Some of us have overstocked refrigerators and freezers in desperate need of an overhaul, and some of us have a handle on them. But it’s probably all of us that don’t enjoy the cleaning upkeep, no matter what! Check out some tips for cleaning and organizing the ice box that will hopefully save you time and frustration in the long run.
- Appliance Type & Features
If you can replace your refrigerator, this is something you might want to do to help you with long-term cleaning and organization.
Something not often thought about that’s a wonderful tip is to replace a fridge with wire shelves for a fridge with flat glass shelves. The number one reason for this is that nothing falls through from one shelf to another. Food scraps, crumbs, meat juices, and spills stay on one shelf where they’re more easily cleaned!
Newer refrigerators also often have well-thought out compartments that help organize your perishables and no broken or bulky bits and pieces from the days of refrigerators past. Likewise, newer refrigerators have freezers that don’t need thawing out and the cooling system will work better as some older models now randomly freeze things that are shoved to the back. Also to mention, a refrigerator that’s 10 years old is actually harmful to the planet and a new one with Energy Saving features will save approximately $1,000 in its lifetime.
A swanky new French Door Refrigerator is a top prize for some kitchens too. This popular style has been around a long time but seems to be making a comeback in popularity due to pure function in a busy household, not just aesthetics. It has side by side top doors and all of your things are more eye-level, so no more bending for the crisper drawers. The freezer is a pull out drawer at the bottom. This is great for cleaning and keeping an eye on what needs to be tossed.
One last word on appliance type is about side by side refrigerator/freezer combos. These can take up less space when the door is opened if your kitchen is cramped. Smaller children cannot reach the top shelves, so you can place things there. And food that goes into the freezer portion of a side by side has less chance of being buried and forgotten. You can organize, clean spills, and move things around easier instead of just closing the door in frustration and order takeout.
- Keeping Up With The Messes
Don’t put that spill or splatter or dropped lettuce off. Ever. As frustrating as it is, grab a wet cloth and wipe up everything the moment you spot it. The time invested in this is 20 – 60 seconds on a daily or weekly basis instead of tearing apart the entire fridge and scrubbing stuck on gunk which takes significantly longer. Having a wet cloth handy at all times in the kitchen is never a bad idea! They’re easily tossed every night (or when soiled) into the hamper.
- Stopping The Mess Before It Starts
Put a little thought and effort into investing in new organizers that will eliminate or contain messes that ultimately happen every week. If you constantly have splashes and spills from the same food items or containers, get organized! A liner in the crisper drawer and several short-sided plastic tubs to toss messy bags of food in will contain the spills and easily rinse out on as needed.
New, spill proof pitchers if you enjoy your cold coffee, tea, and juice will lower frustration immensely. If your deli meats or hot dogs are spilling juices, use plastic, lidded containers. Try the thrift store first! There are also some amazing glass containers if you prefer them, both vintage and new, decorative or purely utilitarian.
- Bringing Home The Goods
Before you put your newly purchased groceries away in the refrigerator and freezer, four simple tips will greatly help you in the long run. Once you get used to doing this and are doing so on every shopping day, it will take just moments to accomplish.
KEEP INVENTORY/PLAN IN ADVANCE. The point of this is that you’ll use up older food items from the fridge and freezer if you don’t go off to the grocery store not knowing what you already have available. This will affect your long-term organization positively, removing frustration and extra take out bills as well.
CLEAN FIRST. Grab expired items to toss, leftovers you’ll never use should go into the compost bucket, etc. Remove them from the fridge and freezer before you pack your new perishables away so you’ll have plenty of room to move things around in there when you need something. You’ll have space to wipe up messes without having to remove everything, and the organization will help you find things fast and keep your take out bill lower.
ORGANIZE AS YOU GO. Put newly purchased items in the back or off to one side of both the refrigerator and freezer compartments, pulling the older items forward or to the side. You’ll be much more organized and will easily see what needs to be consumed first. Your frustration will lower as things won’t be sliding out on your feet when you open the doors and try to look through what you have. Meal planning will be so much easier when you’re organized!
PREPARE FOODS AND USE ORGANIZERS
If you’re frustrated by empty cardboard boxes in the fridge from those cans of sparkling water, you can remove them and place them on the shelf in seconds.
Preparing snacks and food items in advance can also help you. Grab snack or salad veggies like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli heads, remove them from packaging, wash them, slice if needed, and put them in a covered veggie tray or other lidded containers.
Something else to consider if you use frozen meats, you can separate frozen chicken breasts or other items by how many you’ll need for the planned meal, and put them in an easy to grab baggie or container instead of fighting with removing a large bag that’s buried in the freezer on dinner day.
We hope you’ve found some of these tips useful and wish you the organized fridge of your dreams! Please stop by our services pages and see how we can help you get clean and organized around the rest of your home.