Thanksgiving has come and gone, and your stomach isn’t the only thing that got filled up with gravy – so did your refrigerator! We hardly have time to recover from Thanksgiving before we need to start thinking about Christmas, New Years, and other holidays and festivities that happen this time of year! That’s why you should start planning in advance – and not just when it comes to gift shopping. Your Thanksgiving leftovers are taking up so much room in your refrigerator that you won’t have room for Christmas cookies, Hannukah latkes, or other festive dishes!
Use this opportunity to finally sort through all of those empty containers, clean up those stains, reorganize your produce, and dispose of that mystery sauce that hasn’t been opened in months and is starting to look suspiciously green.
So, Where Should You Start?
1. Empty Every Shelf
Start off by taking everything – yes, everything – out of your fridge. If you’re worried about your milk or other perishables being out while you get down to business cleaning, you can fill a cooler with ice and keep everything there while you clean.
2. Vacuum Time
This may not be what you had in mind when you thought refrigerator cleaning, but take a peek into those bottom drawers and far back corners. See that? Those crumbs? They’ve got to go! Get out your vacuum and start sucking up all those long forgotten about crumbs and dried out vegetables. Make sure to reach low into the drawers and along all of the corners, edges, and other crumb magnets in your fridge.
3. Start Wiping
Now that you’ve cleared out even the smallest crumbs from your refrigerator, you’ve probably noticed a few spills or stains. Get an old towel or some paper towels to soak up any spilled liquid. Once everything is dried up, take disinfectant wipes or spray and give your entire fridge a good wipe down – yes, even in the drawers and shelves in the doors! You can even go all out and wipe the light for a clearer projection.
4. Throw Out Expired Food
Your refrigerator is officially move-in ready for all your food! Go back to that cooler bag and start sorting through your food. Whether it’s leftover pumpkin pie that has gone stale or sauce that came with the takeout you ordered six months ago and never threw out, you need to start disposing of inedible food. Your leftovers that have been sitting in there for a week may not have spoiled, but are you really planning on eating nothing but Turkey for a month because you have so much leftover? Sort through your food and throw out any food that has gone bad or that you know you’re never planning on eating. It’s already been taken out of your fridge – there’s no reason to put it back if you know it’s just taking up space. If you have anything unopened that hasn’t gone bad but you have no intention of eating, try donating it to a local homeless shelter, food kitchen, or food bank.
5. Wipe Down Your Containers
You now have a pile that consists only of food that you intend on restocking your fridge with. Take a wet cloth and wipe down the containers, jars, cans, and bags that you want to put back. Don’t let that smudge on your ketchup bottle get your newly cleaned refrigerator dirty and ruin all of your hard work!
6. Restock Time!
Looks like you’re ready to reclaim your refrigerator! Put all your food back into your newly cleaned refrigerator and enjoy the newfound organization!
Congratulations – Your Refrigerator Has Never Looked Better!
Your refrigerator has never looked or smelled better, and your food has never been more organized and accessible. Good work!
Between holidays isn’t the only time that this guide can come in handy! If you’re getting ready for a move, you might want to clean out your refrigerator too! Whether you’re cleaning it for the new tenants or planning on taking the fridge with you, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is your dirty refrigerator.
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