How to Clean Your Fridge

She actually looks forward to her bi-annual tradition of cleaning out her fridge and pantry.

I’m a big fan of a clean house…in theory. I’m not necessarily the most consistent housekeeper. I’m famous for going to the grocery store then shoving new items into my pantry or refrigerator without paying much attention to what is already there. But somehow, I look forward to my bi-annual tradition of cleaning out my fridge and pantry and doing a full organizational overhaul. And now that I’ve done mine this spring, I’m happy to share my tried and tested tips for spring cleaning your kitchen.    

Amanda Haas’ Kitchen Cleaning Tips and Supplies

Schedule time to clean

The best part about scheduling time to clean? It’s an excuse to have time to yourself! I like to listen to music, binge reruns of Schitt’s Creek and Ted Lasso in the background, or catch up with a friend while I declutter. And you don’t have to do it all in one sitting — that can be brutal for anyone who doesn’t like to clean. (If you can get it done in one sitting, go for it). I break it down into 4-5 one-hour sessions. And I plan for an hour 4-5 times.  

Do one area of your kitchen a day

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a tidy, organized kitchen. To avoid overwhelm, I tackle one section a day, carving out time for my refrigerator, pantry, freezer, cookware, and tools drawers.  

Don’t be afraid to throw out — or donate!

Any food that is expired, has wilted, or that you have not opened in the past six months should be tossed. (Believe me when I say those seven bottles of hot sauce that have been sitting in the back of your pantry for three years are never going to get used.) You can call your local food bank or shelter to see what kind of donations they’re accepting before throwing any of it away.

If you’re someone who loves holding onto things (I see you, Person With the Three Can Openers), ask yourself if someone else could benefit from the item. Many organizations accept kitchen item donations for families in need.   

Scrub or clean the entire area before putting items back

Twice a year, I take every item out of my refrigerator so I can remove and clean the shelves, drawers, and every insert that is in there. If the shelves and drawers don’t fit easily in your kitchen sink for cleaning, run a hot bath for them in your actual tub and let them take a swim in some dish soap! (Yes, I actually do this.) 

When you remove items from your pantry, take time to vacuum out any spills and wipe down the shelves with a damp cloth to remove any items that left a mark, like bottles of oil, honey, or dry goods that have spilled.  

Invest in good storage containers

Instead of storing my prepped ingredients or leftovers in opaque containers or disposable ones that don’t last, I’ve continued to purchase dishwasher-safe, clear containers from Rubbermaid. I can easily see everything in my fridge and keep track of when anything’s going bad. For my pantry, I use OXO’s pop system for any snacks or loose dry goods like cereal. Being able to see what you have is a game-changer. For my silverware, small kitchen tools, and spices, I use small plastic or wooden bins to group similar items.  

Leave empty space

By leaving extra space in your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer, food doesn’t get lost, ensuring you’ll use it, waste less, and be able to see what you really need before going to the store. 

Label it, if you like that sort of thing

I have a really good idea of where things belong in my fridge and pantry, but if you don’t, use a label maker for the big categories, like cereal, oils, snacks, herbs, etc.  Then when something is missing, you’ll notice it and make a note to replace it when you go to the store. 

Reward yourself with items you love

Once you’ve said goodbye to the “yuck” that’s been taking up space around your kitchen, make space for things you really need but love as well! Now that my pantry is no longer overflowing, I’ve filled it with a few of my favorite things from Katie’s Shop including Brightland Olive Oil, Equator Coffee, Mizuba Matcha, Tea Drops, and Sakara Vitamins.  

I did the same with my cooking tools, making room to show off my favorite ones like my Le Creuset salt and pepper mills, wood spoons, and gorgeous mortar and pestle.    

Now that my spring cleaning is complete, I can jump into spring cooking! Here are a few of my favorite spring recipes.  

Salsa Verde

Make a batch of this salsa verde and keep it in your fridge all week to drizzle over chicken, roasted fish, and your favorite sandwich, or use as a salad dressing. 

Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette

Making a vinaigrette from scratch is a cinch and is so much better for you than store-bought versions. Shake up these ingredients in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

Sticky Orange Sheet Pan Chicken

One of my easiest weeknight dinners, this dish’s ingredients can be thrown in a Ziploc bag to marinate all day, then tossed on a sheet pan and roasted when it’s time for dinner.