There’s nothing worse than opening a messy fridge when it’s time to eat! Not only does a cluttered fridge freezer make it more difficult to see what could be on the menu, an unkempt fridge can also harbour nasty bacteria. We’ve made it really easy to spruce up this kitchen utility so it sparkles, whilst keeping everything neat and organised.
1 – THE CLEAN OUT
Although the dreaded fridge clean can be time-consuming, it is vital for safe storage and will also help you minimise food wastage. Ideally, your fridge should be cleaned before a food shop, so there is little to empty. This also provides more time for cleaning, as there is less food exposed to warmer temperatures whilst out of the fridge.
As you are emptying the fridge, ensure expired items are disposed of, to save space for leftovers and foods. Remove the drawers and place them in the sink. Scrub the drawers with a sponge, warm water, and washing-up liquid. Leave them out to air-dry.
Douse the interior with a multisurface spray. Wipe down the walls, then each shelf. Use an old toothbrush and a spritz of cleaner to dislodge grime from crevices.
2 – LINE YOUR SHELVES WITH EASY-TO-CLEAN MATS
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your shelves, line them with mats. When inevitable messy spills happen, the mats will prevent juices from leaking on to other shelves. They can also be easily removed and cleaned.
3 – KEEP THINGS IN PLACE WITH SLIDING BINS
We’ve all opened a fridge where there’s food stacked beyond reach on every shelf, leaving it difficult to know where to start. An easy way to keep this under control is by using sliding plastic baskets, organising and grouping contents. Deep bins mean you can pull out sections of stuff in one quick movement. If you want to be really organised, you can even label these baskets for different food items, for example: meats, condiments, cheese, and salad.
If you’re looking for an easy and cheap hack, try using magazine/paper holders as extra shelves. Place the holders in the fridge horizontally, and they make the perfect gap for those smaller knick knacks.
4 – A TRICK FOR BOTTLES
Quite often, a shelf in your fridge may be lost to keeping drinks cool. Stacking is key to saving space, but there is a handy trick for beer bottles. Prevent these items from rolling around by placing a binder clip onto a wire shelf. This stops the bottom tier from moving, allowing you to easily stack more on top. Cheers to that!
5 – THE FINAL STEP
Once you have cleaned your fridge, lined your shelves and placed your baskets where you want them, you can then begin filling your fridge. Here’s a hygienic and orderly way to go about this final step:
Upper Shelves: Leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods (like deli meats and leftovers).
Middle Shelves: Dairy, such as milks, cheeses, yoghurt and butter.
Lower Shelves: This is the coldest part of your fridge, and where wrapped raw meat and fish should be kept. Placing raw food on the bottom shelf also minimises the risk of cross-contamination.
Doors: The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge, so only condiments should go there. Although most people keep their milk in the fridge door, this can actually make your milk go bad faster. The temperature fluctuates more on the fridge doors, so try to store your milk in a safe zone on the middle shelf.
Drawers: Vegetables, salads and fruit should be stored in their original packaging in the salad drawer where they will be enclosed. This is also a good place to store herbs, as they can’t get frozen to the back of the fridge.
However, fresh vegetables can be contaminated if meat is placed on the shelf above.
A solution is that if you have two drawers, make one of them exclusively for veggies and the other exclusively for raw meat.
Here’s to a sparkly clean fridge and keeping your food fresher for longer. Now, go make that meal stress free!