The spring cleaning season is right around the corner, but the new year is just as good a time to start fresh – by freshening up. Cleaning out your fridge may not be tops on your to-do list, but Candace Mills, who owns Team Clean, says it should be. (Team Clean is a green cleaning company that operates in Nashville, New York City and Memphis.) “This is where we get our sustenance, so I’d say it’s really important to keep your fridge clean and orderly,” shares Candace. “It’s most important to keep up on inventory and expiration dates — that’s really why you need to do it.”

We asked Candace for some advice on how to deep clean a fridge, and she offered up some amazing directives to get you started.

Clean Fridge

A clean fridge is a happy fridge!

The Smartest Way to Clean Your Fridge

How often should you do a deep clean?

It’s a good idea to do an intense cleaning on the fridge once a month. We’re talking inside and out. Martha Stewart Living points out that the best time to do a deep clean is the next time you can’t find anything to eat. That means the fridge is probably a little emptier than usual, and that will make it much easier to clean. After you’ve done a deep clean, try to get on a regular schedule. At the very least, check expiration dates on a monthly basis.

How to deep clean a fridge

Take everything – and we mean everything – OUT!

Take everything out of the fridge, and be very picky when you decide what to keep and what to trash. “Be very discriminating about what goes back in,” Candace says. Ask yourself how often it’s used, when was the last time you used it and, most importantly, check the expiration date! Candace adds, “Are you being too precious with something that is just going to sit there for another three years? Buck up and get it out of your life because you probably don’t need it. Don’t be afraid to make a choice — make the decision – and get rid of it! Just do it, and don’t forget to recycle the plastic bottle.”

In general, leftovers or any food that’s open needs to be gone after three days. “It should be a given, but people forget.”

Thoroughly clean all shelves.

Remove bins and clean them as well. Candace says to be mindful of what you use to clean. “We’re getting our food from this place. Why would you want to put any toxic chemicals in there? It doesn’t make any sense. She suggests mixing Dr. Bronners castile soap with hot water and a little lavender essential oil (as an antibacterial) in a spray bottle to use for cleaning.

Clean some food items.

Make sure to clean all bottles, and check things like salad dressings, jams and sauces to make sure they don’t have goop dripping out of them.

Organizing your refrigerator

Candace suggests organizing the contents of your fridge by height and use. If something is obviously used a lot in a certain home, we make a point to put that near the front,” she says. You may consider having your groceries delivered or ordering them ahead of time online. This will help you stick to what you need and avoid having all kinds of added and unnecessary items in your fridge. Candace says, “I just started ordering from Whole Foods and Publix. I get exactly what I’m going to use to cook or anything else I need for my regular breakfast or snack, and I keep it in stock. Doing this helps keep my fridge orderly.”

A deep clean of your fridge may not be one of your actual New Year’s resolutions, but it’s not a bad idea to resolve to get it done. It’s a lot easier than spin class, and it can still make you feel great when you finish. Candace points out, “You get a real feeling of satisfaction when you step back and look at the work. It’s such a good feeling – you feel good!  Everything is more efficient. It’s all about efficiency and common sense, and having a clean and organized fridge means everything will just flow better.”

Cheers to starting 2019 off on an organized foot!

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