This post is sponsored in partnership by Stonyfield, a company that has long been a staple in our home.
If everyone jumping in the pool clothed and singing the operatic passage of Bohemian Rhapsody in unison is the mark of a good party in your twenties, then let me tell you what marks a happening party in your thirties–an all-call to your kitchen for a group clean-up effort on your nasty fridge. Oh yeah, I know how to throw a party. Yes, this happened. Yes, it was actually fun (think music cranked, wine poured, and a crowd of friends digging in your refrigerator, pulling out sandwich bags of questionable contents and giggling uncontrollably at possible explanations). And yes, it was highly necessary, a sort of SWAT team approach to a fridge that was holding hostages. The party happened two years ago and we’ve since not only bought a new refrigerator but attempted a more frequent maintenance schedule for our clean-ups. Even so, it’s very easy to let it get out of control which is why our spring cleaning this weekend led us back to the scene of the crime.
While I’m not going to hold the jar of mayonnaise and ask myself if it sparks joy, I am bringing Marie Kondo’s joy approach to the process because I do want to bring more joy to daily routines like making lunches in the morning, putting groceries away or foraging for something to make for dinner; and I know that having a clean and orderly fridge will help keep these routines from feeling overwhelming. Right now we’re just shoving things wherever there’s a sliver of space available.
Here’s how we attacked the job:
1 Take every single thing out of the refrigerator–empty it down to the bones and throw away anything outdated. We made our kitchen island the clean-up station.
2. Take drawers out and soak & clean them. I just used hot soapy water.
3. Deep clean the refrigerator and shelves with natural cleaner. I used Thieves cleaner, but you can use vinegar and water or baking soda for scrubbing.
4. Assess shelf layout and restructure if necessary. I changed the height of a couple shelves in my refrigerator to make more room for tall things.
Now comes the fun part–putting things away in an organized manner.
5. Add organizing bins and baskets. This was the game changer for me. Other than our built-in drawers, our refrigerator has never had extra bins. I bought three clear storage bins and consolidated lunch favorites to make them easy to grab.
One bin is for citrus (lots of Cuties!), one bin is for cheeses, and one bin is for our Stonyfield yogurt–favorite pouch flavors, tubes and yogurt cups that we use both for on-the-go snacks and school lunches as well as after school treats when the kids come home. I pack these in our kids’ lunches every day, so it’s nice to have a stash of them always prepared.
I also washed all our fruit and stored it out of the bag it came in–much cleaner looking and saves me from having to wash it before we eat it.
And the final outcome…SO CLEAN!
Our refrigerator hasn’t been this organized in a long time, and I’ve made everyone who stops by since I cleaned it open it up and behold the beauty. “See how clean! Look!”
And I can honestly say my usual despised morning task of making lunches has been so much more enjoyable with everything laid out and easy to access. Now the goal will be keeping it clean!