Gazing into a clean, well-stocked fridge just makes me want to cook. You can see where everything is, there are no random drips or messes anywhere, zero mystery odors — it's a gorgeous sight to behold. I swear the fridge light even shines a bit brighter. Here's how to help that clean, fresh feeling last for as long as possible.
1. Wipe down the long-term residents of your fridge.
After you use them, make sure there are no drips on the long-lived condiments or that leftover containers aren't leaking. Keep a washcloth or paper towels near the fridge to make it even easier to give items a quick wipe-down. This easy step prevents stuck-on messes in the shelves and drawers later.
2. Don't put raw meat on the top shelf.
Sounds arbitrary, but if the juices drip down you're going to be facing cross-contamination issues, not to mention you'll end up needing to clean out and wipe down every shelf. Keep meat on the bottom instead where it can do the least amount of collateral damage.
3. Reinforce packaging for certain items before they go into the fridge.
Those woven produce bags that onions and potatoes come in drive me nuts because they allow the dried skins and dirt to escape into my produce drawers. Repackaging items in a reusable fine mesh bag before you put them in the fridge helps cut down on the mess. Bag your meat, too: Use one of the plastic bags from the produce section. It never hurts to be cautious.
Buy: Set of 5 Produce Bags, $12 at Crate & Barrel
4. Keep items that expire quickly in the front.
Store the most perishable and need-to-be-used-ASAP items in the front of the fridge (rather than hidden behind a million other things). If you see them, you'll remember to use them. Or at least, see when they start to go bad, so you can chuck 'em instead of finding a science project in the back of your fridge.
5. Figure out your organizational needs and invest in the right products.
There are tons of useful gadgets that can keep the inside of the fridge running smoothly, whether it's a lazy Susan, bottle holders, or even shelf dividers. Figure out what you need and make the investment. If everything has a spot, you're less likely to have stuff stacked all willy-nilly, which can lead to things tumbling and spilling.
When it comes to keeping your fridge clean and operating efficiently, it's so much easier than you think — just take a few minutes a day and avoid hours of cleanup later.