigerator
Phase 1 – Cleaning Your Fridge
Start by emptying everything in your fridge out onto your countertop, into a box, or anywhere that gets them out of the way. It might seem like a chore to get everything out of your fridge, but it’s going to make the rest of the process so much easier!
The next step is to clean the bins, shelves, and drawers in your fridge. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is by removing them from the fridge itself and soaking them in a bathtub. Just fill your tub with hot water and a splash of Dawn dish soap, and then put the parts in the tub to soak.
While the soapy water is working its magic, you can wipe out the inside of your fridge. Spray the inside liberally with hydrogen peroxide (or the cleaning spray of your choice), then wipe it clean with a microfiber cleaning cloth. (This part is actually very quick and easy once all the shelves are out of the way!)
Next, check on the fridge parts in your bathtub and give them a quick scrub, if necessary. Rinse them off with clean water, and lay them out on a few clean bath towels to dry. (My shelves and drawers air-dried in about 15 minutes, but you may need to dry them off with a towel if you live in a humid area.)
Finally, return the drawers, shelves, and bins to your fridge. Phase 1, complete! :-)
Phase 2 – Organizing Your Fridge
Before you rush to put the food back in the fridge where you found it, now is a good time to consider adjusting the height of the various shelves in your fridge. If you’ve had issues with taller items not fitting in your fridge, try moving one of the shelves up a notch or two to make more room. It’s a minor detail, but it can make a big difference!
Once you’ve got everything where you want it, you can start putting food back into your fridge in an organized manner. This is where the bins come in! I bought 4 small bins at my local dollar store for $1 each, so they don’t have to be expensive. I can’t really help you decide exactly what to put in each bin, since everyone keeps a different stock of food in their fridge. But a good place to start is by sorting everything out into piles of similar items, and then placing each pile into its own bin.
Make it easier to identify what’s in each bin by writing it down on a piece of masking tape, and sticking that on the front of the bin. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of labeling your food too, indicating what it is and when you bought/stored it. The dates will help remind you to use up what’s in your fridge before it goes bad.
Another thing worth considering when you’re organizing your food is the temperature “zones” in your fridge. The shelves inside the door of your fridge are usually a bit warmer. They’re a good place to store condiments, butter, pasteurized juices, and other items that don’t present much of a food safety hazard.
The bottom of your fridge is usually the coldest area, so it’s a good idea to store raw meat on the lowest shelf. To be extra safe, place raw meat on a tray or plate to catch any accidental drips. Then you won’t have to worry about the meat contaminating anything that you’ve put in the lower bins.
The central area of your fridge stays nice and cold, so you can store just about everything else in that area.
Your produce drawers can be really helpful, depending on your situation. A lot of vegetables keep best when stored with some moisture and humidity, so store them in the “high humidity” drawer (if your fridge is marked that way.) Fruits generally do better with less moisture, so store them in the “low humidity” drawer.
Some people prefer storing their fruits and veggies in the main part of their fridge, and that’s okay! I’ve definitely had plenty of experience with putting produce in those drawers and then forgetting about it entirely, and then discovering a soggy mess later on. So if it keeping your fruits and veggies out of the drawers helps you to not forget about them, then that’s the most important thing!
And that’s pretty much all there is to it! After following these steps, your fridge will likely look worlds better than it did before. So give yourself a pat on the back, and reward yourself for all your hard work! :-)