We've put together six tips to get your fridge spring cleaned in no time, check them out below:
#1 Review & finally use, take a look through your fridge and pantry, with a particular eye for items that have not been touched or used for quite some time. For example, that jar of green curry paste or that can of lentils you thought you might use in daal, but you never got around to it. Set yourself a challenge! Try using up all the items in your pantry and fridge - create that delicious daal you've always wanted to by using up that curry paste that's been in the refrigerator for yonks. Purchase only the necessities you need for the week - bread, milk, yoghurt & fresh produce and only add items that will help use up the long lost left-behinds.
#2 Purge, get rid of anything and everything that is past its best before the date and takes a mental note of what you are getting rid of. Next time you go to purchase these items, it may be best to opt for smaller formats. It's also worth taking note of what you use on the regular and seeing if you can purchase a bigger size. When you purchase bigger formats, you'll help your wallet and likely the environment too.
#3 Get it all out in the open, next get everything out on the kitchen bench – pop it all in categories. Generally, you can group in the following manner: tall bottles (water, milk and wine), condiments (t-sauce, jam, marmalade and butter), fresh fruit and vegetables, yoghurt and other dairy products, leftovers and cooked food in containers etc.
#4 Sparkly clean, take out all the shelves, the produce bins, and all compartments which can be removed – give them a good clean and leave in the sun to dry. In the meantime, wipe down everything inside the fridge, get into every nook and cranny you can, even if it means using an old toothbrush. If you’re after a natural homemade spray and wipe – Live Simply has an excellent recipe here.
#5 keep your cool, make sure the fridge temperature is set to 4-5 degrees and your freezer to -18 degrees – this is the optimal temperature to ensure your food is kept cool and fresh.
#6 Organise and compartmentalise, now this is the fun part. Create different zones, dedicate areas of your fridge to certain types of food. You could look at investing in some baskets or containers to group food items.
There is no one size fits all, and it may take a little tweaking, but we’d suggest something along the lines of the below:
Bottom shelf/produce bins – for fruit and vegetables (sometimes it’s worth investing in food keeper containers to keep your produce fresher for longer).
Next shelf up – leftovers, meals that you may have prepared and grab and go snacks such as yoghurt & cut up fruit in containers. Or containers of food you are part way through – such as beetroot & pineapple.
Middle shelf/shelves – dairy and meat products, your fridge is generally cooler at the back rather than on the door, so it’s important to keep your meat products, yoghurt and cheese stored here – if your milk will fit comfortably on this shelf than pop it there too.
Top shelf – those funny things you get out here and there, this is at eye level for most so will be a good reminder of the products that you still need to use – gherkins, olives, hummus, sauerkraut and any supplements which need to be refrigerated. Big jars of condiments like jam and marmalades.
Fridge door – in the tall bottom part pop chilled water, juice, wine, tall bottles of sauce, next row up – relishes, garlic, ginger and mustard. In the smaller compartments – butter & dairy spreads and eggs if you like to keep them in the fridge.
#7 Trial and tweak your new fridge arrangement for about two weeks, next, adjust to suit your needs. This may be shifting shelves up or down to make more vertical room on the shelves which get the most use.
And here are a couple of tips to keep your fridge in tip-top shape!
#1 purchase a meal planner and plan your meals for the week ahead
#2 keep a running supermarket shopping list on the front of the fridge, so when you run out you can pop it on the list
#3 you can also keep a list of ingredients which need to be used up sooner rather than later to spark inspiration for when you go to plan your next meals
#4 if you online shop, start to notice the items you purchase regularly, save them as favourites or in your previous shopping lists.