Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Freshest Fridge in Town

Are you planning to make a trip to the Farmer's Market (or even just the grocery store) this week?  Clean out that Refrigerator so your fresh new goodies have a sparkling clean place to be put into when you get home.  I know, sometimes just the thought of pulling everything out and hurriedly washing and wiping can seem overwhelming - especially if you're already super busy - but just schedule about 1/2 to 1 hour of time and you'll be glad you did.  Gather your supplies so they'll be at the ready... no dawdling allowed on this project.

You'll need:
  • An Ice Chest
  • Lots of Paper Towels or Clean Cloths
  • A spray bottle of a baking soda & water mixture (this might need shaking occasionally)
  • A Sink full of Soapy Water
  • A lined Trashcan
  • A bottle of Vanilla (yes, you read correctly - Vanilla!)

Ready?... Let's begin
  • Turn the thermostat on you refrigerator all the way down (so it's not running the entire time you're cleaning) - remember what it's set at now though, so you can turn it back on to the right setting when you're done.
  •  Empty all contents. Unless it's a nice chunk of left over Prime Rib from last night's dinner (is there really such thing as leftover Prime Rib?) or something else really "save-worthy" toss the contents of the container into the trash and place
    the containers aside to deal with later. Anything that is being saved (eggs, milk, etc) goes into the ice chest (things like ketchup, mustard, pickles can easily survive the stay outside the refrigerator on the shelf while you work.
  • Once the interior is completely empty, pull out the shelves and drawers. Give them a good wash and dry them completely. Set aside until later.
  • Grab your spray bottle and cloths or paper towels and wipe down the interior. If there is anything caked or stuck, try a cloth or sponge with a baking soda paste as a kind of "scrubber". When everything is sparkling, grab some dry towels and dry off the interior.
  • Here comes the "trick"... We all have those boxes of baking soda in our refrigerators to soak up the bad or "off" smells, but try this one... Grab a clean, damp towel and sprinkle a little vanilla onto it. Now, very quickly wipe down the interior one more time (make sure the towel is quite damp so you don't leave brown "vanilla" streaks on your clean refrigerator walls!). The inside will smell fresh and sweet!
  • The shelves and drawers should be all dry and fresh by now. Replace them, return the thermostat to it's original setting and you're done!

All that's left now is to reload everything...

Check out these tips from The Lazy Organizer for some great ideas about organizing your stuff when you put it back in.  She has some awesome ideas for grouping your items into tubs & "kits" that way you'll have everything you need for a specific project in one tub and can just pull it out when you need it (brilliant!!).

Coming home from the Market or the Grocery Store and having to find places to put everything away or having to shove things in amongst the tubs of "science project" leftovers can be one of the most dreaded parts of the trip. Having a clean, organized place to put things away makes it just a little easier.
Helpful Hint Reminder:  Remember to vacuum the coils of your refrigerator at least every season (monthly is nice, but seasonally is absolutely necessary).  This will keep your refrigerator operating at peak efficiency - it saves money and makes the refrigerator last longer!
More Refrigerator Tips & Tricks:
  • Line the bottom of your crisper drawer with a paper towel to absorb liquids that make veggies wilt.
  • Refrigerated apples last up to 10 times longer than those left at room temperature. To prevent apples from speeding up the ripening process of other items in your produce drawer, store them in a plastic or brown paper bag.
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator, and it will keep for weeks.
  • No need to cook frozen veggies before adding to dishes; simply pour boiling water over them in a colander and then add them to your casserole or stove-top dish to finish cooking.
  • When baking a cake, do not set on the counter top to cool. All the moisture leaches from the top. Put the finished cake directly into the freezer for at least 2 hours. Make sure you place a hot pad under the pan to avoid damaging your freezer surface. You can leave the (covered) cake in the freezer for months, or defrost easily in minutes after the 2 hour cooling down period. Your cake will be so moist!
  • Keep Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream and Yogurt fresher in longer by storing the carton in the refrigerator upside down.

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