This one in particular is near and dear to my heart. I love the feeling of peace and control that I have with a decently well-organized fridge, and a system for getting it back that way when it inevitably gets a little crazy in there.
I was going to say “How to get your fridge sparkly clean in 2 minutes flat” but that just wouldn’t be accurate. It’s actually three. I timed myself.
So I started out with this:
I let it get extra terrible on purpose this time so I could really test myself.
So let’s do this! Let’s break this down! Here we go!
Grab an empty grocery bag or whatever you want to use for garbage. There’s going to be a lot of it. Don’t bother trying to throw it all into the kitchen garbage. If you’re like me, it’s probably fairly close to full anyway and you’ll just end up getting annoyed.
Go through your shelves one by one and start taking out whatever doesn’t need to be in there any more. If it’s a pot full of leftover soup, just leave it on the counter, if it’s trash, put it in the trash. If it’s recyclable, put it on the counter too after you’ve emptied out the contents into the trash or compost. This will take you no more than a minute if you just get to it! For real!
Ok, so now your fridge is empty. Go shopping for more food.
Just kidding! We’re going to go travelling though. Take that grocery bag that’s now bursting full and take it out to wherever you put your trash. If it’s more than a 30 second walk away, it’s too far! Take your recycling too and toss that in the bin/box. Now grab any liquidy stuff that you weren’t able to get rid of in the trash (like that pot of soup) and dump it in the toilet. Am I the only one who does this? Well, you should do it too. It’s weird, but it works!
Go back to your fridge and give it a little tidy. Do a little wipe here and there. Put things where you want them. That’s it! Your fridge is done!
So this is what you’re saying now: “But wait… Courtenay.. um.. my fridge still isn’t sparkly clean. And yours isn’t either to tell you the truth. Where are the fancy matching shelf liners? Where are the pretty bottles of water all lined up for a photo shoot?”
Hate to tell ya, but this is a real-life actual fridge. And yours probably is too! The one extra secret you need to know is that I clean my fridge, for just 3 minutes, at exactly the same time every week. So it’s not about 3 minutes. It’s about 3 minutes over and over and over again. This week I might have less trash and spend a little more time polishing stuff. Next week, I might organize the stuff in the door.
Without fail though, every week when I do this little 3 minute thing, I end up feeling so much better about the whole fridge situation. Honestly, too, about my ability to figure out what to feed my family! So the repetition is where the (relatively) sparkly part comes in.
Here are some other little tips that make it get better and better and better each week when I clean it.
I have this basket that I used to keep pre-cut snacks in. I kinda got lazy with that, but I did end up finding a good use for it. It’s great to have an easy place to toss all those oddly shaped veggies and stuff. It keeps them visible and easy to access and they don’t end up as science experiments in the crisper, or taking up the whole bottom shelf.
For the crispers, I just keep large items in there that can’t easily be forgotten: bags of potatoes and bags of milk. On a side note: Why do we still have milk in bags here?
I have some tea towels that I use to keep under any meat that I fear might get leaky and make a weird mess. I wash them in super hot water when I’m done with them. I was lazy and didn’t put it under the bacon when I bought it and I ended up having to get some disinfectant stuff to wipe that area down.
So that’s really all it takes! If you’ll do this every week for just three minutes and not leave it for a month at a time, I guarantee you’ll have a much more peaceful relationship with your fridge.
The Creek Line House, repairing relationships between appliances and their owners since 2013!
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.