The Clean Fridge Routine

Image from the Container Store.

Perhaps staying on top of cleaning is part of your New Years Resolution? We’ve got plenty of advice and tips for accomplishing that goal! But we recommend taking on any new challenge is small measurable goals. So rather than say I will keep my house spotless why not set aside a month or week to focus on a cleaning routine for each part of your house. Or for a part of your messiest rooms?

The kitchen comes to our mind when we think of rooms that we spend a lot of time in and might need to the most attention. It is the heart of the home, where you cook (and usually eat) meals, where you sit and catch up over coffee, where you heal after a fight. So the kitchen seems like a logical place to start tackling. We’ve already covered how to organize your cabinets (see our tips here), speed clean your kitchen in 15 minutes (read the post here), how to clean your oven (read here)… and your small appliances (read here). So today we wanted to share some tips for cleaning and organizing your refrigerator!

When it comes to cleaning out your fridge we’ve got some general tips:

  • Clean your fridge at least once a month, maybe give it a light bi-weekly clean as well.
  • When you do clean up your fridge do it right before a big grocery trip when it is closer to empty.
  • Pull out everything and check all the dates. Be sure to compost all truly expired or bad food.
  • Make a list of goods that started to go bad before you ate or came close to finishing them. Take this list with you to the store as a reminder not to over buy!
  • Pull out as many drawers and shelves as you can and wash them in your sink rather than trying to wash them in your fridge.
  • Save energy while cleaning your fridge out and turn it off!
  • Pick an organizational system that works for you. These posts by Goodbye House Hello Home and Organizing Homelife are amazing inspiration! Organizing Homelife’s tutorial even includes free printable labels! The Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond have great organizational systems!

But we’ve also got a cleaning routine to get you started:

  1. Pull out everything from the fridge, all the food, condiments, shelves, and drawers. Turn off the fridge to save energy.
  2. Use an all-purpose cleaner to mist the inside surfaces. Close the door and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Start a sink (or heck use your bathtub) of warm soapy water and soak the shelves and drawers in it. Or if you don’t have a bathtub or a large sink fill the drawers with soapy warm water and mist the shelves with all-purpose spray. Let it sit while you sort food.
  4. Using a trash bag, recycling bin, and composting bin sort your food. Food that is expired or bad gets composted. Containers that are recyclable go in the recycling bin, and all else gets trashed (hopefully this is little).
  5. For condiments you are keeping wipe off sticky residue with a damp sponge or towel.
  6. After sorting take a soft sponge or cleaning cloth and wipe out the inside of your fridge. If you need a little more elbow grease you could use a sponge with a mild scrubbing side or make a paste of baking soda and water to scrub out hardened food (yuck!).
  7. Take a damp cloth and give the inside of the fridge another pass over removing excess cleaner and food. Then take a dry cloth and dry off the inside.
  8. Wash the soaking shelves and drawers of the fridge. Dry off the shelves and drawers and place back inside the fridge.
  9. If you are using some organizational bins fill those with their proper contents before putting them away in the fridge. Group items in an orderly way as you put them back in your refrigerator. Check out these tips for storing food logically!
  10. Wipe down the exterior of the fridge, paying special attention to the handle.
  11. Relax and enjoy a sparkling clean fridge! We recommend doing this cleaning once every month or two, and maybe just spot clean weekly or bi-weekly!

Pretty simple right? Well once it becomes part of your routine it will be. Fridges are so hard to clean because often we let an entire year go by without wiping them down. Periodic cleanings will reduce your time spent on your fridge in the long run! What is your New Year’s resolution?

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