Day 1: Declutter and Clean the Refrigerator and Freezer

published Sep 30, 2013
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Day 1: Monday, September 30
Assignment: Declutter and clean the refrigerator and freezer

Welcome, everyone! Happy first day of The Kitchn Cure. There are over 6,000 7,000 of you signed up so far; I’m pretty sure we’re about to make a difference in the world. By cleaning out your kitchen and giving it offerings of beauty and life, you shift the energy in your home. Then you start to cook more for yourself, you have people over, you eat more nutritiously. Life gets better. It’s just inevitable.

This week we want to get you set up by collecting some tell-all “before” photos of your kitchen, and giving you the instructions for taking the first step on your Cure journey: emptying out and cleaning your refrigerator.

Today’s Assignment (estimated time: 1-2 hours)

  1. Photograph your whole kitchen. Post a few “before” photos onto your Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, using the hashtag #kitchncure. Open those cupboards and refrigerator doors and dare to show us the state of things. Show any mess in particular that you hope to clean up: mismatched leftovers containers, a sad lack of ingredients, a cabinet stuffed with too many ingredients, some expired. Does anyone dare to show their pantry moths or their filthy stove? Go for it. Put it all out there.

  2. Toss old food. Go through your refrigerator and freezer and clean up your food clutter. The foods we have in our kitchens should be fresh and replenished frequently. Half your freezer has freezer-burn. There are two ice cream pints with a spoonful left in each. Eat or trash it. That bag of Parmesan rinds? If you’re saving it for soup, make one now. Or throw them away. Reconsider the jar of preserved lemons you got as a wedding favor five years ago. It’s brown, you have no idea how to use it, and it takes up energetic space in your kitchen. Toss it. If it has expired, has not been used in the last 6-12 months, or has duplicates (consolidate if possible), it’s time to de-clutter. Here is a very helpful post specifically about condiments and expiration dates.

  3. Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Don the rubber gloves and get some rags, a sponge, a mop, a bucket, some hot water, and an eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner. Prepare a gallon or two of diluted cleaning solution. Take everything out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter or in a cooler to the side. As you remove the jars and bottles, wipe them down with a warm, moist cloth. For containers that have a film (oil for example) you should use a clean sponge dipped in the warm cleaning solution to cut through the grease. Take out any racks and drawers and wash them in a large sink or bathtub. Now wipe down every remaining surface in the refrigerator with a rag dipped in the warm cleaning solution. Do the same with the freezer. Yes, this means if you have a frost-filled freezer, it’s time to defrost. When everything is clean and dry, put all your food back. Here is a discussion on how to organize your fridge.

  4. Photograph your results. Show off your progress on your social media accounts. Be proud! (Don’t forget to tag your work with #kitchncure.)

  5. Rest up for tomorrow. Pour yourself a drink and make a simple meal from the provisions in your fresh new fridge.

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  • Questions? Comments? Pictures? Email us at
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(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)