Clean and Organize the Refrigerator

The easiest way to clean a refrigerator...seriously great idea!

Throughout the year we’ll be tackling entire rooms of the house as well as overall household chores (some seasonal, some not). For the next few days, however, our daily tasks will be centered around the areas of the house we use most often.

We cleaned and organized the nightstand yesterday because there’s something calming about laying in bed without chaos surrounding us. Today we’re going to focus on an area we use when we wake up – the refrigerator.

You may open up cabinets a couple times a day, but the refrigerator is a different story. It seems like the fridge is opened ten times an hour (at least in my house!). Looking for something to eat in a messy refrigerator can put a damper on your tastebuds. But a clean fridge, that’s a different story!

When you can see fresh fruit and vegetables, they are less likely to waste away in the back. When you can easily find ingredients, cooking is less of a chore. So today, let’s clean up that refrigerator!

Clean and organize the refrigerator:

  • Take everything out of the refrigerator…even food and condiments in the drawers and doors. Trash anything that has spoiled. Condense containers when possible.
  • Wipe down shelving and walls of your refrigerator with an all-purpose cleaner (*see note about this below).
  • Determine if rearranging the shelving would make your fridge more functional. I adjusted our refrigerator shelves recently and it made a huge difference!
  • Replace food categorically. Try to keep fruits and veggies together, drinks on one shelf, leftovers in the same area, etc.
  • Wipe down the outside of your fridge if you have time.

*Clean refrigerator shelving quickly and easily.

Here’s the deal. I buy most of our meat, fruits and veggies from a weekly CSA and I mostly cook from scratch. Since switching to fresh fruits and vegetables our fridge is a disaster zone. Onion skins easily fall off. Leafy greens leave remnants behind. Defrosting meat in the refrigerator will leave pools of liquid on the shelves (even when in a bowl).

I clean the refrigerator often but it gets dirty in a hurry. Since my fridge is probably messier than 99.9% of you, I cleaned it yesterday so I could show you a picture of how I do it quickly and easily.

I put a removable shelving in the bathtub to clean. Now let me preface this by saying we have two bathrooms and we only use one. So, this bathtub is uber clean.

But I just run a bit of cold water, squeeze some dish liquid in, and scrub away. After cleaning one piece, I dry and then install back in the fridge. Then repeat.

It’s extremely efficient, especially when compared to washing them in a small(ish) kitchen sink.

So, if your fridge needs some scrubbing instead of just wiping down, give it a whirl in the bathtub. It took me less than 15 minutes start to finish!

Your assignment for today:

  • Continue working on habit #1.
  • Clean and organize your refrigerator.

Set a timer and clean your refrigerator until the buzzer goes off.  Let me know when you’ve completed day 3!

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28 Responses to Clean and Organize the Refrigerator

  1. Jo January 3, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    This was an easy one since I stay pretty much on top of this. I clean the food out and rearrange the fridge weekly. I just cleaned the shelves less than a month ago so all I had to do today was wipe down the outside. Tonight I’ll be able to focus a bit more attention on my office closet.

  2. Mary Ann January 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    We were gone all of last week so the fridge was pretty empty. So I planned to do a quick clean before grocery shopping again–so the timing of this task was perfect! Took about 15 minutes tonight.

    • Spring Cleaning 365 January 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      I like to clean mine out before grocery shopping too! Although that doesn’t *always* happen :) Glad it didn’t take too long!

  3. Emma January 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Task done! It wasn’t too very dirty, but I did have lots of food to toss. I need to plan better so I don’t waste money on stuff that doesn’t get used.

    • Spring Cleaning 365 January 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      It makes me so sad to throw out food too. Helps me realize I can buy less at the store. Great job completing the task!

  4. kjs225 January 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    This was definitely a good one for today, because my husband’s been getting on me about the funny smell coming out of the fridge each time the door was opened…yea…I had some leftovers in there since November I think :) Today was a little different perspective on the cleaning too because I had to go back to work today after the holidays, but I did it and have had success….Let’s keep it up!

  5. Carla January 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Refrigerator is going to have to wait til the weekend. But it will be done on Saturday!

  6. Susan I January 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Easy one for me today since my refrigerator wasn’t that full or that bad, but I am proud to say, while I was very tempted to skip it, I did it so I can get myself into the cleaning routine.

  7. Danielle January 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Fridge cleaned today. Maintaining it every couple weeks makes it a very easy task. Thanks for the daily emails. I’m looking forward to keeping up with this challenge. I love cleaning & organizing, and this will really help me think of areas of my house I might not have otherwise.

  8. Elizabeth January 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Fridge *almost* done. Have my two bottom drawers to clean still, but had to stop to get the kiddos ready for bed. Cleaning the fridge is a task I don’t enjoy much (I’ve had the privilege of cleaning several rental and second-hand fridges), so thank goodness we keep ours fairly clean and don’t usually have leftovers for long.

  9. Bette January 4, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    Wow! My fridge wasn’t that bad, but I’m totally impressed by the difference. I even completely forgot to put one of the shelves back in, and it’s perfect! It took me way too long to do, but all I think all I need is more practice, so bring on Day 4!!

  10. Danielle January 4, 2013 at 5:33 am #


  11. Alicia January 4, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    Perfect timing! Just got home from time away for Christmas. Took longer than 15 minutes, but was well worth the time. Fridge looks great. Now today, to tackle my closet and my daughter’s closet!

  12. Dulcia Olivari January 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Checking in! I´ve just finished to clean my refrigerator…. niiiceeeee tip of using the bathtub!! 5 minutes!!!!!

  13. Leeann January 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I clean my refrigerator monthly so it wasn’t so bad. I do, however, neglect the freezer and the top of the fridge so I tacked that today. Wow, what a difference!

  14. Denise January 5, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    I am so excited to find your site. I have tried many other “systems” but get frustrated because they seem more for stay at home mom’s and are hard to adjust to my busy schedule. I work full time and have seven kids and one grandson who lives with us–most are college age but still live at home.

    I just cleaned my frig last week so I got to learn more about your site today.

    I love it.


    Denise in OHIO

  15. Kim Miles January 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Done. Wow! What a difference! I found 3 bottles of syrup. Cleaned top to bottom!Yea! Thanks for the push! :-)

  16. Sheila DelCharco January 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    10 days late but it’s done. It took 1.5 hrs (not 15 mins) but it is sparkling! Feels great! Also cleaned out the linen closet today!

  17. Dervise May 1, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Done :-)

  18. KTOinCLE January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Clean! Feels so good and it looks like there is a lot less in there now…hmmm

  19. Linda May 19, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Of all of the tips I’ve read on your site, cleaning the fridge weekly on the night before trash pickup has made the most impact and is easy to maintain. Using the bathtub to aid the cleaning process is also very helpful and I wonder why I never thought of it myself! The bathtub is the largest “sink” in the house and the closest to my kitchen. Tonight when I purge the fridge (tomorrow is trash pickup day, of course), I will also be washing all of the bins and shelves in my tub. Thank you for this very helpful tip!

    • Christine Satterfield June 2, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      You are so welcome! Thank you for being kind enough to leave such a sweet comment.


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