Day 23: Fridge Clean Out
I clean out our fridge on a somewhat regular basis, usually a quick clean out once a week before I go to the grocery store and a deep cleaning a few times a year where we empty the fridge, scrub the entire thing, and then restock. The thing is, even if you clean out your fridge regularly, sometimes things happen, and you end up with stuff in the fridge and absolutely no idea what it is (or was) and why its even in there. Things only get worse the more people you have in the house too!
On clean out day, any food items that are not labeled, and are not from the previous day’s meals gets tossed. I don’t want to try and remember which night we had pasta and which night we had meatloaf. That’s why you should label everything as it goes into the fridge in the first place with what the items is and the date. Leftovers are safe for 3-4 days. Older than that – discard.
Next is to go through all of the condiments. If you have to bottles of ketchup, combine them into one bottle. Have a salad dressing that you opened but don’t like? Toss it! Discard those condiments that you don’t like or that are expired.
How long can you keep open condiments?
According to Still Tasty, below is a guide for how long you can keep open commercially produced condiments. Homemade condiments have a shorter shelf life once they are opened.
BBQ Sauce – 4 months
Hot Sauce – 5 years
Jam & Jelly – 1year
Ketchup – 6 months
Mayo – 2-3 months beyond the “best by” date
Mustard – 1 year
Pickles – 1 year
Real Maple Syrup – 1 year
Relish – 1 year
Salad Dressing – 6-9 months for those sold on the shelf, 6 months or the date on the jar for those sold in the refrigerator case
Salsa – 1 months
Soy Sauce – 2 years
Tartar Sauce – 6 months
Worcestershire Sauce – 2 years
Once you have finished discarding that which is past its prime, set your self up for future success.
- Label everything that you put into your fridge that is not in its original container.
- Write the date you open condiments so you can use them up before they spoil.
- Clean out the leftovers weekly.
- Wipe up spills as they happen.
- Keep an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb rogue odors.
Cleaning out the fridge can be a daunting task, and very time consuming if it has gotten into rough shape. However, once you get the fridge situation under control, you can maintain it in about 5-10 minutes a week!