Keeping The Fridge Clean And Tidy

“Hey Babe!  When did we last eat (insert questionable food item here)?”

Oh if I never have to ask that question again my life, I’ll be a happy wife.  

Have you been here before?  You open the fridge and it is rather full, but there’s literally NOTHING edible inside?  The last time I deep cleaned my fridge, my husband walked over and opened the door only to voice “We have no food!  Where did all of our food go? It’s empty!!”

 
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All of our “food” was old leftovers, expired processed goodies, and there was something extremely questionable that was wedged between two shelves in the back that I am going to spare you from.

As you may already know, I am on a journey to change our way of managing food in our lives.

Over the past year, I’ve worked hard to convert our usual food habits and purchases to a real food approach and more sustainable way of eating and living.

But back to that ever loving fridge…

 
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keeping the fridge tidy, blog post, bare roots living health and wellness blog
 

I feel pretty confident in a lot of my food choices, meal planning and cooking abilities, but time has not exactly been on my side this past year, and if there’s one thing that always gets pushed aside it’s cleaning out the fridge.

My excuse has always been that I budget enough time to prepare a grocery list, do any form of meal prep, actually cook the food and my absolute least favorite, clean up afterwards.  Therefore my idea of cleaning out the fridge in the past has been to hopefully remember to pull all the leftover containers before I leave for the grocery store, if not I have to do it in the midst of putting food away.  

There was something about this one grocery trip though that just set me over the edge… My fridge looked “full” but I knew there was little to no food inside.  Something in me sorta snapped (Ron Weasley style) and next thing I knew I was pulling shelves, filling the sink with bubbles and one hour later, my fridge was squeaky clean.

Now, I KNOW all you Mom’s out there have been here before.  You clean the fridge (or other item in the house) and you literally walk around yelling to anyone who will listen, “No one go near the fridge! Got it? It’s clean!! Don’t spill anything in it, don’t breathe on it, better yet, just don’t touch the fridge!” No? Just me then.)

In all seriousness though, deep cleaning something takes time and muscle and we want it to stay that way for as long as possible.  Here are a few of my realistic and manageable tips for keeping the fridge tidy!

  1. If it’s dirty, start with a deep clean.  Empty shelves onto your kitchen counter, one at a time, and scrub, rinse, dry and then replace.  Most kitchen shelves should allow you to remove the glass and wash in between the cracks/layers.

  2. Remove old and expired food.  Pull a trash can or bag and place it immediately below the counter.  Put a big bowl on the counter. Processed foods that can’t be recycled, goes into the trash.  Old leftovers, go into the garbage disposal or bowl as appropriate, dump the bowl in the nearby wooded area, compost bin, or separate trash that you can double bag.

  3. Utilize organization containers. I have a few small organization containers that I place on two shelves, one holds all of my hard-boiled eggs, the others hold all container foods that don’t fit in the doors, such as yogurts, cottage cheese, etc.  This helps to keep things contained in their specific areas. You can use small bowls but containers designed for the fridge help to save space.

  4. Store leftovers and prepped foods in glass jars. It seems like something so small but it really does help!  Keeping food in easy to identify containers increases the likelihood that you’ll actually USE it before it goes to waste.  These Pyrex containers are my absolute favorite for leftovers and are stackable, saving space. Mason jars with reusable lids are perfect for chopped veggies and prepared salads.

  5. Store meats in a bowl/container.  Thanks to my Mom for this one.  Blood in a fridge is an instant yuck and major clean-up.  Even if the meat is in something that you don’t think will leak, set it in a bowl or container (not a bag), just to prevent big messes!

  6. Do a quick clean on grocery days and a deep clean monthly.  I’m going to start sounding like broken record in these blog posts, but routine, routine, routine.  IF possible, keep grocery day consistent every week. But regardless, clean out that fridge BEFORE you shop. If you wait until after, you’re going to feel exhausted from the hard work ofC grocery shopping, chopping (food that is), and putting away.  With this quick work weekly, your monthly deep clean should be a breeze!


WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

  • When you can see your food, you’re more likely to eat your food!

  • Keeping a tidy fridge, lessens the overwhelm of meal planning and prep

  • This allows other family members to have a better idea of what’s available for meals/snacks and help you more in easily with meal prep & cooking!

  • Eliminate waste and avoid buying duplicates