Cleaning the Refrigerator

I hate that this is my first post on a blog that is supposed to be a collection of creative ideas, but there are ways to be creative that help you accomplish tasks easier and quicker. These are some things that I do to clean the refrigerator quicker and better. I have been married for 26 years, have lived on my own for 28 and am at the tail end of raising 4 children. So through all that I have learned a few things about how to get things done right and done quickly.

Before you start consider some things. Cleaning the refrigerator is a dreaded task. Who wants to do it? Not me, but it is a necessary task. If you are a parent of small children include the kids. Then you are being a good parent and cleaning. Put some music on and have fun with it. Sing some songs. Do something to make this time enjoyable. I grabbed my tablet and cranked the tunes.

1. The Beginning
Fill your sink with hot soapy water or add your favorite cleaner. Place some thick towels on the counter for refrigerator shelves to dry on and a towel to use to dry contents. The best way to get the fridge clean is to empty it of all contents and all the shelves and drawers. It’s just easier to get in and wipe the entire thing when everything is out. I used to take the contents out and wipe the shelves and drawers but I think it’s harder to get the shelves and drawers clean this way and you can’t get to all the little corners and creases.

I start by emptying a section of the inside door at a time. I take the contents out of a shelf and place them on the counter. I group these items together. This way when I am done I know what items I had in what shelf. I can easily place them back in the same position they were in before. If you really want to get this done right you can take a picture of the fridge before emptying. This will give you an idea of how things go back together. This might seem silly, but if you are doing this with a household of activity it’s amazing what can happen between the beginning of this project and the end.

2. Clean with a Trash Can

Whenever I clean anything in the house I get a garbage bag or trash can ready. This prompts me to throw things away and keeps me from becoming a hoarder. We have many things in our home that are old, irreparable and that just need to go. In the picture you can see that I put a small trash can on a stool next to the refrigerator door. This prompted me to sort through the contents and throw away items. I consider these questions as my guide:

If you don’t remember when you bought it, throw it away. If you look at something and wonder what meal you bought that for, it’s time to throw it away. If an item is still good and can be used in a recipe, then find a way to use it. You can find a recipe online that uses that ingredient. Groceries are just expensive these days. Let’s use what we have.

3. I empty contents of each shelf onto the counter. If an item is sticky I will quickly wipe it off. Yes, I wipe off jars in the fridge. Why? The kids won’t use jars that are sticky and sometimes I notice myself thinking things are old if they are sticky. Just grab a cloth, get it wet and give the item a quick wipe. As I empty each shelf I clean the shelf in the warm water in my sink. I have always found that the warm water and a sponge get off sticky messes quickly. I immediately place each shelf on the towel to dry and keep going until the entire fridge is empty. Then it will be easy to wipe the inside of the fridge clean. If there are a lot of crumbs you might wipe them out with a rag and then sweep the floor. Once the surface is free of crumbs then try using a moistened paper towel to wipe the interior. I have many mysterious things in my fridge and it’s easier to get that out with a wet paper towel. Mysterious as in we have children and a black Labrador. Who knows what is where. I don’t want to know. I just clean it.

4. Look at that Trash! I managed to accumulate a whole bag of trash. How was that really in my fridge? I don’t know, but I am glad it’s gone. I am proud of the results. An organized refrigerator, at least temporarily, that is clean.

5. When I finished cleaning the fridge recently I found pieces that had fallen off. I have learned over the years, and after making my husband mad, to gently and simply put these pieces in a storage baggie. Unless of course you know where they go and how to put them back on. I don’t, so I safely store them until we do place them where they go.

Tips for down the road:
To make this process easier follow the Navy way of–clean as you go.
I typically keep most of my leftovers in storage bags.
I clean out the fridge each week after I get groceries. Throwing away leftovers and empty containers and so on. Having leftovers in storage bags makes that easy.
I clean up big spills and messes as they happen.
This all helps to make a full cleaning go faster.

Good luck. Try to have fun. It’s only going to last less than an hour. Before you know it you will be on to bigger and better things.