How to clean and declutter your fridge

How to clean and declutter your fridge

A clean and clutter-free fridge like the ones in magazines or inspirational YouTube videos might seem like a pipe-dream to many. 

Constantly dealing with crammed shelves, food leaks, foul odours, and expired items, that we completely forgot we had can make us feel overwhelmed.

But with just a little bit of time and organisation, you can turn things around. And, trust us, it's sooooooo worth the effort.

A clean, clutter-free fridge can save you money (it helps reduce food waste!) and make your daily cooking and storing of leftovers so much easier.

Are you ready?

Here's an in-depth guide about how to clean and declutter your fridge. 

What you will need 

First of all, let's get all our cleaning and decluttering supplies in order. 

You'll need:

  • A kitchen sponge or a cleaning cloth
  • A scrub pad, paper towels, old toothbrush
  • Cleaning solution (sprays or, e.g. vinegar and water mix)
  • Recycling bags 
  • Flat Stacks in different sizes

Cleaning the fridge

Before we can organise and declutter the fridge, we need to clean it thoroughly. Let's get started.

Take everything out 

We've all tried cleaning the shelves around the bottles and containers, but for a complete cleanup, you'll need to take everything out.

It's an excellent chance to review what you have and get rid of the old stuff that's expired or that you haven't used in months (let's face it, you probably won't ever use that exotic hot sauce if you haven't by now). 

Throw things out

Toss expired items, foods you don't need, and items in open or poorly sealed containers (e.g. yoghurts, dips, beverages without proper lids or caps). Without the lids, the foods become very susceptible to bacteria and pose a health risk.

If you don't want to eliminate everything, store the food you want to keep in Flat Stacks silicone containers. This way, you'll also prevent odours from mixing and spills.

Take the shelves and drawers out

It will take some extra time, but you need to clean everything properly if you're committed to this whole-new fridge experience.

Take all the shelves and drawers out. If they're made of glass, let them get to room temperature before cleaning to prevent cracks.

Clean every single shelf with warm soapy water and a cloth, make sure you scrub everything well (those jam stains are no joke!) and then let the shelves dry completely.

Clean the inside and outside

While the shelves dry, clean the inside of the refrigerator with soapy water. Get into all the nooks and crannies. You might need a toothbrush to get there! 

Let everything dry (you can use paper towels to speed the process up) and then return the shelves.

Using another cloth, clean the outside of your refrigerator. That might mean removing photos and magnets off the door! 

Check your temperature settings and make sure they are below 4 degrees Celsius. If your fridge has different temperature zones, review them all. 

Segment your fridge

Before putting everything back, create special sections for different food groups to make it easier to find things and help keep the order.

For example, group your condiments, vegetables, cheeses, cured meats, beverages etc., so when you need that ketchup, you'll find it in seconds!

While grouping your foods, keep in mind what items you use most often and place them at the front of the fridge for easy access. 

Don't keep everything in the fridge

Many people keep their whole supply of canned beverages, pantry items, cans, and even flour or rice in the fridge. That's a mistake because you're crowding your shelves and don't have enough space for items that do need to be kept in the refrigerator. 

Put those in cupboards or your pantry!

Put everything back

Once that's all done, you can put back your food, but not before you wipe all the bottles and containers well (the sticky bottom of the ketchup bottle might stain the shelves back in seconds). 

Store food in bins

One way to avoid sticky shelves is keeping things like jams, syrups or sauces in removable bins or containers like Flat Stacks.

You'll be able to remove the bins for cleaning instead of needing to empty the shelves. Want to go a step further? Line the containers with paper towels or baking paper!

Besides keeping your fridge spotless, bins will also keep things organised and help you use the shelf space better. Choose larger or smaller bins for different areas of your fridge.

How to keep your fridge clutter-free 

Now that it's clean and clutter-free make sure you keep your fridge that way!

Review once a week

Do a review either once a week or before your big grocery shop. 

Check what's expired, what needs to be moved to the freezer and toss what needs to go. This way, you can also come up with great leftover meal ideas, make your shopping lists better, avoid food waste and save some money! 

Store food and leftovers properly

Foul odours and leaks are super annoying but very easy to avoid if you store your food correctly. Whether it's leftovers, meals prepared for the week or fresh fruits or veggies, keep them in airtight containers like Flat Stacks to keep the food fresh for longer.

Forget wrapping your plates with foil or plastic wrap, that's never really sealed, and odours and spills can easily happen. Don't use old food containers (like yoghurt containers) or takeout boxes, too, as they are unsanitary and don't seal well.

You can easily freeze or reheat food in Flat Stacks without getting additional dishes dirty, which is a huge win in our book. 

Oh, and Flat Stacks are also collapsible, so they save space in the fridge, which is why we're doing all this, right? 

Use your freezer

Lastly, to keep your fridge clutter-free, don't forget your freezer! It's perfect for storing your leftovers and enjoying them later. 

Made too much chicken soup or bolognese sauce? Keep half of it in the fridge and freeze the rest. The same goes for that extra broccoli, herbs and even baked goods. 

The freezer is a great way to minimise food waste, always have something ready when you don't have time to cook, and it leaves you with more space in the fridge.

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