The kitchen is truly the hub of your home. It’s the command centre, gathering place, and social headquarters for most families. If it’s running smoothly, everything seems under control. But if it gets chaotic, that chaos can spill outward into other areas of the home and into your life and before you know it local drive-thru window staff know your children by name. It goes without saying then that by keeping your kitchen clutter under control and by having a system of organization in place, you’ll help to ensure a sense of harmony throughout the house. (And save money – and your arteries – in the process.)
One of the most important work areas in your kitchen is the fridge and freezer. The bulk of our food and all perishable items are stored here, and when they are used correctly, a clean, organized refrigerator and freezer will save you time working at meal prep. Having prepared, fresh food at hand and accessible with little effort makes meal times come together more quickly which leaves you time to enjoy your family – not chained to a sink. Here are a few quick tips for getting your fridge and freezer up to speed:
Quick Tips for Cleaning Your Fridge and Freezer
Start fresh, stay fresh.
Take everything out of your fridge and freezer. Place them in coolers if you think you’ll be cleaning for more than 15 minutes or so. Don’t let the temperature drop or allow frozen foods to defrost. If a cooler is not available, stack all frozen foods together in the sink, wrapped in towels for insulation. Clean all fridge surfaces and bins with a mild water and vinegar mixture. Or try a squirt of lemon in your water. This will also help to refresh the fridge and freezer’s interior. Let any crust areas soak for a few minutes under a damp cloth to make wiping easy. Remove drawers. (The fridge’s, not yours. This isn’t that sort of blog.) Wash oversize bins and racks in bathtub or outdoors using garden hose. Keep freshness and odor/taste transfer to a minimum with a new box of baking soda when all surfaces are dry.
Bins, bins, bins!
After your refrigerator has been cleaned and dried thoroughly, and the food returned to it, use bins to organize and keep separate different types of food. Short sided bins from a discount store are an inexpensive way to keep similar products in the same area. This also makes BBQ planning easy, since you can simply retrieve one basket containing all the needed items like BBQ sauce, ketchup, etc. We have one dedicated to hot sauces which became necessary after the purchase of our 145th bottle.
Don’t forget about lazy Susan racks, either. These are great for small items that always seem to become lost in the back recesses of your refrigerator.
Freeze down, stack up.
Freeze homemade soups and sauces in locking seal bags flat on a baking tray. Once the items have been frozen solid, they can be stacked upright, bookshelf style to utilize all the space in your freezer. Same goes for cheese – buy blocks when on sale and grate for quick use. Freeze shredded cheese on trays, and when hard, crumble and quickly transfer to containers. This way, cheese doesn’t freeze in a lump, and you can grab a handful when needed.
Once you’ve implemented these changes into your kitchen system, you’ll only need to perform maintenance every few weeks by wiping down the refrigerator and rinsing bins. Combine condiments into one container as you collect them, and re-evaluate your storage system when the need calls for it. You’ll have this kitchen command center under control in no time! Only downfall? Now your family is going to expect dinner.