Cleaning out the refrigerator and organizing the contents within, is a task I religiously undertake each Saturday mornings . It all started one day after watching the Oprah show, many years ago, where she mentions the Zen feeling she gets after cleaning out her refrigerator and organizing each weekend.Until then, I had no fixed days for cleaning out the refrigerator, I did it when the mood called for it. But if a zen feeling can arise out of cleaning out a refrigerator, why not give it a try, I thought.
Sure enough, there is something deeply satisfying about making a plan & sticking to it, on a regular basis when it comes to getting chores done at home ….and that includes refrigerator clean up too! The relief, the inner calm and the knowledge that things are where they are meant to be, sets the tone for a peaceful new week ahead. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Why the Zen feeling is so important ?
Have you ever tried shopping for groceries when you are hungry ? Well, then you know what “HANGRY” means. When you don’t plan your week & are disorganized at managing your time, things have a way of getting out of hand. This mostly happens to me in winter, when I just don’t find the motivation to step out in the snow and go grocery shopping. Procrastinating till the pantry is near empty and then making a dash to the grocers, leaves me HANGRY in winter !
Meal planning and grocery shopping on a budget flies out of the window, when you are HANGRY. Instead, if you plan your week effectively, time management and menu planning becomes a breeze. The Zen you seek will settle in naturally .
Meal Planning and why it is so important in this time & age ?
Summer is almost coming to an end. Back to school preparations are on.In our home, we plan our meals for the work week and school days. On the weekends we catch up with the cooking for the forthcoming week. Spending 2-3 hours doing a marathon cooking session over the weekend, guarantees me the much needed rest & relief on week days.
Battling the long commute, stopping along the way to complete multiple chores leaves very little energy for me to come home & cook . Yes, I remember those winter days in the past, when I wished a genie would emerge out of nowhere and grant me a plate of hot steaming food, but that never happened.
Food Preparation and storage
When it comes to food prep and storing , The kitchen workhorse or the “>refrigerator
The kitchen workhorse or the “>refrigeratoris the hardest working appliance in our kitchens. Imagine where we would be without one! We store our fresh fruits & veggies, various condiment, bread, milk , meat, egg & everything in between in our refrigerators. Needless to say, it gets overcrowded some days ,and is filled with varying odors and at times, has spills.
A weekly routine to clean out your refrigerators of any such spills, checking for spoilage of food past it’s prime, looking for crumbs or caked out residues that we might have dropped while picking & storing food, becomes a necessity.
Refrigerator Cleaning Hacks
- Start by taking everything out ! The meat & milk can be stored in, the freezer until you are done with the cleaning.
- Make a mental list of the inventory in hand, purge the food items that have expired.
- Hand washing the shelves and “>towel soaked in a solution of warm water and 2 quarts baking soda helps keep clean & remove odors.
- Do not use dishwashing detergent to clean interiors since this might leave a scent the food inside might absorb.
- Wipe doors and handles with moist damp cloth soaked in a solution of warm water & “>containers that go into the refrigerator are clean before you store them.
- Wipe any spills that you see immediately, preventing them to turn out into caked out residues later.
- Throw out any food past it’s prime, check for food spoilage.
- Place any leaking items in a tray, such as when you are defrosting meat, berries, ice cream etc.
- An absorbent & washable refrigerator liner is a smart & easy way to avoid cleaning a messy residue filled glass surface.
- Placing an open packet of baking soda at the far end of the refrigerator helps remove any odors from the food itself.
Tips on Organizing your Refrigerator
- Store the “Eat Me First” foods ( foods closer to their expiration date) in the top rack, since it much cooler on top than the rest of the refrigerator.
- Sorting colored veggies and greens in separate refrigerator friendly containers helps in finding what you are looking for easily ,before cooking them.
- Grouping like items together helps in easy accessibility.
- Storing food and leftovers in “>Drawer dividers can be used to group fruits or veggies together. I use it to store my spice powders to make them last longer .
Why is it important to be cleaning and organizing your refrigerator ?
A clean refrigerator :
- promises to keep your food fresher
- saves money by helping you plan your next grocery list
- makes meal planning a breeze
- saves time and sanity before shopping & cooking begins
- boosts your good feeling of a clean space, by reaffirming the “out with the old, in with the new” feeling. Think soggy cilantro!
The Bottom Line
Did you know the National Refrigerator Clean Up day is celebrated on November 15th of each year ? Just in time, for the turkey to come home for Thanksgiving! But you need not wait that long, getting into a routine practice of cleaning out your refrigerator each week, will give you the much needed peace of mind.
Are you ready to get cleaning and organizing your refrigerator this week ? You can thank me later !