Mom & I decided. We will challenge ourselves once a month to do one task– that can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less– that is on that nagging-in-the-back-of-your-head list of procrastinated things you constantly tell yourself you should do, but never actually get done. I shudder at the thought already. All the things I avoid doing now being advertised on the internet. I am the first
victim of our duo to take on our foolish commitment to get ‘er done, so for today’s post I am sharing my 30-Minute Challenge: to clean out the neglected freezer and ‘fridge.
In the spirit of full disclosure– don’t lie to your Mom– I took these pre-cleanout photos without a single rearrangement or trashing of anything. In my defense, we have been out of town a bit lately and so things have gotten a little sparse… and a few things got a little bit funky… so, here goes. As for produce, looks like two separate tomato halves saved and not used, a zucchini and 1/3 container of strawberries that are past their prime and a few remaining pieces of watermelon still in a big bowl that needs to be thrown out.
Plus a lot of jars and bottles o’ stuff…
And here is the freezer. Do not judge my banana pile! Chad will tell you I have a problem about not throwing away rotten bananas, but they are not rotten. I take ‘on the edge’ nanners that aren’t going to get eaten and stick them in the freezer to use for breads or cookies. When you get them cold, for whatever reason, bananas turn dark. Now, I must take this time to acknowledge that yes, it is true I probably haven’t used any bananas from the freezer for atleast 6 months, BUT I had good intentions.
I must say, I am feeling very exposed right now. Half the stuff in here is, like, ancient and has needed to be thrown out. But I got my sorting hat out and off I went! I set my kitchen timer and pulled everything out of the main part of the ‘fridge to wipe down the shelves, drawers– even under the drawers where crumbs had collected.
I did the same for the door next and for each batch separated out all the jars and bottles that were either practically empty or just too old that I knew we wouldn’t use them anymore anyway because they had passed that ‘mystery’ line where you can’t really remember when you opened it so you’re not really willing to risk eating it? Do other people do that… I hope? Anyway, I also dumped any aged produce in the big bowl to compost and collected all the jars/bottles that I needed to empty and rinse for recycling.
The freezer was pretty simple because we don’t store much in there anyway, but I did the same process– empty, wipe, replace– including dumping all the ice and washing out the ice bin. I dumped all my bananas!! I’m sure anyone reading is thinking “Thank God,” but seriously, I do use frozen ripe bananas all the time for baking. The pile had just gotten a little too large 🙂 Plus I decided to transfer all the bits of bagged frozen fruit to my Pyrex storage containers for easier visibility, which means we will be more likely to use the stuff in smoothies, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
Much better! The big white bowl is my freezer ice cream bowl for my KitchenAid mixer. I just store it frozen so it’s always ready if we decide to whip up some homeade ice cream, since we usually have plenty of room in there anyway. Plus, there’s my ice pack for my work lunch and some mini frozen waters that Chad likes to have on hand for work lunches to keep ’em colder or taking in the car or wherever. I also have the leftover chunk of mozzarella cheese in here from my tomato mozzarella salad because cheese freezes well and I bought a big chunk I knew I wouldn’t use up entirely right away. The other storage container is walnuts, which I often use in cookies or brownies and always store frozen so they stay fresh.
So, in all honesty, with also cleaning out all the containers for recycling, taking pictures and taking a phone call, this actually took me 60 min. But it was my first 30-minute challenge, so I think I can take a little wiggle room. After grocery shopping later on, the ‘fridge was looking much happier with plenty of goodies.
Sparkly clean and brimming with non-expired food! One of my favorite things, besides the storage containers in the freezer, was that I finally organized the door so all the ketchup and mustards are together (we have an obsessive amount- plain, honey, brown, dijon); the lemon juice, lime juice, jam and syrups are together, so sort of a fruit-based theme; the pickle products are together (relish, spears, sandwich slices) and the salad dressings are together. So now I can actually find things in the door! Also, I put all the eggs into a big bowl. I don’t know if I’ll stick with that yet or not, but it’s kind of nice to see them and just grab off the top of the pile one-handed (important while baking and having messy hands or something), instead of not really knowing how many I have without opening the container and having to pull the whole container out just to grab one egg. All in all, I’d say a success. Here’s a link to the way Martha Stewart recommends cleaning and maintaining this appliance. Her way of seasonal cleaning seems a little hardcore for me. I just used my spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar and water and a warm soapy wash cloth to wipe things down and that seemed completely sufficient. Maybe if you had some nasty spills or something you’d have to up your game.
Any-who, I’m very pleased with the results of completing my first 30-minute challenge! It’s so much shinier looking when I open up the ‘fridge, I know where everything is and the food seems happier too. Look what just
30 60 minutes can do! I now challenge you all to clean your refrigerators! And pleeeeease tell me I’m not the only one with piles of old stuff hiding in the back of the refrigerator… any other bananas hoarders out there?