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Refrigerator Organization 101

Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2021
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

fridgeHow to clean the refrigerator in 12 easy steps!

Yuck! A messy fridge = big problems
Dislike finding mold on food that got pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten? Hate buying doubles of food items you already own? Tired of tossing produce because it expired before you had a chance to eat it? Sick of having to clean gooey messes off the refrigerator shelf? Fear that you’ll get food poisoning from eating something bad? Get organized and say goodbye to these typical issues related to refrigerator disorganization and clutter!

Prepping for the task
Great news! Organizing the refrigerator is not a difficult task – and there are some simple steps to take to ensure that it goes smoothly. To properly organize a “messy” refrigerator, all contents must be removed and examined. Expired and spoiled items are to be discarded. Refrigerated food products you wish to keep should be kept cool while cleaning your appliance. Having a cold cooler on hand while you organize can safeguard against spoilage and give you peace of mind that the items you wish to keep will stay fresh and cold. In addition, some cleaning supplies that allow you to wipe down and disinfect your shelves are important. This includes an all-purpose antibacterial cleaner such as Clorox Clean-Up Fridge, a clean sponge, disposable paper towels or washable cleaning cloths, and kitchen gloves. Window cleaner is also helpful for clear-glass shelving.

How the technique works
As contents are removed from the fridge, consider whether they should be tossed or kept, and whether containers and bottles can be cleaned and reused or recycled per area regulations. Indicators that items may be tossed include, food covered with mold, products that exceed their expiration dates, things that smell bad, mystery items that are unlabeled, foods not properly sealed, and so forth. Examples of contents worthy of keeping include fresh food items recently purchased, properly stored and safe to eat leftovers, and refrigerator-shelf stable items such as ketchup, mustard, and salad dressing that are not expired.

12 easy steps to cleaning out the refrigerator:
1) Unplug your refrigerator unit or turn the temperature down.
2) Remove all contents.
3) Quickly decide what to keep and what gets discarded. Have a sturdy trash bag ready for use for food waste, and when possible, use your garbage disposal for discards. Discard old food items.
4) Temporarily place food items you wish to keep inside your iced cooler.
5) Clean and disinfect refrigerator interior. Wipe and dry shelves, doors, handles, and drawers. Whenever possible, take out and wash and dry removable parts before putting back in place. Sticky stuff may require hot water and soap, or some elbow grease.
6) Once your fridge interior is entirely clean, readjust shelving as needed and line shelves and drawers with refrigerator friendly shelf liner for protection.
7) Place a box of Fridge-n-Freezer baking soda inside to keep things fresh.
8) Plug refrigerator back into the outlet or turn refrigerator temperature back to desired temperature.
9) Consider using organizational products, plasticware, and other items to help you group like items together. For example, use a slide out bin to hold loose yogurt containers.
10) Reintroduce items you want to keep back into the refrigerator. Carefully stage your fridge by grouping like items (lunch meat, cheeses, etc.) together for easy retrieval. Be sure to make use of your refrigerator’s special features such as a butter compartment or vegetable drawer.
11) If needed, stack cans and other goods sideways to maximize space and place perishable in sturdy produce and herb storage containers, designed to prolong the life of your food.
12) Clean the outside and top of the fridge per manufacturer’s instructions. Methods may vary depending upon the refrigerator’s exterior features, such as stainless steel, glass, polycarbonate, etc. Don’t forget to change filters as needed, too!

Tips per the CDC:
-Wash shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts by hand with hot soapy water, then dry with a clean towel.
– Never run cold glass shelves or drawers under hot water because the glass could crack. Let them come to room temperature first
– You can create your own sanitizing solution by mixing 1 Tablespoon of liquid bleach and 1 gallon of water. Disinfect the fridge with the solution after wiping the refrigerator with hot, soapy water first.
– Wash your hands when done cleaning. And wash towels you used to clean or dry the fridge.

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