First off, keep in mind that the best time to clean out your refrigerator is just before you go grocery shopping, when it has the least amount of food in it. And when your start, have a plastic garbage bag with you-you're going to need it when you discover the moldy bread and unidentifiable something-or-other way, way in the back!
Next, get out your cooler and put a few ice packs inside. Now start on the top shelf and work your way down, then move to the door shelves. Take out every item and check its expiration date. If it's overdue, toss it. If it's still fresh, and needs to be refrigerated, put it in your cooler.
Be on the lookout for those once-in-a-life-time buys that are still hanging around. You know, like the red currant jelly that you bought to use as filling in Christmas tart two years ago. Time to go! Are there other food items that no one likes? Keep in mind that even if they're still fresh, they may not get eaten. Take those and put them in a grocery bag to give to one of your neighbors. Why let good food sit in your fridge, taking up space until it goes to waste?
Now take a peek in the produced bins. Pretty nasty, right? Toss the wilted celery and brown, mushy lettuce. Set aside anything that's still fresh. When the refrigerator is bare, wash the interior with warm, sudsy water and a sponge. Then sponge it down with clear water. Remove the produce and meat bins and give them a good soak in warm, sudsy water, and return them to the fridge.
Return only those items to the refrigerator that you know your family will use. Put foods with earlier expiration dates in the front rows of the shelves, with later-expiring dates in the back. Now step back and admire your work. Isn't it great to see those shelves sparkling? And now you can quickly find everything in your fridge. Repeat this clean-out every month and you'll never waste food.
I love a clean refrigerator, too bad me as I hate this job but your tips are most welcome.
This is my least favorite thing to do. My husband always complains to me that I don't clean the refrigerator. I will have to remember these helpful tips.
And there is nothing so satisfying to a homemaker as opening the cleaned refrigerator and seeing those sparking shelves and neatly organized foods! High five! I need to clean mine ... again!
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