Cleaning out your fridge and keeping it organized can be such a task — you have to take everything out of the fridge, wipe it down, throw away 3-week-old sushi and try to get rid of that oh-so-rank smell. It doesn’t always have to be a challenge. Follow these 10 rules, and your fridge will stay clean and organized all the time (and it might help to clean out your fridge more than just once a month too).
1. Avoid spills with plastic wrap
When that inevitable spill happens, you have to take the majority of your groceries out of the fridge, get the bleach cleaner and then clean it up. An easier way to cut down on cleaning time is to cover each shelf with plastic wrap, and when a spill happens, all you’ll have to do is take off the plastic wrap and replace it. It makes for a quicker cleanup time. If you don’t want to cover the entire shelf in plastic wrap, then you can just put it on spots where you have foods that are prone to spillage.
2. Keep like ingredients together
Don’t put your ketchup on the door of the fridge and the mustard behind the four cartons of milk. Make sure you keep all your condiments (jam, ketchup, mustard, etc.) together in one place; that goes for other ingredients as well.
3. Rotate your ingredients
Before you go grocery shopping, make sure to throw out old and moldy things that have been expired for days. You should also push everything that was hiding in the back up to the front so you can use those ingredients before they go bad.
4. Don’t mix foods
Do not put your milk, veggies and meats all in the same place — please try to avoid contamination as best as you can. You can put your veggies in the draws of your fridge (because they have a higher temp than the rest of the fridge), put your milk on the first or second shelf and put your meats at the bottom. If the chicken or proteins end up spilling, it won’t end up on the rest of your groceries.
5. Keep organized with containers
You can buy containers to put in your fridge — keep all your veggies in one place, keep all your deli meats in one place, etc. You can also put labels on each container so you know where everything is in your fridge.
6. What to store on the door of your fridge
Did you know that different areas of your refrigerator are colder than others? It is best to keep condiments such as jam, ketchup and sauces on the door of your fridge. Do not keep any juice, milk or dairy products there because it’s not cold enough to keep them fresh. Trust us, no one likes lukewarm milk — yuck!
7. Don’t put all your fruits and veggies in your fridge
Some veggies and fruits, such as potatoes or tomatoes, don’t have to be kept in the fridge. If it can be left on the countertop, then leave it there. Your fridge will be less cluttered that way.
8. Don’t overbuy
Before you go to the market, make a list of things you need, and check your fridge to make sure you don’t already have those ingredients. Then go shopping. This way, you won’t have three containers of cream cheese in your fridge with no bagels to go with them.
9. Buy activated carbon for your fridge
Keep an open bottle of activated carbon (you can find it at any pet store) in your fridge to absorb bad odors. It’s way more effective than a box of baking soda.
10. Clean your fridge once a week
It’s better to get in there and clean your fridge every week (OK, maybe every two weeks), as this will avoid having to do a massive cleanup. Wipe down the fridge, throw out what’s expired, and make sure everything is organized — it’s that simple.