Cleaning & Organizing

How to Clean Out Your Fridge Like an Amateur

If you’ve read my article on How to Clean Your Kitchen in Less than an Hour then you know that I’m a naturally messy person. I’ve been this way my entire life and it is a daily struggle to remind myself to be neat and tidy.

Honestly when I start, thing usually end up going pretty well… for a while. But life or schedule changes happen which throw me off my rhythm and it all goes down the drain.

I’m not a normal person who sees clutter. I usually don’t even notice that it is there until it is so bad that I can’t stand it anymore. Way past, I’m sure, what a normal person’s threshold is.

To give you an update on my kitchen, I cleaned it Monday and now its Friday and my kitchen has been holding up pretty well this week. It is still clean and I’ve been better at running the dishwasher.

One of my issues with dishes is that as a family of 2, we don’t really create a lot of dirty dishes. We both work full time and he isn’t home every day which usually means it’s just me and at that point I don’t have a real dinner or eat something out of the packaging or container I cooked it in. Which means that I run out of silverware and pots & pans before I do plates and bowls leaving my dishwasher empty most of the time.

I’ve determined that I need to run it even when it isn’t “completely” full. But when it is full enough. Otherwise I run out of pots or silverware and end up pulling them out of the dishwasher and washing them by hand (which I hate doing).

I also want to get into the habit of cooking more to save money and eat healthier. If I cook more, I’ll have more dishes which means I’ll be able to run my dishwasher more frequently than once per week. And trust me having dirty dishes sit in your dishwasher for a week is super gross.

Today is Friday which for me means meal planning day. I naturally fell into planning on Fridays for two reasons, first, the free item coupon for Kroger comes out every friday and second, the farmers market happens on Saturday mornings.

Before I go shopping I’m planning on tackling the fridge, freezer, and pantry. I haven’t cleaned out the fridge since I moved into this apartment about 4 months ago. Cleaning it out will also make room for all my new things that I’ll be bringing in tomorrow!

Here are the steps that I took to clean out the fridge!

Step 1: Prep the area

Take out the trash and grab cleaning supplies. Honestly. I didn’t complete this step and I regretted it during the process. I had a really big bag (like one of those huge commercial trash bags) and it wasn’t full yet so I kept filling it. Now it’s too heavy/awkward so I’m making my bf take it out….

Do yourself a favor and take out the trash before you start or use a completely separate trash bag because let’s be honest, whatever you throw away from your fridge is probably going to stink.

Here is before picture of my fridge to give you an idea of my starting point


Step 2: Take everything out of the fridge

My fridge is super tiny (at least it feels that way compared to the fridge I had at my old place) and I have to constantly hunch over to see anything in it so I pulled everything out on the counters to save my back and a little electricity.

It always amazes me how many items you can pull out of a fridge. I forgot to take a picture of this step. Sorry everyone. The contents were enough to fill up my counters!

Step 3: Toss the Obvious

Toss any vegetables and fruits or leftovers that have gone bad. This is also a good time to check to see if you have double or expired condiments. Also toss anything you are not going to be using soon. If you haven’t used it by now are you really going to use it?

Step 4: Clean the racks and drawers

With my old fridge, which had glass shelving I would have pulled out the drawers and shelves to wash them. With this fridge, I have a wire rack and there wasn’t really anything on them so I left them in the fridge and gave them a quick wipe down.

I did however remove and clean the vegetable drawer. (side note: I hate this drawer. Because it is opaque I always forget that I have food in there! Ew)

Step 5: Clean the interior of the fridge

I was pretty lucky and there wasn’t anything too gross in my fridge this time. I have had some pretty scary spilled or overgrown experiments in the past.

Step 6: Put everything back

I did remember to take a picture of this step! Check it out. I have significantly less in my fridge! I even moved some of the shelving around to (hopefully) suit my needs better. We will see how it goes.

I had some items in my fridge that I knew I wanted to keep but also knew that I wasn’t going to get to immediately. Specifically in this case I had some stock that I made but I don’t have any plans on using it soon. So into some mason jars and into the freezer it went!

I had big ol’ plans of also cleaning out my freezer but it didn’t happen today. Next time.

I plan on completing the same steps I used to clean the fridge. I’ll update you all after I have completed it. I also have plans on creating an freezer inventory to help me keep track of what is in there. I do a bit of freezer cooking and frequently find myself pulling multiple items out and reading the labels to see if I have what I’m looking for. It would be nice to know before I go digging if what I’m looking for is in there or not.

That is my update for now. Until next time!

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