Take a look inside your fridge, or just visualize what you know is there. In most households, there is likely some fresh food surrounded by a growing bulwark of half-empty condiment bottles, sauces, and forgotten leftovers. You may have some rogue produce in the drawers, lost spreads that are still somehow not expired, or perhaps even a fuzzy "fridge pet" lost in the recesses of a back shelf. We all know this fridge, because it is our fridge, too. No matter what your family's eating habits are, your fridge at the end of the year holds clues to your entire culinary history.
Why not give yourself the gift of a fridge refresh? You are one pleasant afternoon and a few creative recipes away from a spotless fridge and a new vision on how to keep it organized and fresh for 2023.
Right now, as you plan your holiday feasts and New Year's resolutions, is the perfect time to clean out your fridge and reinvent your approach. Here at Fossil Blu, this is one of our favorite kinds of projects, and we have more than a few empowering tips to share on refreshing your refrigerator.
1) Crank Up the Tunes with a Partner or Solo
The first step is to make the process fun with great music and good company. Turn up your favorite energetic tunes, or start an interesting podcast, that will keep you rocking or interested while you tackle whatever your fridge has in store.
Chores are also usually better when shared. Grab your partner, your best friend, or your most helpful child. With two people, you can go twice as fast while musing about the more mysterious contents of your fridge. Of course, if you are one of the lucky people who enjoys tackling chores solo, take this opportunity to spend an enjoyable afternoon retaking full control of your fridge.
2) Lay Out Your Fridge Contents On the Counter
Now it's time to see what's really inside your fridge. This is your chance to see your entire fridge contents laid out instead of crammed around and behind each other on the shelves. Spread your fridge contents from one end of the counter to the other. Prioritize visibility, so feel free to use a ton of space. If you lack counter space or an island, try unfolding a card table in your kitchen for extra surface area.
As you remove things, you can haul items out of the fridge or thoughtfully start to pre-sort them. You will also want to separate out anything that has probably gone bad, has definitely gone bad, or begins to make a mess as you remove it.
3) Clear Out Everything Gone Bad - Really Fast
The worst part of refreshing your fridge is discovering what went bad behind your weekly fresh milk and takeout boxes. Getting the clean-out done quickly will make the rest of your fridge refresh much more enjoyable.
Take a look at what came out of your fridge's depths. If it's expired, dripping, or growing fuzz, toss it immediately. For things that are safe for the garbage disposal, this is the fastest way to get the smell of the opened containers out of your house. For anything else, pop open a designated trash bag and seal it quickly, then put it inside your kitchen trash bag and take out the trash.
If the smell lingers, turn on the stove fan and "smudge" your kitchen with an incense stick, or air freshener. Your air will be clear in no time.
4) Rinse and Wipe Down Everything
Now that you've narrowed down the items that are still edible, it's time to clean them. This is the key ingredient to feeling that your fridge is truly clean and organized when the job is done. Every sticky jar bottom or gummy lid, run it under a little warm water in your kitchen sink and wipe it down. Then take a damp cloth and wipe down every single item on the counter using a light cleaner like vinegar or a drop of dish soap.
This will help remove the light patina of grease or stickiness that often winds up coating often-used or once-spilled items in any fridge, leaving everything fresh and clean.
5) Empty the Freezer Into the Kitchen Sink
Now that the time-consuming part of fridge work is done, it's time to tackle the freezer. You'll want to unload your freezer directly into the kitchen sink. This ensures there is no mess as the frost on frozen items begins to melt off. A large farmhouse sink is best for this process because you have plenty of room for any large or bulky freezer items. Bags of frozen vegetables, boxes of frozen foods, and tubs of ice-cream will all be able to fit.
Ideally, you will want to move fast enough that nothing thaws, and using your Farmhouse sink will pack cold items close together so that they can keep each other cold. A sink grid can even let the ice melt without getting any cardboard damp.
6) Sanitize the Entire Fridge
Next, it's time to actually clean the fridge. You'll want a collection of supplies including a cloth (or three), dish soap, vinegar, a scrubby sponge, and finally a sanitizing no-streak cleaner. Use this arsenal to tackle your fridge. If you are working with a partner, alternate who is wiping out the fridge and who is rinsing cloths and sponges.
You can often make this process easier by removing the drawers, door inserts, and maybe even the fridge shelves. Get all the way to the back, scrub out the spills, and leave your fridge/freezer interior spotless.
7) Plan Recipes with Your Odd Ingredients
Separate out your routine ingredients that you know you will cook with and what you're not so sure about. Sauces you only used once, frozen veggies you just never put into a recipe, unusual cheeses that somehow never went bad, we all have a few. The next challenge is to think of some ways to cook with the unusual ingredients.
Rediscover the recipes you originally meant to cook or cooked once and forgot about. Or do a little research and find new ways to use these ingredients. And if you can't think of anything, accept that some things just aren't as tasty as you anticipated and toss it out.
8) Envision and Reorganize
The final joyous step of this process is to re-envision your fridge organization. Everything left on your countertop and sink are items you plan to keep and cook with. It's time to decide how your refrigerator is going to work for the next year. The patterns you set today can leave you more organized and resistant to leftover buildup than ever before.
Reinventing Your Kitchen for the New Year with Fossil Blu
Cleaning out your fridge doesn't have to be a disaster. It can be a moment of triumph. Retaking your kitchen from a year of recipe experiments and rushed prep is a great feeling. If you're looking for more ways to refresh your space and reinvent your kitchen, Fossil Blu would be proud to help you find the perfect Farmhouse sink for a delightfully spacious and versatile upgrade to your typical stainless steel basin. Contact us to explore beautiful beaten copper or durable fireclay sinks.