Easy steps to help you declutter, deep clean, and possibly gain a little insight
When the holidays are over, we start to see the familiar slogan “New Year, New You” show up everywhere. Our twist on that will be “New Year, New Food.” Let’s get rid of the holiday leftovers, clean out the fridge, and see what’s left. Ready?
1. Gather the following:
- Permanent marker. Blue shows up well on most labels and packages.
- Paper towels or cloths like Speed Cleaning’s generous-sized Premium Cleaning Cloths. Another option is a microfiber cloth, which you can use dampened with water (go Green!) or in conjunction with a cleaner.
- An eraser sponge if you have one handy.
- Cleaner that’s safe to use around food. A great choice is Red Juice – not only is it safe, it’s a green cleaner that works hard and has no added fragrance.
- Rubber gloves. These will not only help you firmly grasp jars that may get slick with condensation while the door is open, they’ll also help keep your hands warm.
2. Then prepare the area:
- Fill the sink with warm soapy water.
- Clear nearby counter space so there’s room to put items that will be going back in the fridge.
- Clear space next to the sink so there’s room to place packages and jars that can be rinsed and recycled, or containers to be washed.
- Place a trash can next to your work area for items like spoiled produce.
- Turn your fridge off while you’re cleaning to save energy. You’ll have the door open for a bit. Just leave yourself a note or something to remind yourself to turn it back on when you’re done.
3. Now get to work:
- Remove each and every food item, placing it in the “Keep” area, the “Rinse and Recycle” area, or the trash can. If you have an idea when a packaged item was opened and you believe it’s still good, write that date on the package with your marker.
Tip – Solve the problem of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry being cluttered with “Is this still safe to eat?” food: Write the date on a package when you first open it. Most packaging has recommendations on how quickly the contents should be consumed, or this info can be found on the company’s website or by calling their 1-800 number, also generally found on the label.
- Then remove the shelves and drawers to be either washed in the sink or wiped down really well. Don’t forget the door.
- Wipe the top, sides, and bottom. What collects under that last drawer is always cringe-worthy. An eraser sponge works nicely to remove stubborn marks on the plastic walls. Just don’t rub too vigorously or it may leave a dull spot.
- At last, it’s time to put the shelves, drawers, and food back, and turn the fridge on again. Good job!
So . . . looking at what you threw out and what you kept, do you have any surprising insight into your household’s eating habits? Will you be shopping differently in the coming new year? Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you!