How to make fridge cleaning easy. No, really.

oceannaJune 30, 2012

I hate refrigerator cleaning, so I came up with an idea. I measured the shelves in my refrigerator and freezer they are side-by-side. I carry a dressmakers tape measure in my purse at all times (doesnt weigh hardly anything). I took the measurements to the store. I bought plastic storage-type bins.

Advantages:

Its easier to find and reach stuff, and use it before it expires.

Everything is in a removable "drawer" so there are no bad surprises in the back.

It saves energy. You want salad? Go through your salad box on your counter with the fridge door shut.

Spills and rotten-forgotten messes are contained inside the boxes, keeping the fridge cleaner and sparing you bending over and stretching to scrub mystery goo in the back of the bottom shelf.

The boxes can be filled with water to soak off hardened goo while you do more fun things.

The boxes can be cleaned easily in the kitchen sink.

Its easier to stay organized.

Its easier to spot-organize or clean often, without tackling the entire fridge.

Frozen hunks of meat no longer fall out of the freezer to hit you in the foot.

You can stack irregular-shaped packages high in your freezer and still keep them neat.

Kids dont have to turn everything in the fridge upside down when theyre looking for something.

If you have a very shallow shelf, the box lid can serve as a tray to also make it "pull-out."

I do still have some bare shelf space, but doing this really saves time and work.

I did the same thing with bathroom storage so bottles of pills no longer fall in the toilet when I reach for something else (yay!). I have a plastic basket that contains just the pill bottles I use to fill my Mon-Sun pill container, which makes it easier and allows for higher stacking in limited horizontal space. You can have a box just for cold and flu remedies, and another just for bandages and wound creams.

And finally, if you ever need to move to a new house, just put the lids on the boxes and go.

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trancegemini_wa

I did this a few months ago with my freezer and it's worked out great. The stackable containers make it so much easier to keep things organised and it helps fit more in the freezer because of the easy stacking. I can't believe I never thought to do this sooner because it makes such a difference.

I probably should look at containers for the fridge too to corral some of those things like condiments that don't fit in the door etc

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:18AM
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jannie

I highly recommend metal shelf organizers and wire baskets for the freezer. Plastic boxes would work in my fridge. I think I'll be off to Bed Bath and Beyond in a day or 2.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 8:40AM
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karinl

Great idea - I have a very narrow fridge so long narrow pull-out plastic trays have helped enormously, and you're quite right that the same concept could be used more.

The concept is already built-in to my freezer, which is at the bottom and consists of drawers that are easy to remove for cleaning.

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:38AM
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oceanna

Thanks, everyone! I am by no means a great organizer -- you probably all have me beat. So on the rare occasion where I actually have an idea, I hope I can help someone else.

Trancegemini - I never thought of stacking bins, and I'd love to see tht. Could you please post a photo?

Janine - I'd love to see your wire baskets and metal shelves too. Could you please post a photo?

KarinL - Sounds like you got a great fridge and freezer. I have 2 drawers in my fridge and one in my freezer. I do like portable as you point out, for easy cleaning.

I did something like this in my pantry, too. The only area I have for a pantry is very deep shelves, about 26" deep. I finally came up with an inexpensive solution -- long rectangular plastic garden planters. Cost me about $7/each. :o) I labeled them and now I can easily slide out and find whatever I need. They also worked pretty well for vertical storage of cookie sheets and racks, and long baking pans as well as cake pans and so on.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:27PM
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mustangs81

I am semi-organized but still can't keep up with the freezer contents. My approach now is JDBM (just don't buy more).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:28PM
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wantoretire_did

Mustangs, I have tried to adhere to your freezer layout since I first saw it several years ago. Unfortunately, I don't stick to it since I suffer serious "stock up" fever at times. I do have a 14 cf. upright freezer that is in constant disarray. I've also been living with a bottom drawer freezer in the kitchen for 1 1/2 years and am giving serious thought to going back to a previously hated side-by-side with water and ice dispensers! Things get buried in the fridge freezer bottomless pit or transferred to the upright. Last week I came across 4 half full bags of broccoli florets. Gads!!!

Also, the ice maker was only hooked up when we moved in and has never worked properly. Now, it is dripping and freezing. A new ice maker is over $300, plus service call and labor, for a 7 year old fridge that I hate even more than the side-by-side.

I'll stop rambling now - Been awake since 2:00 AM - Thankful for the RAIN that woke me up.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:11AM
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tempusflits

Thank you. I used this idea in my fridge and am very happy. I'm cleaning and organizing dyslexic, so I really appreciate the help.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 7:14PM
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mustangs81

long rectangular plastic garden planters Sounds great! I'm always on the look out for multi-purpose items.

I've got some weird storage; my latest is Voss Water bottles. I have 20 smaller ones in my cabinet on a turn table for sugars, dry honey, salts, peppers, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch, Wondra. Of course all are labeled, yea P-Touch! It keeps things looking neater rather than 20 containers of different sizes, shapes, colors.

The larger Voss bottles I use in the refrigerator for rice (brown, black, wild, par-boiled, gold). I arranged the shelves leaving one with about 4" high so I can stored the bottles on their side, of course the tops are labeled. This leaves the shelf below with more room to store tall items.

Here is a link that might be useful: Voss Bottles

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:55PM
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karinl

I love my Voss water bottles too, but have only used them for putting more water or juice in (and then only a few times before recycling; they are hard to wash and this former dietitian is a bit obsessive about that). I bought my first one hoping they would be wide-mouth (able to put ice cubes in) but no luck, the opening is standard pop-bottle. You must use a funnel to fill them with dry goods? That is a good idea.

I like the sparkling kind best :-) It is marked very poorly so I have bought the wrong kind by accident.

I am going to have to look into "dry honey..."

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:44PM
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mustangs81

Karin, I know what you meant about the pop-bottle opening. I finally figured out which ones have the wider opening and I can wash them then dry with a paper towel and my pig tail BBQ tool.

I have 11 funnels (gotta match the funnel to the job). I also have bought the wrong kind (sparkling when I wanted still). I have gotten glass Voss at HomeGoods, I don't know if the make them anymore, the small glass I mean.

Dryed honey or honey crystals can be found inexpensively compared to online sources at Asian markets.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:58PM
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karinl

Oh the suspense... which ones have the wider opening? The only bottles I've found that do are those double-walled tea bottles that you can get now at some specialty tea stores, and some stainless steel bottles, but I like glass.

By the way, with fridge boxes and trays, one probably does have to watch that air can still circulate in the fridge.

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:22PM
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mustangs81

Karin, I think it is the 11.16 oz Voss bottle that has the wider opening. Of course the 27 oz (largest) Voss have the wider opening too.

I spray painted the lids of the Voss bottles red to match the decor in my laundry room. I use them for liquid detergent.

I really like to repurpose the Argo tea bottles for my over-counter pantry items (see link below). They have a large opening and are glass. I have 14 of them on 2 turntables. The tea is terrible though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tea Bottles

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:50PM
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karinl

Oh that looks fabulous... good thinking to paint. Also nice tea bottles - will watch for those.

Karin L

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:29PM
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mustangs81

Karin, Thanks. BTW, on the glass Voss bottles, I can easily scrap off the logo and other print with a razor blade. It took me awhile to figure out the best way to get it off.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 9:05AM
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sail_away

Mustangs, Now I want to know where you got the bottles on the far right in the photo of your laundry room. Also how did you put the letters ("V" and "D") on the bottles? I'm trying to figure out how those lids work, too.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:38PM
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mustangs81

Sail, The wavy bottles are cocktail mixes from the grocery store. The pour spouts are those thingies that you put on liquor bottles to pour into glasses (sorry, I know nothing about cocktails or liquor). I gave the mixes to a friend for a hostess gift and made her promise to give me the bottles back when empty.

The pour spouts are about 50 cents each.

The letters are decals that I had made at the flea market for a couple of $. V=vinegar for rinse cycle, D=Downey softner Z=Zout stain remover

Here is a link that might be useful: Wavy Bottles

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:40PM
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sail_away

I'm impressed, Mustangs---you're quite the expert at repurposing things. I've done that a few times, but I've also run into problems from time to time (i.e., label that simply will not come off cleanly, despite using all the techniques I know to try to get them off). I really like those large letter decals. I use my P-touch to label some things in spray bottles (i.e., to distinguish between vinegar/water mix and alcohol/water mix), but the large letters are much better because you can see instantly which is which and don't have to pick up a bottle and closely examine it to see which it is. Maybe I can find some large letters such as what people sometimes use on their mailboxes and apply those instead---not as attractive as your decals, but certainly more functional than the small labels.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:52PM
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mustangs81

Sail, I had these decals made the same time for my detergent canisters. Since I have a front loader, I only use one tablespoon of detergent so these kitchen canisters were perfect and as a bonus, they matched the laundry room decor.

Thanks for you comments.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 5:33PM
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laura7051

Oceanna, I love that idea. I have a fridge with pull-out shelves, but stuff sometimes falls off the back of the shelves.

I actually do this in our linen cabinet, which we also use for our toiletries, medicine, etc. One box has cold/cough remedies, another has first aid supplies, etc. It works out really great.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 6:02PM
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concretenprimroses

On a similar note: We got a sink base in our bathroom when we were poorer and drawers were expansive so we just got doors. I put items in labeled plastic shoe boxes and now I would never go back to drawers. So easy to keep tidy and find things.
Kathy

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:33PM
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