Yesterday I had to go into the bank and got chatting with a staff member, Helen. She was helping me with my business bank account and as such, she asked "what is The Minimalist Kiwi?" I explained to her briefly how I 'go into people's houses and reorganise their pantry or wardrobes. She looked as though she wanted more so I found myself telling her the story of when my mum was in hospital and I was 11 or 12, and I reorganised our pantry. It was a memory I had forgotten until yesterday.
"I find it really fun", I said.
One area of the kitchen was always neglected. The fridge. For some reason, I did not find it fun, so it used to only get an 'as and when needed' clean out. And because it was not cleaned regularly, I was always perplexed at how dirty it was and how much forgotten and expired food there was! My fridge was a place where food was forgotten about and left to die.
Throwing away food is an absolute waste of money. But worse, it yanks on my conscience because there are so many people struggling to feed themselves and their family.
So I added the fridge to my weekly cleaning routine. When you maintain an orderly and clean refrigerator it can efficiently do its job of keeping food fresh. Cleaning and organising your fridge is easy to do when it's done little and often. Just as it’s visually pleasing to see pantry shelves compartmentalised with the help of bins and lazy Susans, a refrigerator that takes advantage of these organisational tools is a joy to behold and use.
Most of us have health goals and no matter where you are on your health journey, it helps drastically when you keep healthy food options at eye level. I keep fruit and veggies in the drawers, which are at the bottom of the fridge. Which means they are out of sight, out of mind. So come grocery shopping day, I wash and cut up (some of) the fresh produce and keep it in clear ClickClack containers at the top of the fridge (my eye level!). That way, when I open the door, my healthy options are right in front of me and even better, they're ready to eat.
Pro Tip: 'Use within 5 days'. I am unsure what memory capacity manufacturers of foods think I have, and I speak for myself here, but I could never remember when I had opened all the foods that are labelled, 'use within 5 days of opening'! I have made the error too many times of consuming food that was obviously out of that time window. It's not pretty.
So I started writing the opening date on them with permanent marker a Sharpie. You could also use a whiteboard marker to list the contents with their expiration dates directly on the inside wall of the refrigerator.
Pro Tip: Less cleaning. Line the shelves and drawers with paper towels, or a more environmentally friendly solution, kitchen linens. This way you don’t need to deep-clean your fridge very often and when you do, it’s as easy as a quick wipe-down.
Pro Tip: Odours. My husband loves Blue Cheese which he tends to buy as a Christmas treat. But, oh my goodness, that stuff smells Disgusting (it deserves a capital d). I rely on a little trick that keeps my refrigerator smelling fresh. 1) I keep the blue cheese in a sealed container. 2) I keep an old spice bottle (with the perforated lid) filled with baking soda in the fridge. Baking soda absorbs odours. Additionally, if you cut lavender heads and lay them on top of the baking soda, it will mask the smell! No toxic chemicals required.
Now your fridge is ready for your Christmas extras. Your turn. Do you have an fridge related tips?