Spring Cleaning

This Simple Strategy Makes Clearing Out and Cleaning Up Your Refrigerator Actually Feel Doable

updated Sep 12, 2022
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Someone looking inside refrigerator.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Apartment Therapy’s Spring Cleaning Cure is a free 10-day cleaning plan that helps you tackle the most common spring cleaning tasks to give your home its deepest clean yet. Sign up now to get all 10 lessons in your inbox.

When you first signed up for the Spring Cleaning Cure, you may remember that I said January is the time for hanging out in your pajamas (in my opinion). By the time spring arrives, however, I am ready to put on hard pants (some of the time, at least) and take a hard look at the important things in my life: notably my finances (tax season) and my fridge.

When my partner and I moved in together at the end of last year, we decided to ignore the state of our fridge. It was overrun with our joint condiments and, inexplicably, an abundance of sweet potatoes. It had no clear organizational system and, because no one knew where anything was supposed to go, everything went anywhere there was room. (There wasn’t much of that either.)

Now that the farmers’ markets in my neighborhood are bursting with spring’s early arrivals, I’m ready to get our refrigerator ready — to clear it out, to clean it up, and to institute some kind of order.

Are you ready to reclaim your refrigerator, too? That’s your assignment on Day 9 of the Spring Cleaning Cure. I promise it won’t take long and it just may inspire you to make something new for dinner tonight.

Day 9: Reclaim your fridge.

Before we get started, I want you to make a rough plan for where things should go, i.e. drinks on the top shelf, meat and eggs on the bottom. I personally like to put things I want to use up on the top shelf, so they are right where I can see them (and not forget about them). This includes things like leafy greens, tender herbs, and other things that go bad quickly. Knowing this in advance will make the process of cleaning out your fridge a piece of cake — er, kale. 

It’s also a good idea to have:

Here we go:

Take everything out of your fridge. As you go, throw out anything you can’t identify and put containers that need washing by (but not in) the sink. (You’ll need your sink for the next task.) You may want to sort your items as you go to make putting them back in easier and faster.

Clean out the inside of your fridge. Take out your drawers and shelves, wash them in your sink with warm soapy water, and dry them with a clean dish towel. Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator with a damp microfiber cloth. 

Put it all back. Put the shelves and drawers back in, then the contents of your fridge, organized according to your plan. If a container looks sticky, wipe it down before putting it back inside. 

Clean the outside of your fridge. Wipe down the outside of your fridge and tidy up your magnets, takeout menus, and other personal items.

When you’re all done, you’ll not only have a clean fridge, but one that’s ready to help you get dinner on the table.

More ways to participate in the Spring Cleaning Cure:

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