Cleaning Out the Fridge

Cleaning out the Frig fb at

My fridge was a mess.  I hadn’t cleaned it out in . . . well . . . I honestly have no idea.

Wondering why the top shelf is stuffed full, but the bottom shelf is almost empty?  (Except for a potholder, which evidently requires refrigeration?)

Well, in all of my meat-cooking of this past week, we had some leakage, and rather than clean it up immediately, I kept everything off of that shelf.  Makes no sense, I know.

I began with that shelf.  I took it out and soaked it as much as I awkwardly could in the sink.  I was sure I was going to shatter the glass.

But I didn’t, and after much scrubbing, it looked amazingly better.

Scrubbing almost doesn’t describe it. I really do believe that at some point, something exploded in my fridge that was a mix between chicken fat and candle wax .  That stuff was almost impossible to get off.

I pulled out the drawers and washed them too.  I cleaned them not too terribly long ago, but I’m guessing that I did the drawers only.  Not the fridge under the drawers.

After some much-despised-since-I-actually-had-makeup-on-today scrubbing, it looked like this:

Slight difference.

When I emptied the veggie drawer, I threw away quite a bit, including this bag of sliced tomatoes.

Why would I throw away a bag of perfectly good sliced tomatoes?  BECAUSE WE DON”T EAT TOMATOES!!!  Somehow, though, it seemed like a good idea to keep them after our cookout Sunday night.

Keep them and not eat them.

Keep them and let them become a rotten mess.

Anyway . . . I also found this:

It’s a VERY old baby carrot.  When I found the carrot, I thought of something incredibly funny to say about it, but now my mind is blank.  Believe me, it was funny.

I scrubbed/scraped/rubbed off more of the chicken-fat-candle-wax.

At this point, I didn’t want to put anything back in.  It looked so showroom-pretty.

This was also the point when I decided that this post was going to focus on how even though many times I think a task is going to take much longer than it actually does, this job was different.  It really was taking forever.  There was no way that I would be able to finish in time to pick up the kids. I had already been working for at least an hour.  

But then, when I looked at the clock, I realized it had only been twenty minutes.

Time passage awareness . . . . not my thing.

So I started going up one shelf at a time, purging and cleaning.  The above picture is of the drawer that was a MUST HAVE feature when we shopped for this fridge.  The picture was taken after I cleared it of all the things that actually go in there.  You know, the things I would look for in there.

I would never have assumed that a single tortilla or a half-package of mac-n-cheese seasoning was shoved in the back, completely out of sight.  My two decluttering questions would work well here, except that no matter what the answer to the questions would be . . . I’m not eating either of those things.

I dumped two containers of homemade salsa, both of which would have been enjoyed by hubby, but both of which had been lost in the chaos.  I also parted with the pickle juice that we saved to make “pickle pops” . . . . last summer.

I found three almost-gone sticks of butter.

And the “juice” from the chicken I recently baked, that I was sure I “could do something with” . . . but didn’t.  Instead, it occupied my beloved big measuring cup and caused great irritation more than a few times when I needed that cup while cooking supper.

I removed, washed, and purged the shelves in the door.  I do wish I had thought to check that the bottom two are backless.  Meaning, everything fell out when I removed the shelf.

Both times.  

But in the end, in less than an hour and twenty minutes, I had a truly clean and cleaned-out fridge.


Now that I’m done, and as I’m writing this post, I see how I need to officially “organize” my fridge.  Perhaps . . . just perhaps . . . . that would prevent the duplicate items and/or the multiple last bits of butter going to waste.

But decluttering is the first step in organizing, and declutter I did.


This post is a few weeks old, but I’m linking it up over at SimpleMom, where she is hosting a Clean Out Your Fridge Party.  The fridge still looks fabulous, and I have to admit that when it’s clean, it’s easier to KEEP clean.  (Funny how that works!)

I’ll be linking this up over at for her 52 Weeks of Organizing.

Cleaning Out the Frig pin at



  1. 1

    Great post! I'm always afraid when I clean the fridge…you never know what is hiding in the back!

  2. 2
    Handy Man, Crafty Woman says:

    It looks really great! I hate it when something spills or leaks in the fridge. Cleaning the fridge is one of the worst jobs. One thing I do is wipe out just a few sections at a time, instead of cleaning it all at once. I can't stand the thought of doing that for a long period of time!

  3. 3

    Fantastic job!

    I pretty much avoid cleaning the fridge. I clean it OUT…meaning I dump stuff the night before trash day….but I don't clean it.

    ….and then my mom comes here and goes to put her bottle of water in the fridge so it's cold when she leaves….


  4. 4
    Tweed girl says:

    Well done Nony!
    I hate cleaning out the fridge, but feel so much better after it is done. I feel a project coming on.
    This week (taking my inspiration from you and your links over to bowl full of lemons) I…
    decluttered my girls clothes
    decluttered my linen closet
    took a huge bag of the rejects to the oxfam clothes bank.
    I also cleared out my 'junk' cupboard full of wrapping paper, cards and miscellany. It is now a thing of beauty.
    And, just remembered, I also went through the bathroom cabinets.
    I sound like a bit of a swot, don't I? Sorry. The credit goes to you!
    Have a lovely weekend.

  5. 5
    Texas Sugar says:

    Nony, my fridge was probably that full when I did it, and I live alone! I'm really enjoying the organized fridge. It's making it alot easier to find things. Plus I did go ahead and put some containers in there, so nice.

    Now if only I can convince myself to throw away the bottle of salad dressing that I don't raelly like, never eat, and get rid of the it's 'still' good thought in my head.

  6. 6
    Rebekah from Simply Rebekah says:

    I was JUST thinking that I should clean out my fridge. But what did I do instead? I got on the computer, opened up my blog reader and… read THIS. *sigh*

    So I got up off the couch and did it. Somehow I even managed to convince my self to throw out the 1/2 bag of marshmallows that I've been saving since eternity (for who knows what!). The expiration date on the bag was Oct. 2009. *sigh*

  7. 7
    Virginia (Jenny) says:

    YUM! Ha, your fridge looks like mine right now. I'm just having a hard time keeping up as of late. I think it's time to declutter. Badly.

  8. 8

    That is one gorgeously clean fridge!

  9. 9
    Jen @ Threaded Together says:

    I have the same problem. Right now there is red juice that spilled on a shelf but instead of wiping it down, we were running out the door so I left it. Now it needs to be scrubbed. I am so lazy. Your fridge is beautiful!

  10. 10
    Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    I would just about rather eat the crumbs on the bottom of the fridge (YUCK) than scrub mine out. Both of which mean that I sure need to do it…

  11. 11

    Ok – I get it… I need to go clean my fridge NOW! Before your inspiration wears off.

  12. 12
    Nony the Slob says:

    Sooooo nice to learn that I'm not the only one with "fridge issues" out there! Thanks for all of the kind words. I've smiled every time I've opened it today.

  13. 13
    Mommyto3andahusky says:

    I just found your blog and wanted to let you know that I am your newest follower! 🙂 Love your blog! 🙂

  14. 14
    Nony the Slob says:


  15. 15

    Fantastic!!! It's shiny!

  16. 16
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify says:

    Nice job! Cleaning out the fridge has been on my "To Do" list for months! This is inspiring! When I first saw that carrot picture, I thought it was a slug! I really love your blog and I hope to visit more often! You make me feel like I'm not such a freak.

  17. 17
    Alexandra says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration and the laugh. Great job!!

  18. 18

    I agree with what Elizabeth said – You make me feel like I'm not such a freak! My house has issues all over. My classroom has issues all over. I have trouble with the time passage awareness as well. Ugh! For my blog I carefully stage pictures so you don't see much of the disaster. The only rooms that are truly clean on a somewhat regular basis are the living room/kitchen/nook area and bathrooms that people might need. Otherwise we can shut doors! But even still….

    Thanks for sharing your messes and accomplishments with us. You are hilarious and I enjoy reading your blog!

  19. 19

    I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that will avoid a shelf instead of clean it…..I also regularly dump everything from the frig, but I couldn't tell you the last time I cleaned it….just what is that gunk that seems to always accumulate under the drawers – I would love to know the answer to that mystery! Your beautiful frig has inspired me to clean mine…soon….I promise…. maybe….but yours does indeed look fantastic – great job!

  20. 20

    When we moved a few months ago, cleaning out our fridge was a bit of a shock. "Grapples" (apples flavored with grape juice, of course) that were over TWO YEARS OLD – I thought my MIL was going to have a heart attack (and I've always considered her far more of a slob than I am), but they were not in any way spoiled. Perhaps the grape juice acted as a preservative? lol A Ziploc bag full of mashed potatoes (which had to be from my sister, who hadn't visited in months), cornmeal from when my grandpa gave us green tomatoes to fry…in 2006 (and the tomatoes went and ripened before we fried them)…yeah, it was bad. In our new house, we have a fridge with french doors and the freezer at the bottom and guess what? No more disgusting fridge! Since it's all at eye level, and the crisper drawers are clear, things don't get missed. Yay!

    Now if I could only get unpacked (hey, we only moved in the first week of November)…

  21. 21

    Something I like to do is add a section of newspaper topped by a paper towel to the bottom of the produce drawers. Makes clean up a lot easier if something reaches the squish stage before I realize it.

  22. 22

    I think we have the same double fridge/freezer
    I cleaned out mine today thanks to your post

    check it out here

  23. 23

    Very inspired!! It's "spring break" here and think I'll tackle my fridge.

  24. 24
    Sarah_Joy says:

    I love your blog! I too am a former slob who is coming clean : ) Looking forward to reading more.

  25. 25
    Amanda Evans says:

    I have done the whole "avoid a shelf because meat leaked onto it" thing. It's so much easier to clean up when it's fresh!

  26. 26
    LaDonna says:

    SOOOOO funny and honest. I love it!!!! Thank you for showing us your true colors. I'm still finishing my project, and you are definite inspiration!!

  27. 27

    I am so grateful to have found you! You are my kindred spirit. I appreciate your openness. Now I know I’m not the only normal person out there. 🙂

  28. 28
    Shelly Williams says:

    Wow Awesome work! I recently (surely it hasn’t been more than a couple of months) cleaned out my fridge and it already needs cleaned again. I laughed when I saw the pot holder. I often have potholders/cloth trivets in my fridge because you know when it’s late and you’re ready for bed and your beef stew just finished but you don’t want to put it on the shelf while it’s hot so I just lay a few potholders down. Then they end up laying there for a while even after the stew is cooled off.

  29. 29
    Marsha says:

    Haha, pretty much described my fridge!

    1. The potholder was for the super hot pot of something that needed to be refrigerated but if you wait for it to cool you’ll forget and end up throwing it out when you find it one the counter-top.

    2. Chicken broth got thrown away so many times before I finally figured out what to use it for and made the effort to freeze it before it went bad.

    3. The drawer miraculously stay cleaner when you put a paper towel in the bottom and remember to change it each time you get home from the grocery store/or before you go and realize the crisper is empty!

  30. 30
    Carolina says:

    Oh, boo. I just got around to reading this post, and all the pictures are gone. I know it’s over a year old, but I’ve read some of your posts that are older than this and the pictures are still there. Oh well, it was a really great post even without pictures. Now, I’m going to clean MY fridge. Even though it’s 11 PM! I live alone so I can pump up the music despite the time. So, thanks for the inspiration. (I’m actually having guests over for a Memorial Day BBQ on Sunday, and even though it’s outdoors, people will STILL want stuff from the fridge!) (I live in Southern AZ, so we usually have our cookouts after 6 PM when it’s in the hundreds outside. And, it IS (and HAS BEEN) for several weeks straight now. So, thanks again for the reminder/inspiration to get it done NOW!

  31. 31

    Slowly making my way through your blog, oldest to most recent posts.

    As soon as I’m done typing this comment … I’m heading to the fridge to throw-out all the individual packs of salad dressing that we save from Wendy’s/McDonald’s.

    Thanks for the motivation!

    • 32

      ahhhh the individual packets of sauce from takeout places are my nemesis! although the packets of soy sauce did come in handy today when i ran out of soy sauce in the middle of cooking a dish that required nearly 1/2 a cup of it….

  32. 33
    Martha G says:

    I have a very similar fridge and the shelves are a pain to wash. I find it easiest to wash them in the bath tub than in the sink. It helps that I have a hand held shower head. No, it doesn’t bother me to take my kitchen stuff into the bathroom since I clean and sanitize before I start de-gunking my fridge parts.

  33. 34

    Wait! Am I the only one who wants to know what pickle pops are??

    • 35

      i would also like to know what pickle pops are. (i save my pickle juice to make pickle-brined chicken… )

      • 36

        I’d imagine that pickle pops are frozen popsicles made (in Tupperware-like containers) with pickle “juice” instead of fruit juice. My kids like to drink that vinegary liquid, but I’ve never frozen it. I have, however, placed half a large pickle onto the stick (hand-held base) so that it looks like a popsicle, although it’s not frozen; just a fun, fingerless way to eat a pickle.

      • 38

        Pickle brined chicken???? I must look at that.

        They’re just popsicles made from pickle juice. They sold them at our local pool and my kids wanted to make them at home.

  34. 39

    “After some much-despised-since-I-actually-had-makeup-on-today scrubbing”

    ^^This really made me chuckle because I know that feeling so well! I’m torn between the fly lady deal about getting head to toe dressed and staying in my pj/yoga pants and no makeup so I don’t mind getting dirty. Your fridge looks great! Thank you for being so incredibly honest. I really appreciate it!

  35. 40

    Saw on pinterest, apply press and seal plastic to the shelves before they get dirty again. Haven’t tried it yet, because well, I have to scrub first, ugh.

    Yours does look mighty sparkly!

  36. 41
    Lisa Beishline says:

    Your fridge looks great now!! I clean my each week & it takes me like 3 minutes tops!! I label everything & have a certain place for things including leftovers so nothing gets wasted and if something gets spilled, I wipe it up then & there so the mess doesn’t grow.

  37. 42

    I just cleaned out my fridge last week. I also scrubbed all the shelves and drawers. I was hoping my husband was going to tackle that job, but as time went on and it didn’t get done, I just did it myself. Then the freezer the next day. So glad I now have space and a fresh and clean place for my food!
    My fridge was just one step on my decluttering binge. I have found an amazing amount of success so far by combining your method with the Marie Kondo method. I keep only what brings me joy, and what I keep I organize with your 2 questions. I like the idea of decluttering as a big project that happens only every so often and tidying as the act of putting my stuff in its home. I am trying to be relentless in my purging and stand firm that the few things I buy from here on out be things I absolutely love and have a clear place to live in my home. If not, I don’t buy it. I am trying to make my dislike of clutter and decluttering stronger than my love of getting stuff for a bargain. But I started this decluttering process with you and I love following your blog and podcasts! We have similar creative, project oriented slob brains, I think. I identify with so much you write about. Thanks for your diligent and honest accounting for the rest of us! Very inspiring.

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