Yesterday I was searching through my fridge for something to eat and realized, there’s a lot of stuff in here that needs thrown out. I’m actually kind of bad about this one. I love to cook, and since it’s just me I tend to have a lot of leftovers that accumulate in the refrigerator. Some of my leftovers were becoming strange science experiments. In this post I’m going to walk you though ways to clean out your fridge and tips for keeping it that way.

So, yesterday I threw out a few vegetables, a casserole, old meat, and something that was unidentifiable. I think it was leftover Cincinnati chili. It definitely had some fuzzy mold growing on it. Because I like to use fresh (instead of frozen or canned) vegetables, I have to eat them or trash them. And I hate wasting good food! The cilantro was turning yellow. Half chopped onions had to go. I found some old sausage hiding in the back. A good cleaning was way overdue.

Fridge Before and After

The refrigerator is probably the hardest working appliance in your kitchen. It runs 24/7 keeping your food at the perfect temperature. Having a clean fridge will help keep your food fresher, longer. Here are my tips for cleaning out a cluttered fridge:


  1. Clear out the entire shelf. I like to work from the top down. Pull every item out and with soap and water scrub each shelf. Over time food can spill and packages can leak. Get all of those germs out. We want to start with a clean slate. Oh, and don’t forget the doors!
  2. Throw away any leftovers. If a dish has been in the refrigerator for longer than 2 days, throw it out. According to the USDA, raw ground meats, all poultry and seafood can be stored for 1 to 2 days. Raw roasts, steaks and chops can be stored for 3 to 5 days. Cooked meat, poultry and seafood can to refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Please err on the side of caution. You don’t want to eat bad meat, trust me!
  3. Check expiration dates. Simple – If something has expired, throw it out.
  4. Look for opportunities to combine. While I was going though my fridge, I had two cartons of eggs. One was new and the other only had one egg left. By combining them I made extra space in the fridge.
  5. Move smaller items to the front. After you’ve cleaned, thrown everything out and you’re ready to put your refrigerator back together again, put the larger/taller items in the back and move the smaller items to the front. This will help with visibility. If you can see it, you might eat it. Also, this will help reduce duplicates. How often to you buy something and then realize you already had a jar of that at home. Guilty!
  6. Going forward, label your leftovers. Use a peice of scotch tape or a sticky note to write down the date it was made. You could even write down what it is for quick identification. Now you’re no longer guessing how long something has been in the fridge. I suggest doing this for other items like chicken broth or soup. Any container where the clock starts ticking when you open it.

I hope my tips helped. If you have any great suggestions let us know in the comment section below.


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