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In the past few weeks several people have asked me for organizational advice. My super-organized mother instilled it in my upbringing, making it almost second nature to me. But one of my friends complained that she hadn’t been trained as I had, and needed to know how I did it, step by step. Over the next few weeks (or possibly longer), I will lay out how I organize various areas in my house to be effective and efficient.
This week I’m tackling the refrigerator, because this tends to be a neglected area.
Step 1: Know What You Have
You will need an empty space to do this. The floor in your kitchen will work, or counter space, or a table. Pull everything out of the refrigerator and place it in the empty space.
Step 2: Purge
As you are pulling things out, purge. Got a container that is growing something? Throw it out. Ketchup that has a use by date of 2005? Throw it out. Koolaid that has been in the fridge for a month? Pour it away. Anything you don’t recognize or won’t use, throw it out. Rotten veggies, bottles with a smidgen left in them, mystery meats should all be purged.
Step 3: Sort It All Out
Sort the items together so you can see what you have. Condiments should be grouped, along with veggies, meats, cheeses and beverages.
Step 4: Purge Again
If you have seven bottles of salad dressing, get rid of a few. Three bottles of tartar sauce? Get rid of two. Get down to quantities you will use up.
Step 5: Clean
Start with the refrigerator itself. Take a warm soapy cloth and start wiping down the shelves. Get the sides and bottom of the refrigerator too. Crumbs collect at an amazing rate underneath veggie drawers.
Next clean anything that needs it in what you have pulled out. Wipe down the outside of jars with blobs of food stuck to them. Tighten lids if necessary.
Step 6: Put It Back, or Organize
Putting it back should be easy now. Group like items together. Put your condiments in one place, meats and cheese in another. Veggies should go in the crisper drawer. If you have a bunch of small like items, use a plastic container to keep them together.
Step 7: Clean the Outside
Once everything is back in, clean the outside of the appliance. Wipe off the fingerprints and smudges, and clean off papers and magnets you no longer need. Wipe off the top of the fridge as well.
Pull off the grill and vacuum the coils. Not only will the appliance run better, it could prevent a fire. A residence in our neighborhood recently had a fire that was started by a filthy refrigerator.
By following these steps, you should a clean and organized refrigerator. The best part: once organized, you can keep it that way with very little effort. Put things away when you are done and regularly purge. Wipe down one shelf a week. This will keep the appliance in great condition.
Photo by Eugenia_y_Julian