Justine Harrington on January 6, 2018 0 Comments 9 Cleaning Tips Everyone Should Know Even for the non-cooks among us, your refrigerator is undoubtedly one of the most frequently used appliances in your home. (Hey, you gotta have somewhere to store all those Chinese takeout meals, right?) Everyone in your family uses the fridge, which means it likely sees more activity than any other appliance in your kitchen. Considering this, it’s no wonder that refrigerators can get so cluttered, disorganized, and downright dirty. Don’t worry, this happens to all of us. Even the most organized and cleanest cooks! Here’s the thing, though — don’t you just feel instantly better when your fridge is clean, well-stocked, and free of foul-smelling food? Of course, you do! It’s incredibly satisfying to stare into a pristine-looking fridge. And who knows, you may even feel more inspired to play chef when you’re gazing upon rows of catalogued condiments and bins of perfect produce. Below, we’ve put together a list of tips to help inspire you to (finally) clean your fridge, as well as how to keep it organized once you’re done. 1) Clean & Purge Your Fridge This is the stage of the game that can’t be avoided. Before you get started with best practices for organizing, it’s time to do a serious clean-up job. Empty the entire fridge, purge any old or icky-smelling food items, and wipe down every surface, nook, and cranny. Wipe down all the items in your fridge that have been there for a while, too, like condiments. Don’t skimp on cleaning any of your fridge’s bins or drawers, either! Simply put them in the sink and lather them up with warm water and soap. And hey, you know that seam that keeps the cold in your fridge? Make sure you clean inside of it, and try to wipe it down at least once a week. 2) Keep Soon-to-be-Expired Items Up Front So, now you’ve got a clean fridge sans expired products – what’s your next step? Before you even begin to put everything back inside, try to store the most perishable items in the front of the fridge. This way, you’ll see them and hopefully use them. Or, at the very least, you won’t find mold growing in the dark depths of your refrigerator! 3) Line Your Shelving With Plastic Wrap No, it’s not the most attractive organizational tool in the world, but plastic wrap can save your fridge from leaks and spills. By using plastic wrap to line your shelves, you simply remove the wrap and replace it, rather than cleaning out your entire fridge. 4) Group Food Items by Type Whatever you do, don’t put your mustard behind two cartons of coffee creamer, and the ketchup tucked behind that old bottle of orange juice! Keep all your condiments in one place, and make sure that you’re grouping all other items by type, as well: dairy, meat, produce, etc. This will make it easier to locate everything, as well as keep your fridge neat and organized. Plus, this helps to avoid contamination – for instance, if your chicken ends up spilling, it won’t contaminate that basket of veggies you just got from the farmer’s market. If you really want to get organized and stay on top of your game when it comes to grouping food items: you could always invest in a few baskets or bins, and place appropriate labels on them. Don’t knock it until you try it! 5) Get Rid of Old Food Every Week This one is a biggie. Before your weekly grocery trip, go through your fridge and discard any uneaten leftovers, expired produce, or anything else in there that’s clearly seen better days. Try to do this on the same day each week, so that you’re more apt to make it a habit. Cleaning out your fridge every week can also give you a much clearer picture of what you need at the store, and what you should start buying less of. And, while we’re on the topic of getting rid of food… 6) Make a Meal Plan So, what does meal planning have to do with keeping your refrigerator organized, you ask? Well, when you take the time to create a meal plan each week, you’re much more liable to only buy the food that you need – which results in less food that you throw away! Make a meal plan before you head to the store each week, and don’t forget to check your fridge to see what ingredients you may already have. 7) Store Your Raw Meat on the Bottom Shelf Trust us, you don’t want to deal with your meat cross-contaminating the other items in your fridge! By placing any meat (or fish) on the bottom, you can save yourself from having to wipe down and clean every shelf, should any juices from the meat drip down. Side Note: Make sure to store eggs and milk on the top shelf; this will help keep them cooler. 8) Don’t Put Anything in the Fridge That Doesn’t Need to be Cooled Some fruits and/or veggies (we’re looking at you, tomatoes and potatoes!) don’t need to be kept in the fridge. Keep your refrigerator space as de-cluttered as possible by storing items that don’t need to be cooled elsewhere. 9) Wipe the Outside of Your Fridge Daily Sure, we often think to wipe down our counters or stove every day, but when was the last time you cleaned the outside of your refrigerator? Do a quick wipe of the front of your fridge and the handles when you’re cleaning off your counters for the night. It’ll just take an extra thirty seconds or so, and your refrigerator will continue to stay in tip-top shape! Keep in mind, that some appliances may require special care or a product for cleaning, such as a stainless steel fridge. Do you have any other tried-and-true tricks for keeping your refrigerator clean and organized? Let us know in the comments below!