Don’t worry about fancy cleaning products, a bucket of hot water and vinegar or dish liquid will do the trick. Getting your fridge and freezer organized is the best way to save money on groceries, avoid waste, and inspire you to cook more often.
Day 1. It’s a date. Take 10 minutes on a rainy afternoon to check all the dates on your condiment bottles and jars. Don’t keep things you don’t eat. Wasting food is never a good idea, but remove that ancient jar of pickles or find a great use for half-used condiments. Have half a bottle of BBQ sauce floating around your fridge? Make a BBQ meatloaf for dinner tonight. I keep all my jars and bottles together, so I can see what I have at a quick glance, to avoid over-shopping.
Day 2. Shake off the Chill. Take 10 to tackle the freezer. You’d be surprised at the pre-historic goodies that are taking up valuable space. The best way to avoid frost burn? Double bag it and use a sharpie label with the date and contents. Take a peak in your freezer Sunday night and make Mondays your day to use something from the freezer in a recipe. Keeping tabs on dates will save money and avoid waste. Once your freezer is tidy, use it to keep things fresh and keep your cupboards clear. That’s where I store items that I use weekly like ground coffee and snack baggies with a tablespoon of tomato paste, whole grain flours, rice, nuts and seeds that can easily go rancid inside a cupboard. Flax meal should also be refrigerated, but I keep mine in the freezer to make more space for fresh veggies and dairy.
Day 3. Let There be Light. Cabinet doors do not equal dust protection! Just because your pantry lies behind closed doors does not mean that dirt, dust and grime don’t sneak in. These areas accumulate dust and other foreign critters the same way other areas of your house do, so they should not be ignored. Take this time to not only wipe down the cabinet doors and shelves, but also to reorganize your goods. Check out food labels and toss anything that is spoiled. Your pantry will be dark and daunting no more!
Day 4. Air it out. Do you smell a rat? Ok, maybe it’s not a rat under your sink but it could be a spoiled potato or just particles of food that may have fallen into your cabinets. Toss all your pots and pans into the dishwasher while you quickly wipe under the sink, in drawers and inside cabinets.
Day 5. Set it and Forget it. Clean all of your appliances in one day. Dishwasher, stoves, and oven can pick up odor and collect grease. Add 1 cup of vinegar to your dishwasher and run it on the short cycle, to make it sparkle inside. Pop on the self-clean switch to your oven or spray on a coating of oven cleaner, while you wipe down the front of your appliances.