Like most of you, I'm Spring cleaning my kitchen  this year. I'd already organized my freezer , but there was one behemoth project I'd yet to tackle: my fridge. It'd been at least a year since my last deep cleaning, and the dirty job was weighing on me with dread. But last weekend I was finally up to the task, and while it wasn't pretty, I'm so glad I did it! Planning on cleaning out your own fridge? Read on for tips.
Begin armed with serious ammunition: you'll need all-purpose cleaner, a sponge and hot water, and a steel wool scrubber in case you have gnarly spills to clean up. I threw in disinfectant wipes for good measure.
Break down the task by shelf. I started by taking out the contents of the entire top shelf. In addition to cleaning the shelf itself, be sure to wipe down the sides of the fridge, too.
Rather than simply tossing expired bottles, rinse them thoroughly so that they can either be recycled or repurposed for something else (like homemade condiments ).
Consolidate. I couldn't believe I had three quarts of yogurt that had not yet expired in the fridge. I condensed them all into one container.
Pare down your condiments by throwing away those that look funny, smell weird, or have expired. Also get rid of other items that you know you're probably never going to use.
Put like items next to one another. For instance, I had at least six jars of cured or pickled vegetables (!), but they were all different. I placed them all in a line side by side in the refrigerator, so I know exactly what needs to be used up.
Wipe down stains and sticky spots on bottles. This will help keep the refrigerator as clean as possible.
If you know an item's going to expire soon (like this mustard, for instance), mark it with the label "use first." That'll help remind you to reach for the Dijon mustard that expires next month before you grab the yellow mustard that will still keep for the next year.
Remove crisper drawers completely from the refrigerator and scrub them clean with dishwashing detergent and hot water.
Label your herbs and spices so you know exactly what is in every bag. It only takes a minute, but it'll save tons of produce from going to waste.