WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As your refrigerator gets packed with holiday foods, do you know what's lurking at the back of the shelves?
Professional organizer and founder of Urban Simplicity, Korinne Belock, said this is the perfect time to give your fridge a makeover.
She recently collaborated with Ivey Leidy, an integrative health coach and certified nutrition expert, to clear the clutter.
Belock said the first step is to remove everything. Since it's used by all family members multiple times a day, it tends to get organized quickly.
"Someone's grabbing the creamer, they're putting it away. They're grabbing an apple, they're shutting the door. And guess what, when you've got high-touch areas like that, it's going to become disorganized. So, it's a perfect holiday organizing project because as you know, we're all cooking more and eating more at home, so it's like the perfect thing to do right now," she said.
The next step is to look at all expiration dates.
"The things you're looking for are expiration dates on food and condiments in particular because you would not be surprised. You might have that barbecue sauce from two years ago, and it’s time to toss it," she said.
Then, clean all surfaces inside and out. There are non-toxic, all-purpose cleaners you can make at home.
Cleaner for inside the refrigerator:
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 20 drops of essential oils that have natural antibacterial properties, like lavender, peppermint, lemon, tea tree, cedarwood, eucalyptus or cinnamon, according to Ivey
Cleaner for outside the refrigerator:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup of white distilled vinegar
- 20 drops of lemon essential oil
Once you've cleaned all surfaces, sort the items into categories. Group the healthy items into an area that can encourage healthy snacking. And group condiments into categories like dressings, mustards, Asian and Italian.
"Just like you would categorize things in your closet, your shirts, and your pants and your shoes, your fridge is the same. So some common categories are things that you would have are things like, fresh fruits, your veggies, your meats and your cheeses. Keeping condiments grouped by type is great because you have your everyday use and your salad dressings," Belock said.
Lastly, contain and label to keep things organized. You can toss packaging, like boxes that surround individually wrapped items, like boxes around cans of soda, to save on space. You’ll also be able to see your supply, which can help things keep a uniform look, which helps them to stay organized.