Tips: Organize Your Refrigerator & Freezer

Refrigerator and Freezer

Canning at Home


Who knows what radioactive waste lurks in the depths of many of the country's refrigerators and freezers. The circa-2005 condiment collection and the frozen mystery meat are just the beginning. Perform a clean-out to maximize (and disinfect) your cold-storage space.

The Basic Steps

1.Remove all food from the fridge and freezer. While you're cleaning, store perishables and frozen foods in an ice chest.

2. Throw out anything you can't remember buying or that has expired.

3. Wash the shelves, door and trays of the refrigerator and freezer with warm, soapy water.

4. Defrost and remove the frost that accumulates on the roof and sides of the freezer. If it's more than 1/4 inch thick, think about switching to a no-frost freezer. Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running.

5. Throw out the ice; The chunks at the bottom of the tray may have been resting there for years. Clean out the tray with warm soapy water, fill and return it to the freezer.

6.Create sections in the freezer for well-labeled (date purchased item and amount) meats, fruits and vegetables, convenience foods and desserts.

7. Pull older items out of the freezer after a big shopping run. Put the newer items in the back, moving the older one to the front so they get used up. In the refrigerator, keep perishables front and center where you’ll see them.

8. Store foods in designated spaces inside your fridge or freezer so you don’t spend time hunting down ingredients - and your spouse will always have the answer to "Honey, where’s the butter?"

9. Keep like items together: condiments in the door; soda, beer and wine on a top shelf; and yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus and snacks at eye level.

10. Stash meat, seafood and poultry in the middle back of the refrigerator, the coldest spot in the house.

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