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Spring Cleaning for Your Fridge

It’s the time of year when many give their home a good scrub. After a winter’s worth of holing up in your house, things can get pretty cluttered and messy – fridge included. If you have salad dressings from the Bush administration, or aren’t sure where all your Tupperware has gone, it’s time to clean out the ol’ ice box.

Whether you have only ten minutes or are determined to make Mr. Clean proud, we have some tips on how to get your fridge clean – and keep it that way. But remember to move quickly, as that open door will waste a lot of electricity! And don’t forget to throw on some upbeat tunes for motivation – check out our playlist of upbeat songs, they’re sure to help.

For a quick clean:

The most important part is, unfortunately, the hardest – getting rid of the old food. In addition to throwing out old leftovers, moldy yogurt, or questionable produce, make sure you check the dates on products with long shelf lives. While many processed foods do last a while, those dates can sneak up on you, especially if the item isn’t regularly used.

Check out Health Canada’s Food Safety guidelines for info on storing leftovers, safe food handling practices, and more.

For a moderate clean:

After throwing out old food, there should probably be a bit more space; now is the perfect time to wipe up any spills! If you aren’t up for emptying the fridge, shuffle items to wipe down sections at a time.

If you have wire racks for shelves, now may be a good time to throw in some place mats; they’ll be easier to clean next time.

For a heavy-duty clean:

If you’re willing to empty out everything, every fridge could surely use a thorough clean. That means taking out drawers and shelves and washing them, and wiping down the walls and door (remember to use food-safe cleaners, like baking soda or vinegar!).

Sound a bit overwhelming? This WikiHow article breaks it down nicely.

Tips for keeping it organized:

Now that your fridge is clean and shiny (to some degree), what are some easy ways to keep it like that? There are all kinds of tips and tricks out there, but here are some of our favourites:

– Get a lazy susan for condiments. It keeps them from getting shoved to the back and unnecessarily replaced.

– Keep masking (or Washi!) tape and a pen near the fridge to mark when items were opened, made, or should be used by.

– Use shallow boxes or baskets to organize some items – foods that will expire soon, go-tos, or handy snacks, for example. If you make a lot of, say, sandwiches, why not make a little basket of all your favourite fixings? Just remember not to store raw meat and veggies together!

– Know what needs to be refrigerated! Don’t take up precious shelf space with items that can be stored elsewhere. Check out this Lifehackers list for what can be left out.