Okay, boys and girls, it’s time to strap on a gas mask, don some rubber gloves and get ready for a serious rumble in the fridge. I see that bag of organic spring mix that has turned to slime. And the gooey substance from who-knows-what-spilled underneath the crisper drawer. I see you standing looking into the depths and deciding it would just be a lot easier to order a pizza than try to figure out what’s in the fridge, much less cook a meal.
Yes, I see you. They make self-cleaning ovens, but until the technology exists to make a self-cleaning refrigerator, consider that you have a YOURself-cleaning fridge. Because you’re the one who will clean it. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.
But there is good news. Having an organized fridge will provide you with a high rate of return on your time investment. What do I mean by that? When you know what’s in the fridge, you are less app to toss produce and eat up the leftovers. It will save you money.
Having an organized fridge makes meal planning easier as well. And should you wish to cultivate penicillin and perform science experiments, you can at least do so with intentionality.
Let’s dive in! First, empty out everything onto your table or countertop. Every.thing. Then you’re going to bravely look at those gooey piles and flakes of dried milk covering the back of the shelf. Whisper in as menacing of voice as you can muster, “You’re going down!” (Bonus points if you can do it in a German accent.)
If you don’t already have a nylon pan scraper, put it on your shopping list right now. This little puppy is perfect for scraping up sticky messes. I like to have a bowl of hot water with a little ammonia to wipe the shelves. If you’ve got something that looks like it requires an exorcism to remove, just let that cleaning solution soak into the evil for a few minutes.
After I wipe out the fridge, I like to use some window cleaner with a paper towel to shiny things up.
So back to the stuff you’ve got on the counter. You know the drill, only we just have a few categories this time. Pitch and keep.
The stuff to pitch. This is the salad dressing that expired 3 years ago. The green curry that you purchased for a recipe last year. The shriveled carrots. Oh, you know what I’m talking about.
The stuff you’re going to keep is now the stuff you’re going to organize. You may be itching to run off to the Container Store but hold off. Unless you’re okay with spending boo-koo bucks on soda organizers.
First, I want to encourage you to dial back the bulk when you’re shopping. If you are a household of one or two, I beg you, please don’t buy the two pack mondo sized Ranch dressing from Costco. I know, I know. The price is sooooooo good. Well, it’s not budget-friendly if you end up throwing out half of it because you can’t consume it quickly enough.
Next, group like with like. Garlic and fresh ginger. Hamburger condiments. Cheeses. Produce.
I put these items in plastic bins that I purchase from the Dollar Store. It’s inexpensive, colorful, and makes organizing a snap. You don’t need expensive organizers!
I also use baskets in my freezer. Veggies go in one. Smoothie ingredients in another.
Things that are used infrequently are stored in the back. Leftovers have their own little spot toward the front so I remember to use them. By the way, if you know you’re not going to eat them, pop them in the freezer for a grab and go lunch on another day.
That’s what I have for you today so now, go Unclutter Your Life!
Theresa Winn Lode loves finding cheapskate ways to organize and feels like a total goddess if she can eat all the spring mix before it goes bad. Find her at www.theresalode.com or on her YouTube channel.