Have A Tidy Refrigerator With Just A Few Minutes A Day

If you dread the chore of a thorough washing of your refrigerator…and this should be done regularly (or it turns into one funky mess), here’s an easy way to avoid the big task:

EmptyBreak the job down into 10 minute daily chunks of time.

To get started, divide the fridge into a maximum of 7 sections:

  • The inside door
  • Each shelf counts as one section
  • Drawers
  • Outside

Each day tackle one section–wash the racks/shelves/drawers, all surrounding wall surfaces, toss expired food items and put everything back in a neat and organized manner. Top up with a fresh deodorizer as needed (see ideas below).

For the outside, wash the top (removing anything placed there) and scrub down all sides.

By keeping the sections to 7 or less, your appliance is thoroughly scrubbed each and every week (with minimal effort each day). Nice!

Easy Deodorizers

*First published April 18, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Keep things smelling fresh with one of these ideas:

  • An open box of baking soda or an open bowl/container filled with baking soda
  • A small muslin or cloth bag or open container filled with fresh coffee grounds
  • Keep an open container of charcoal briquettes in the fridge
  • Open dish with 1/2 cup baking soda and 2 TBS vanilla extract or 2 TBS lemon juice mixed in
  • A dab or two of vanilla extract on a cotton ball
  • Salt packed citrus shells: fill an empty orange, grapefruit or lemon shell with salt then put on a shelf in the back. The salt will help absorb nasty odors (see more info on this page).

Voila! Stale smelling odors are a problem no more!

Organizing Ideas

How many times has a bottle of sauce or jar of jam buried itself who-knows-where in the back of the fridge. No matter how many items you shuffle around, it refuses to be found until you start unpacking shelves. Another common problem is opening new containers or packages of food when an already opened one still needs to be finished up before it expires. What a waste!

Here are a few great ideas for managing the space better and each are simple to implement. I’ll be adding more goodies to this page as I find them ;).

Lazy Susan: Store jars and condiments on a turntable for easy access and to free up door space.

Storage Boxes: These are ideal for keeping similar items bundled together so you know just where to find them.

Liners: Flexible cutting mats can be cut down to size to line shelves and bins, remove for easy washing.

Soon To Expire Box: Toss items that are near their expiry date in this container so you know which items should be consumed quickly.

Coaster Mats: A simple DIY repurposing cheap plastic placemats.

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    • Bosch Mom

    I use baking soda and water to clean out my fridge…it’s safe for the kids, kills germs, gets the job done, and keeps my fridge sparkling clean.

    • Lisa Miller

    I’m a professional housekeeper and I thoroughly enjoyed this tip. For years I’ve been able to help my clients keep a sparkling fridge by saying, “I don’t HAVE 3 hours to clean the fridge, but I do have 1 minute a day.” Every time I do the dishes I wipe one shelf or one surface or 1 drawer. The day before grocery shopping I check and see what’s old or funky and out it goes. I never have to clean the fridge and there are no nasty surprises ever.

    In addition, I hit the vent hood, stovetop, microwave inside and out and the breakfast table. Makes me look like a great housekeeper when in reality I just don’t have time not to take that few extra minutes.

    • eveh

    Baby steps and you can get it done. When I have a big task, I just try to work on it in fifteen minute intervals. The first thing is to get rid of the clutter. You can’t clean or organize clutter.

    • Nancy

    I clean out the shelves with a clean cloth dampened with white vinegar. It doesn’t need rinsing, leaves a clean smell and makes the shelves sparkle.

    • Lee

    Baking Soda sprinkled in the bottom of produce drawers keeps the fridge smelling good. Then use when time to clean the drawer.

    • Kathy

    Where did you find your egg basket??? For years I have kept my eggs in an 8 x 8 green depression glass refrigerator dish. Now is the time for a change. I simply have to have an egg basket like yours. Just to cute. Love your blog and appreciate very much your newletter full of tips.

    • Junie M

    Put a layer of saran wrap on the TOP (already clean of course) of the fridge, and all you have to do is take off the old wrap when it gets dirty (and it will) and put a new layer on. You’ll never have to wash off the top of the fridge again!

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