We are certainly all for ‘spring cleaning’, but not at all costs. In the last blog we talked about slowing down and approaching your spring-cleaning in a calmer, more relaxed pace. Let’s be honest. How many of us can actually accomplish the 100 Top Things to do for Spring Cleaning, within a one week time period? Or worse, in one weekend? Between working, caring for families and pets, grocery shopping, doing laundry and trying to have a life, our weeks are all a bit full. Trying to find the time to accomplish the impossible is, in our opinion, an exercise in frustration.
Relax, breathe, turn on the music (we love organizing to music – makes the time fly by), make a list of what spring cleaning tasks you want to accomplish in one day, and make sure you have the necessary cleaning and organizing tools you’ll need close at hand.
Today we’re talking about the white elephant in the kitchen – the refrigerator. That wonderful invention that stores our food, houses our out dated salad dressings, and provides the perfect climate to encourage science experiments – the ones that involve white and green fuzzy mold. You know what we’re talking about. You may not want to admit it, but you know.
First, make sure you have the necessary supplies.
Scraping tool – for those ‘things’ that are super-duper stuck to the shelf
Garbage bags for trash
Small, craft paint brush
Box or bin to place containers in that need to be emptied before putting containers in recycling
Any new storage tools you’ve purchased to help you keep your fridge organized (Check out our Pinterest site to see thousands of creative ways to organize everything from your fridge to your attic!)
As far as cleaning solutions are concerned you can use a mild dish detergent - preferably unscented, or a natural cleaning solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda and one litre (quart) of hot water.
Roll up your sleeves, pull on those rubber gloves, and turn on the hot water….and your music!
Start by removing ALL of the food in your fridge. If you have a cooler, you can put the food you know you are keeping in there. If not, put the food up on the counter away from sunlight, pets, etc. It really doesn’t take terribly long to clean a fridge when you have a system in place.
Remove the shelves and the bins. Don’t be embarrassed if one of those bins on the bottom shelf is a little stuck in ‘something’. It happens to all of us. Honest. Give it a firm but gentle tap and it should break free. Now is the time to empty them of those mushy, green things that used to be cucumbers, those fuzzy red things that used to be tomatoes, etc. You get the picture.
Starting at the top, scrub down the inside of the fridge with the cleaning solution of your choice. Make sure you start at the top and work your way down so there is no chance of drips running down where you’ve already cleaned. Don’t forget to clean the tracks of where the shelves and bins slide in.
Soak, clean, and dry the shelves and bins. Pay close attention to the underside of the shelves, and the corners of the bins.
The doors are one of the most used storage sections of the fridge and because of this, end up having gooier stuff stuck on them. If there are areas that are super stuck, place an anti-septic wipe on top of the spots and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the wipe and use a paper towel soaked in hot, soapy water to finish cleaning up. Don’t forget to wash the outside rim of the door. Crumbs often get stuck in the rubber seal surrounding the door. A small brush is perfect for sweeping out the crumbs without harming the rubber seal.
Wipe the top of the fridge with an antiseptic wipe, then with a hot, soapy cloth. Using the wipe first helps lift the grease and dust that water doesn’t always catch.
Last but not least, wipe the exterior of the fridge with a damp cloth. We recommend using antiseptic wipes around the handles and then wipe with the damp cloth.
Tip: If you have a stainless steel fridge (or other stainless steel appliances), use a commercial stainless steel cleaner and make sure you wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid those nasty streak marks.
Now for the pile of food on your counter. First thing to do is discard any food that is obviously ruined. Remember to adhere to local garbage, composting, and recycling rules. Use the box or bin you put aside to place containers in that need to be emptied and then cleaned or discarded properly.
Next, put on your sleuth cap and search for any expired foods including salad dressings, condiments, cold cuts, yeast, etc. Any leftovers you haven’t eaten in a couple of days should be discarded. A little saying to help you answer questions about whether you should save it or not is: “IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!” Trust us when we say that you do NOT want to chance food poisoning.
Now is a good time to quickly wipe the bottoms of containers, jars, etc. going back in the fridge. It helps eliminate germs, and keeps your fridge stay cleaner for a longer period of time.
How many of you store dairy products on the fridge door? We all do, right? According
to Health Canada that is a definite no-no as dairy products should be kept cold at all times. Each time we open and close the fridge door we are allowing warm air to enter the fridge. It is suggested that dairy be stored on the bottom shelf at the back of the fridge to keep it cold. Hmm…not sure how long that would last in most kitchens, but it is worth noting.
Now is the time to have fun with organizing your fridge. There are numerous tools available to help you save time and money by keeping things in designated spaces. They are easy to install and are not very expensive. Imagine opening your fridge and being able to see right away what groceries you have without having to move an entire shelf of ‘stuff’! No more buying duplicates of items when you can tell right away what’s in your fridge. Once again, organization = saving money!
Congratulations! Phase 2 of spring-cleaning completed! Time to reward yourself. What will your treat be? Bubble-bath? Chocolate? Perhaps a favourite beverage??
Indulge and have fun – you earned it!
If you need help organizing your fridge, kitchen, or other spaces in your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We also have tons of tips and tricks on our Pinterest page! Organizing is our passion and it’s what we love to do. Whether you want help with your spring cleaning or need a full home or office overhaul, Organize My Chaos can help! Book your FREE, in-home, 30-min consultation online now and get started!