Speed-Clean: Your Fridge

A well-organized fridge is a must, especially as the holidays approach, but cleaning it is hardly a favorite task. Party guests and relatives mean extra food and drinks crowding the shelves -- so don’t wait until the fridge is jammed to tackle the mess. Instead, speed-clean your fridge. Follow these easy steps and you’ll find yourself peeking inside just to admire your work.

Make a Schedule

“If you establish a routine for cleaning the fridge, you’ll be more likely to notice -- and dispose of -- rotten veggies and funky milk,” says Barbara Reich, author of Secrets of an Organized Mom. Designate your ‘toss out day’ before you grocery shop so you’ll know what you have and what needs replacing.

Take a Minute to Read

The labels, that is. Check the expiration dates on various jars and containers and then line them up with the oldest in the front. When you’re ready to hit the market, check which items are about to go bad and then add those to the list.

Know when to Toss

Scan the fridge carefully and keep only what you’re really going to use. Got nearly empty bottles of salad dressing and tiny packets of soy sauce? Trash ‘em. And at the store, resist the urge to ‘stock up’. Keeping fewer items in the fridge lets you see what’s there and provides room for air to cool and circulate.

Wipe Away Grime

Get into the habit of running a damp sponge over the bottom and around the lid of each jar or container you put into the fridge (you’ll prevent gummy rings from forming on surfaces). Also, store leftovers in sturdy plastic or glass dishes, rather than the original paper or foil ones, which tend to ooze quickly.

Keep it Clean

Store a bottle of all-purpose cleaner under the sink for fast touch-ups when you notice spills. Place a box of baking soda toward the back of the fridge to help keep it smelling fresh. And don’t forget to scrub the front of this appliance and the door handle -- both tend to get grimy as the week wears on.