Do you want to deep clean your refrigerator once and for all and never have to do it again? I know that for many of you, having to clean and organize your refrigerator is an eye-rolling task you’d rather put off as much as possible. But when it is done, it is beautiful.
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Organizing Your Refrigerator
Over the years, I have organized my refrigerator countless times trying to find the best solution to keeping it organized and clean.
And finally, I have found a way to do that and it only requires a couple of minutes of work every week. Not only have I been able to keep it clean and neat but I have also saved some money.
How? Well, let’s get started with the steps below for cleaning your refrigerator. Then, I’ll give you the tips you need for keeping it clean long-term and perhaps save you a little money as well.
Note: The electric component of my fridge light shorted out years ago so the pictures may look a little dim.
Have a Cleaner Handy
Ok, so first things first. You will need some sort of cleaner to disinfect and sanitize your entire fridge. Have this ready so you don’t keep your refrigerated goods out of the fridge longer than you need to.
I make my own cleaner that works and smells great. Here is that recipe if you would like to try it out:
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of Castille soap with lavender (or any other scent you prefer).
Purge your Refrigerator
Do not empty the entire refrigerator. Again, we don’t want to leave refrigerated stuff out for too long. Just empty one section at a time. Go through your items and toss any expired or spoiled foods.
After emptying a section, spray it down with your cleaner and let it sit while you purge through your items. Anything that is going to go back in the fridge, make sure to wipe them down well removing any stickiness and crumbs.
Once done, go back and wipe down the section of the fridge you sprayed earlier. If you have removable bins and shelves, then take them out to clean behind and/or under them.
Adding a Liner
Where possible, add a liner to prevent a major clean-up job and keep your fridge maintenance to a minimum.
If liners are not in your budget. You can line sections with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
Adding a liner, especially in fruit and vegetable drawers, can go a long way to keeping them clean. There’s always that one fruit that spoils and if you don’t catch it in time, you are left with a sticky to clean.
You will also want to line the part of your fridge that you use to defrost your meats. If you’ve ever purchased meat from the supermarket you know how nasty the bottom of these trays can be.
And don’t be fooled by a tightly wrapped frozen chicken. If there is even one teeny tiny pinhole on that wrapper, you will have a gooey mess on your hands once it thaws out.
Organize Your Refrigerator
When placing items back, I place them where they are convenient for my family and me.
I place condiments and sauces I hardly use towards the back of the fridge instead of in the door. This lets me put more stuff on the door shelves that I do use often like milk.
I know, I know. You are not supposed to put the milk in the door. But the way my family goes through milk, I assure you, it never goes bad.
Use bins like these to corral small food and loose items and lazy Susans are great when you don’t want to have to reach all the way to the back of the fridge.
Here are pics of my fridge and freezer clean and organized.
Personally, I put anything in the freezer that doesn’t come in a sealed wrapping into Ziploc bags (like Eggo waffles) just as an extra precaution to keep foods from absorbing odors.
Naturally, you’ll want to place an open carton of baking soda toward the back of your fridge and freezer. Then every month, throw this away and replace it with another new box.
You can also check out these tips by my friend, Jamie at Homelization, who has 12 ways to remove odors from your refrigerator.
Once you organize your refrigerator, it’s time to do your freezer. Follow the same steps as above including the baking soda treatment.
I like to keep a couple of boxes in here since many of the foods kept in here tend to be stored there longer.
Outside of the Refrigerator
When you are done cleaning the inside of the fridge and organizing its contents, go ahead and clean the outside parts as well.
First, clean the ice cube/water dispenser if you have one. Then clean between the folds of the gaskets. I like to spray them down with my cleaner and then run a cloth-covered finger down the folds.
Sanitize the handles and wipe down the doors. If you have a stainless steel fridge, then apply the appropriate cleaner like this one to get the outside of the fridge sparkly clean.
- replace liners, paper towels, or dishcloths once a month or more if they get gunky
- before replacing liners, give the shelves a quick wipe down
- before a big shopping day: purge any old leftovers
- don’t overstuff your fridge (see below)
- deal with accidental spills or spoiled foods quickly
Keeping my refrigerator organized allows me to see “everything”. This is key to saving money. So let’s look at some things you can do to avoid overstuffing your refrigerator and save you some money.
- Create a meal plan. Doing this will help you stick to those foods you plan on using. It will also help with your shopping list. Click here if you would like to use my free mini menu planner. It keeps me from having to buy things we do not need for the week.
- Start taking notes on how long it takes you to go through a frequently-used refrigerated item. Now, I’m a regular couponer so I love stocking up on good sales but it doesn’t make sense to buy ten creamers if it takes me two weeks to get through one. Most sales items circulate every six weeks so plan accordingly.
- Put a limit on items that come in multiple flavors. One example is salad dressing. While I understand that some people like variety, try sticking to just two dressings. When one is finished then go ahead and replace it with a different flavor. That way, you can still enjoy different flavors without them expiring so soon and taking up needed space in your refrigerator.
- Don’t let food go to waste. If you see that a veggie starting to turn or wilt, make it part of that day’s meal. It’s okay to have a couple or three veggies for dinner.
- And finally, take inventory of your fridge/freezer as you create your shopping list. If you follow the above tips, your fridge should seem almost empty the day before your grocery shopping.
Ready to Organize?
Know someone who could use this post? Use the share buttons above and below this post to help them out with their refrigerator organization. For more organization in the kitchen, click the following posts:
So, how do you organize your refrigerator? Let us know by commenting below.
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Kim L Todd says
I have found Dollar Store place mats work great to line the shelves and drawers of my refrigerator. They are easy to clean, come in lots of patterns but mostly, it will cost you less than $10.00!
Thanks for the tip, Kim!