Get the fuzzies out of
your refrigerator --
Simple refrigerator cleaning!

The best & easiest time for refrigerator cleaning is just before grocery shopping day and the refrigerator is looking very bare!

While your shelves are waiting to be replenished with delectables;
wipe out those empty shelves.

Get rid of all the fruit and veggies that are growing hair or that have sink holes in them and have liquefied into a puddle in your storage bin.
Yuck! But hey, it happens :)
Do the same for all the forgotten left-overs.

Now that we have an almost empty refrigerator:

Let's get into the guts of refrigerator cleaning with simple cleaning tips!

1. Wipe the front of your refrigerator at least once a week. This could happen daily -- it's simple to take your sponge and wipe the front of the fridge at the end of each day; but no pressure :) Don't forget the handle.

2. Deep refrigerator cleaning every quarter --
top to bottom. Turn off your refrigerator before cleaning.

You may have to do this sooner if you have high refrigerator traffic.

Take everything out for this deep refrigerator cleaning.
Wash the shelves
Wash the bins
Wash under the bins. Oh my goodness! How does stuff get under those bins anyway?!
The veggie and fruit bins pull right out of the refrigerator and you can wash with warm soapy water :)
Wash the top of the refrigerator.

3. Store like items together -- yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, lunch meat, milk, juices, etc. That way everyone knows where everything is and no one needs to unload the entire refrigerator to get one item.

Just a tip about lunch meat: I find that it goes bad so quickly, so I put it into the freezer immediately after grocery shopping, and only take out what I need for the kids lunches in the morning. I take one package at a time and place it into the refrigerator to thaw overnight. After making lunches, it finds its home back in the freezer.

4. Try to buy only the groceries you will need --
Saves money and refrigerator cleaning genius!

This is a big balancing act; one week no one will eat the yogurt, and the next week it's "Hey, what happened to all the yogurt?"
"Or the apples?"
"Or the whatever?"

I like to do "big shopping" once a week, and go back for fruit, bread and milk if needed -- or whatever runs out!
My teenage son eats 4 or 5 apples a day, so it's really hard to keep fruit in the house. I don't mind having that problem though, as I've always encouraged my kids to eat fruit as a snack.

If you plan your menus each week, and then create your grocery shopping list from those menus -- you ought to be able to get all your "big" items in one shopping.

Just a little side about stocking vegetables:

We all want our kids to eat vegetables -- what good mother doesn't?! :) But if they won't; don't buy them. Why waste the money? Try the small pre-washed veggies (carrots, celery, sweet pea pods) on your kids and eat them raw slathered in ranch dressing. YUM!
This should make even a picky eater cave :) Don't worry at first how much ranch dressing they're using -- this will change as their tastes mature.

Find organizational products for your home & kitchen
within my keep-your-home-cooking store.

The Dreaded Freezer

1. Defrost your freezer:

Do this during your quarterly deep refrigerator cleaning, and your refrigerator is off.

Take everything out -- this seems to be the pattern :)
Throw away all the unrecognizable items or those that are severely freezer burned, or will never be eaten.
You could donate some to a needy family if you do it quickly, so things don't go bad.
Let all the built-up ice melt -- wipe out the freezer insides and door shelves while you're waiting.

2. Store freezer items strategically when you re-shelve.

Items kids need to reach -- store on a low shelf
Meat -- store together: Divide into family-sized portions using Ziploc bags.
Frozen veggies -- store together
Flour, corn meal, and or beans -- storing beans and flours in the freezer will keep them fresh and bug-free longer :)
Store items for meals in a hurry.

3. For ongoing maintenance, try to wash shelves as things get low between grocery shopping days.

Seems pretty simple, eh?! :)

Refrigerator cleaning and refrigerator storage can be easy!

More to come, so stay tuned to
Julie :)

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