Photo by Food Network

If you’ve ever attempted to clean out and reorganize your refrigerator, it can be a daunting task. Here are Joan’s seven steps to making it a more manageable project.

1. Set up a coolers or cooler bags next to the refrigerator and empty the contents of your fridge into them. As you are pulling stuff out, feel free to toss any items that are expired, moldy, unrecognizable etc.

2. Remove all shelves or drawers that are not fixed in place. Turn down the temperature or even turn it off while you work.

3. Scrub the walls, floor and ceiling of your refrigerator. A sponge and a little soapy water is usually all you need but if you have stains, Clean Mama recommends adding a little baking soda to your bucket, shown below.

Next, clean each fixed shelf and drawer, and then clean the shelves you removed. Wipe everything down with a dry cloth.

4. Mindfully replace any shelves or drawers you removed. Think about the types of items you store in your fridge and reconfigure your shelves to better suit your buying habits and enable you to store like with like.

I moved my fruit drawer up to eye level so we would be reminded to eat more fruit and hopefully avoid spoilage since we can see it.

5. Place some removable fridge liners (or make your own) in any areas that were sticky or icky, shown in this refrigerator from I Heart Organizing.

I bought some plastic placemats with a soft gray chevron print at HomeGoods and cut them to fit my shelves. I also added washable fridge liners to my fruit and veggie bin — so much easier than removing the drawers for cleaning.

6. Measure your shelves or drawers and shop for any storage containers that will help to create order in your fridge. This is very personal based on what foods you purchase and refrigerate on a regular basis, so you’ll have to give it some real thought. Draw it out on paper first if that helps.

I added the following storage features to my fridge (and found them all at HomeGoods):

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An egg keeper. It has a lid so I can actually stack other things on top as needed, without worrying about cracking my eggs, and I can see at a glance how many eggs I have left.

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A lettuce keeper. I rarely have room in the vegetable drawer for lettuce and all the other veggies to fit comfortably.

A bin for condiments. Now I can just pull the whole thing out on burger night and/or easily know where to look for the mayo and ketchup.

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A Lazy Susan. I have a place to hold all of my sauces that I add when cooking.

A bin for larger containers, such as pickle jars, salsa, etc., and a bin for breads.

7. Leave at least a half shelf (or full shelf, if you can) empty for items that need temporary refrigeration  a dessert you need to chill, meat that needs thawing overnight, tomorrow’s lunches or leftovers.

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Now, refill your fridge with all of your favorite foods and beverages and revel in the beauty of a clean and organized fridge!


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