What’s that smell? If it’s something in the fridge, it’s time for a quick clean. Nope, you don’t have to remove every shelf and basket and scrub them until they sparkle. There’s a quick and easy way to clean your refrigerator, and you can do it during halftime.
Grab a couple of trash bags and one for recycling. If you compost—more than 100 cities are now offering this as a recycling option—then get whatever it is you put your compostables in and put it close to the fridge.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Throw on some music so the foray into a dirty fridge feels a little less lonely. Then roll up your sleeves and take these 5 easy steps.
- Take everything out of the fridge, including the really scary stuff at the back and those little packages of mustard that you’ve been saving. If you can’t recognize or remember something—“Could this be that sandwich from last week…?”—put it directly into the garbage or down the disposal. (You can clean the disposal later by throwing a lemon into it, or use this DIY cleaner. For now, though, focus on the fridge.)
- Take a look through what you have left, and check for expiration dates. And out goes that ketchup that expired two years ago.
- What you will be left with is food you can eat. But will you? If there’s something that’s been taking up space and you know you won’t use it or eat it, treat it like it’s expired—because it has expired from the world of what you like. Out it goes.
- Before you put everything back, take a minute (or maybe five) to wipe down the inside of your fridge. Just use a sponge and some dish soap and give it a once-over. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but being cleaner than it’s been in a while is a good thing.
- Put things back in the fridge. Now you’ve got a clean refrigerator and a better sense of what you’ll need the next time you get groceries.
Of course, you can take longer than 20 minutes to clean your fridge (someday), but you’ve got things to do. Clean it up and move on. Going forward, to keep what’s in your refrigerator fresh, here’s a guide on how to store produce—without plastic. One final tip is: don’t store fruits with vegetables. (Who knew?) Fruits produce ethylene gas, which can speed up the process of vegetables going bad.
Now, get back to the game. Halftime’s almost over.
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