Here’s how to realistically clean and organize your refrigerator without buying a ton of containers or arranging your produce in rainbow order.
It seems like common sense that the place where our food goes should be as spotless as the food itself, but the sheer amount of clutter in refrigerators means that your appetite for a cleaning binge goes away as fast as a chocolate bar on an exhausting Friday afternoon.
Let’s be real, though. This task is as important as making grocery lists and keeping your family happy and healthy, but it doesn’t have to take all weekend anymore.
If you’re having trouble visualizing this for your home, here’s a Youtube video of the entire process in my own fridge. First we’ll clean it up, then I’ll show you how to how to organize all your food and drinks so nothing gets lost in the back to grow mold for a month.
Watch The Tutorial
I’m adding tutorials like this one weekly to my Youtube Channel so be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications there so you don’t miss a thing.
How To Clean Your Refrigerator Step-By-Step
- Empty the fridge completely (best to do this before grocery day)
- Wipe or wash shelves
- Wipe or wash drawers
- Wash storage containers
- Wipe down interior walls of the fridge
- Change water filter if needed
- Check food and condiment expiration dates as you refill the refrigerator
7 Best Tips For Organizing Your Refrigerator
- Reconfigure shelves so the items you frequently buy fit better. (don’t be afraid to take one out or order another)
- Use acrylic or glass containers to categorize items as needed, but don’t use too many. Every food item does not need to be in a container.
- Keep drinks on the top shelf; it’s the coldest area.
- Add under-shelf bins to use wasted vertical space.
- Store raw meat in a shallow container or dish just in case it leaks.
- Leave a little space for leftovers, especially right after a grocery restock.
- Don’t feel obligated to organize your fridge the same way every week. The items we buy change often so your organization will always vary.
Should You Use Containers To Organize Your Fridge?
This is a question I get asked often, and the answer is both yes and no. A few containers are very helpful and allow you to divide and categorize your food and drinks. Containers also help contain spills and messes. But too many containers block airflow, waste storage space, and make it harder to fit large items on shelves.
Opt for a few containers to help separate produce and deli drawers, and a couple on shelves as needed, but let the rest of the fridge breathe. You can also add some hanging bins to maximize the space under shelves without blocking too much airflow.
And don’t feel like you have to use the containers all the time. I have three produce bins I use sometimes when we have the need for them, but I don’t have them in the fridge all the time. If they aren’t needed, I take them out and store them in the pantry. I don’t try to force myself to use a bin that isn’t helpful.
How Often Should You Clean A Refrigerator?
There isn’t a “right” timeframe for cleaning your fridge, but it should definitely be done at least once a month. Even if that’s just wiping down the shelves and drawers the day before grocery shopping day. If you want to clean it weekly, that’s great. But once month should be as long as you stretch it to avoid bacteria buildup and near-impossible sticky spots to clean.
It’s also a good idea to go through the food and rearrange what’s inside weekly. This helps you remember the items that accidentally got pushed tot he back to help prevent them from going bad.
Nothing is worse than having to throw away food, so set aside five minutes just to do a quick run-through of your fridge. I like to do this the day before trash-pickup day just in case I do find something that went bad.
The Refrigerator Love Doesn’t End There
Maybe the reason why you’ve neglected this task for so long is the same reason why you hate forgetting to put on deodorant. If your refrigerator makes you go “Oof!” instead of “Mmm!”, here’s how to freshen it.
Are your grocery trips just as frenetic as your fridge? If you’re getting lost in the store or forgetting half the things on your list, check out The Busy Person’s Guide to Grocery Shopping.