In partnership withThe Libman Company

You’re 20 Minutes Away From a Cleaner Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry

published Sep 19, 2020
Post Image
Credit: Nathan Rigaud

Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free 20-day decluttering program, guaranteed to leave you with a lighter, leaner home. You can sign up here to get all 20 lessons delivered to your inbox.

I’m eating and cooking at home a lot more than I used to, and frankly, my kitchen can’t really keep up. You see, I was used to restaurant kitchens sharing some of the burden of storing and preparing food in my house. But now it’s all on me—and my fridge, freezer, and pantry have been overflowing at times.

The thing is: The longer you ignore the black holes in your kitchen, the harder it becomes to cook, eat, and even just store a leftover delivery pizza without setting off a chain reaction that ends in your eggs crashing to the ground.

Decluttering Tip: Try to clean out your fridge, freezer, and pantry weekly or bi-weekly. It helps to tie it to your existing routine; try clearing out the kitchen before each time you grocery shop.

→ Create Your Own Decluttering Workbook

So if clearing out your food storage areas is a task you haven’t done in a while, today is the day to get it done. We’ll approach this with our timed room-sweep technique.

Here’s how to begin…

Credit: Nathan Rigaud

Day 12: Do a timed 20-minute declutter of your fridge, freezer, and pantry.

If you’re doing the Cure, you know the drill on these sweeps by now: Set a timer and get to work. Normally I’d tell you to grab a basket and start collecting clutter, but kitchen food storage is a different type of beast.

So here’s what I recommend: Bring your trash can close to the refrigerator, grab a grocery bag for food donations (like canned goods), start a 20-minute timer, and clear out the pantry, fridge and freezer one shelf at a time. I like to empty everything off the shelf, clean it while it’s empty, then put everything back—minus whatever’s expired or turned into a science experiment.

No, we didn’t just film “Supermarket Sweep” in Taryn’s kitchen—it only looks like it. In 20 minutes, she’d trashed expired food and filled a box with donations and then took advantage of the empty space by giving it a good clean with the Libman Whisk Broom with Dust Pan, which gets crumbs out of even the smallest spaces, and the Libman Microfiber Sponge Cloth. A magical sponge-dishcloth hybrid, it absorbs spills and leaves shelves gleaming.

Credit: Nathan Rigaud

Here are what sorts of things to look for in each area:


  • expired condiments
  • rotten produce
  • mystery leftovers
  • anything really old and unlikely to be used
  • anything you have multiples of
  • anything you tried and didn’t like


  • anything freezer burned
  • anything really old and unlikely to be used
  • anything you have multiples of
  • ice trays or frozen tools that aren’t being used (looking at you, KitchenAid ice cream attachment—you don’t have to go in the donation box, but ya can’t stay here)


  • expired condiments
  • expired snacks
  • unneeded canned goods
  • old, stale food
  • anything you have multiples of
  • anything you tried and didn’t like

When the timer is up, take out the trash, set aside your donations for a food bank, and enjoy your enviously empty new spaces.

More Ways to Participate in the Decluttering Cure:

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