REFRIGERATORS! A magic box which keeps all the items which I wish to refrigerate, without any complaint! It won’t curse me even if I keep every bit of my leftovers wishing to use it later but forget it just like that for weeks! Refrigerators are depressing at times. Even though I have the luxury of storing food, refrigerator often gets cluttered with all these perfectly stored leftovers and most of the leftovers get wasted eventually. So, I end up in wasting food more than I could imagine! If I would have maintained a journal on how much food got wasted in my fridge, am sure it should have come to a pretty big amount of money equivalent to at least 1 month of my grocery expenses! AND, I wish to buy more efficient, bigger refrigerator! 🙂 [ It’s Strange! But true! But I am glad that I didn’t go for it! 🙂 ]
At last, I realized, storing all food and wishing to use it effectively is impossible most of the times. It really don’t suit my personality! 🙂 It just made my fridge look cluttered, leaves the fridge smelly and makes me stressed out every time I open it. While having bigger refrigerators are mandatory for the cold countries, it won’t suit much for our Asian, particularly Indian climatic conditions. So, at least for me, smaller the better. Smaller ones are easy to clean, they don’t encourage me to store more food and in turn wastage will be less.
Irrespective of the sizes, here are the 5 steps to have a relatively clean fridge almost every day.
Buy the perishable items in fewer quantities.
While we have the luxury of buying the veggies and fruits in bulk, our climate does not support that. No matter what, for our climate, vegetables and fruits should be consumed within 7 – 10 days else it’ll kiss the garbage bin for sure. So, try buying fewer quantities in order to avoid wastage. In addition to that, fewer items makes your fridge looks neat and organized. I prefer buying veggies in the shop nearby my home in smaller quantities (even though it’s slightly costlier) than to buy in bulk for fewer prices. Buying lesser amount helps me not to waste and also the fridge looks neat with few items. Win-win!
Here are the tips to help you finish up the veggies you bought
- Make sure you prepare a list before buying ANYTHING that goes inside fridge. Be cautious not to over buy more than your refrigerator’s capability.
- Before preparing the list of what to buy, hunt the refrigerator first. This helps you to put your list effectively by not buying same items by mistake.
- If there are any leftover vegetables that are sitting in the refrigerator and you don’t have the plan to use it the following week, then simply donate it when it’s still in good condition.
Only refrigerate the things that need to be refrigerated.
A lot of items will be fine without refrigerating. Products like spice powders, flours just need to be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool dry place. If you are a person like me who refrigerates almost anything which has an expiry date, then STOP doing that and start reading the labels for storage suggestions of every product. Invest in good airtight containers for storing all those packets and store them in your kitchen shelves to avoid much clutter in your refrigerator. I keep all the small spice powder packets in two big airtight containers and it works very fine. Refrigerate the items only when that product labels advice you to refrigerate. Also, there are few vegetables and that don’t need refrigeration. Few vegetables are onion, potato, tomato and garlic. So, find out what is sitting unnecessarily in your fridge and find a proper place to store them.
Check for leftovers EVERY single day.
Leftovers! – The main culprit behind a cluttered refrigerator. A lot of times, we forget what we leftovers kept inside the fridge. Eventually, it will sit for days/weeks or in the worst case, months, without our knowledge. It leaves the fridge smelly and cluttered. But, on the other hand, leftovers can be handled efficiently to reduce our cooking time. For that, we need to follow only ONE simple step.
We need to check for leftovers as the first thing in the morning before we start cooking every single day.
This simple practice helps you to reuse the leftover for that day’s menu or at least helps you to throw it away if it is spoiled. Above all, it gives you space in fridge and fridge will be less cluttered and gives a clean look. If it has become a habit, lot of food wastage can be controlled for sure.
Tackle the mess right away
As I always say, simple living is a set of right choices (even though they don’t look that fancy!) we choose in our day to day life. Whenever you happened to see a mess in the fridge, a spill of sauce, cracked egg mess or whatever, decide to tackle it right away. After all it’s going to take just a few minutes of your time. But, it’ll save you from a lot of tension later and present you a clean fridge. Fridges get messier a lot easier than anything else. So, be intentional to deal the mess inside the fridge right away. This simple not-that-fancy choice helps you to have a clean fridge.
Give responsibility to your children
Refrigerators never get a neat look if the exterior is not that clean. While we tackle all those clutter and mess inside the fridge, let your children take care of the exteriors. Ask them to wipe it alternate days. You will be amazed to see their responsibility. In my home, Catherine (6 yrs) is taking care of that. She always get excited with the clean look once she wiped it down. I can see the happiness of accomplishment and the confidence in her face whenever she does it. Giving responsibility is simple. Teach them first how to do it and leave the rest to them. Don’t get tensed if they are not willing to do or forget to finish up. Gently remind them and appreciate their effort even though it’s not as clean as it should be. Don’t do it all over again once they finish wiping it. They will not be interested in doing it again and leave the work to you. They will do it perfectly as days go by. Giving responsibilities helps your kid to learn values and you get a clean fridge!
As an end note, if you are currently stressed out with the condition of your fridge, then don’t worry. Here are few simple tips to clean
- Tackle one rack at a time.
- Throw away all your left overs.
- Sort out the vegetables and throw away the spoiled ones.
- Take out all the items that don’t need refrigeration
You will be amazed to see a clean fridge in a weeks time. Then, start following the above simple steps and enjoy a clean fridge every single day!
Do you ever get stressed when you open your fridge? If so, what’s your suggestion to keep a relatively clean fridge?
(FYI: This post is written mainly for people living in tropical regions where the food items don’t remain fresh for more days even we refrigerate them.)