Have you looked in your refrigerator lately?? I mean really looked?? Are there some things in containers that have been pushed to the back and you don't even know what they are anymore?? Or maybe you still have that jar of olives that has been there since last Thanksgiving?? Is it time to do a little clean up? After all, did you know that November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!?
If you think that you might need to do some refrigerator rehaul, especially before the holidays, here are a few helpful tips:
Step 1 - DISPOSE
Start by taking everything out of your fridge and place items on an empty counter. Now take a look at what you have and throw away anything that has passed its expiration date. You will also want to throw away any leftovers that have been leftover for too long... If some of your homemade meals or deli items are still looking good but you're not sure about how long they will keep, here's a guide to follow:
Pasta, egg salad, chicken or tuna salad or any other mixed salads - 3 to 5 days
Lunch meat (opened) or deli - 3 to 5 days
Lunch meat (unopened) - 2 weeks
Ground meat - 1 to 2 days
Fresh steaks, chops and roasts - 3 to 5 days
Fresh poultry - 1 to 2 days
Soups and stews - 3 to 4 days
Leftover cooked meat/ poultry - 3 to 4 days
Step 2 - CONSOLIDATE
Do you have 2 half-empty bottles of the same ketchup or?? Just combine them to save space. But make sure that they are both still fresh and check the expiration dates.
Step 3 - DISMANTLE AND CLEAN
Since you're cleaning out the clutter in your fridge, this is the perfect time to actually clean the inside of the refrigerator! Take out the shelves and drawers and wash them with a sponge and some soapy water. As far as the inside of the fridge goes, white vinegar is the best way to clean it. Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner and will help to prevent mildew growth too. Take equal parts of water to vinegar and sponge away from top to bottom. Try using a toothbrush to get into corners and crevices.
Ok, that's it! Now that you have literally cleaned out your fridge, it helps to get in the habit of doing a check for expired products once a week. You'll probably find that you have more room for groceries once you get control of the old stuff that you might normally just push to the back. The holidays are coming and that means you will probably be needing all the space you can get. Hopefully an organized and clean refrigerator will make things a bit easier!
P.S. - I just did this myself and it does make a difference!
That's it for now...
Until Next Time - "Live Now-Live Well!"