My refrigerator is the cleanest appliance in my house. I am completely beastly when it comes to my fridge and where everything is and how clean it should be. It takes diligence and effort, but it is certainly easy to maintain a clean and organized refrigerator once you get it cleaned and organized once.
A good rule to follow is every time you bring home groceries, empty out and clean the fridge before placing new items in there. This way, all your purchases are readily available and on display so you don’t end up with a moldy, rotting head of lettuce from 3 months ago that you just now discovered under the spoiled gallon of milk.
Wipe up spills inside the fridge as they occur. Open containers are the biggest culprits, like jams, juices, and butter containers. If you see a spill, wipe it up. If you see something rotting or expired along the way, throw it out. You can get rid of empty soda bottles, baggies, rotting or soft veggies and fruits, expired mayonnaise shoved way in the back, etc just by wiping up spills as you see them.
If you don’t use drawers in your refrigerator, it’s OK to take them out to make your fridge more accessible. We never use the vegetable crispers, so we took them out so the whole floor of the fridge is available for our many gallons of milk. You can customize your fridge to suit your needs, including taking out drawers and doors that came with it if you don’t use them.
Place a towel on the bottom of the fridge that you change out weekly. The towel catches food particles that hit the floor of the fridge, and helps to gather up spills as they happen. Plus, once again, as you’re replacing that towel you have ample opportunity to get in there and take out food containers that are old, leftovers that are questionable, and empty bottles, butter wrappers and onion skins that always seem to make their way back into the fridge.
Date your leftover containers so you know when to throw them out, and place the ones that need to be used right away in the front. It helps as well to write down the type of leftovers you have on the front of the containers as well, or having see-through containers. If it’s been more than 3 days, either move the items to the freezer or toss them out.
Keep the freezer clean as well by properly wrapping frozen meats and keeping ice cream and frozen snacks lined up so you can see them. It’s easy to mess up a freezer as easily as a fridge by putting half eaten ice cream bars in the freezer door or letting frozen juice leak everywhere. Bag and store perishables so they don’t make your freezer sticky and bloody, and once again label your leftovers and meats in the freezer so you know they are safe to use.
By keeping your refrigerator clean and organized, you know where your items are, and it makes shopping a lot easier not having to wonder if you actually have butter or not. Keeping your fridge clean also eliminates that fridge taste that ruins food so easily and keeps everything in your fridge nice and fresh.