Jump Start January: Declutter Week: Day 5

Today I’m quickly going to clean out and reorganise the fridge. This should save money by helping to prevent food waste, and make the fridge work more efficiently to save on electricity bills. In extreme cases it can also prevent food poisoning – something to consider if you’re self employed (you don’t work, you don’t get paid), or looking after children etc.

If you’re going to try this declutter, time it right to make your life easier. Do it the evening before you put the bins out, or shortly before you do the weekly shop so there’s less food in it to move about. Work quickly so that food is not sitting outside the fridge, getting warm – if possible put it into a coolbag, or a box away from direct sunlight.

I didn’t have time to clean out the whole fridge-freezer, just the fridge, so I decided not to unplug it but work fast to avoid burning up loads of electricity. Here goes:

  • Get all the food out of the fridge
  • Remove shelves and salad boxes etc and dump into a sink full of detergent and warm water (I used Ecover washing up liquid)
  • Wash out the inside of the fridge with a fragrance-free antibacterial cleanser or a solution of bicarbonate of soda in warm water, and remember to clean the door seals too
  • Dry the inside of the fridge thoroughly and shut the door
  • Clean the outside of the fridge, paying attention to the door handle
  • Wash and dry the shelves and salad boxes, return to fridge
  • Sort out the food: BIN anything that’s gone past its use-by date, and get rid of things that you know you’re never going to use again; make a note of ingredients that are near their best-before dates so that you can plan to start using them up; leftovers more than two days old should go in the bin too
  • Wipe down remaining pots, jars and bottles if they’re sticky
  • Put the food back: group similar items together (dairy, salad etc), put raw meat in an airtight box at the bottom of the fridge, and put older items towards the front of each shelf to remind yourself to use them up first
  • Add missing items to your shopping list if you need to replace anything
  • Wash out emptied glass jars and bottles and recycle

Next time I do this, I’ll unplug and defrost the whole thing, and clean out the freezer too. I’ll also pull the whole appliance away from the wall and make sure the coils are dust free, as apparently this can make it up to 30% more energy-efficient.

How’s your fridge looking? Do you have any other related tips to save electricity or cash?


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