Cleaning out a fridge is a chore I abhor but once I had my new one set up it looked so nice I swore to myself that it would never, ever be cluttered up like my old one. This is why I don't make new year resolutions, either.
And so, today I realized that it was garbage day, perfect for tossing food that has grown a healthy head of hair. One thing that bothered me were the bags of chipped ham and turkey from the deli. Those plastic zip bags are nice and easy to get the food in and out of but they're a nightmare sliding around in the refrigerator. As I worked on my fridge three easy improvements occurred to me.
Tip #1 - The Recycled Storage Container
I am unlikely to chase out to buy a storage solution for the deli items and to round up the cheese in comfy confinement so instead I went with the recycled option. One clean plastic gallon jug (I have tons of water jugs around), one pair of scissors. Cut the top part of the jug off and you have a nice handy holder that fits nicely in the fridge.
If this gets damaged or crushed I'm not going to feel bad. If it gets some noxious substance leaked on it (not that it will, after all, I've made this resolution to keep the fridge clean!) I can pitch it rather than scrubbing it. That's the beauty of not having paid one extra cent for this.
If they're good enough for commercial goods they're good enough for me. My husband is allergic to the idea of leftovers as it is, if he isn't certain that they're still good he has extra reason to avoid them.
So, as long as I take the extra moment to actually do it, I label my leftovers with a strip of freezer tape and a Sharpie. Just a little tag to say what it is then I put a date seven days from when I'm putting it in the fridge.
This is reassuring when we want to eat anything from in the fridge and it helps immeasurably when it comes to cleaning out anything old. Look at the difference between the nicely labeled container and the dish of mystery food.
Tip #3 - Weekly Cleaning
It's logical. Regular cleaning means that there will be less of it, and I'm all about that! Not to mention then you don't have slimy Things from the Back of the Fridge reaching for you when you open the door.
One thing I've discovered about kids is that they like to make their mark...preferably on everything. My walls are covered with their artwork from the earliest time they can hold a crayon, my car had two muddy handprints placed artistically right on the rear window of my car, my front door bears matching handprints, and my son's little friend became similarly decorated yesterday. When my kids went to grandma's she cracked up watching my son sit in the mud then go running to her bridge to the road and sit on it, triumphantly proving his presence to all who passed by.
This pretty much guarantees that my second-hand washer is nearly always running and so I began to wince hard everytime that I bought laundry detergent and dryer sheets. For one thing the companies that make these seem to be of the firm opinion that I am not interested in cleaning clothes unless the detergent is some bright color and reeks of perfume. I like nice smells as much as the next gal but have you walked down the cleaning aisle lately? There is a smog of scent.
I can find unscented detergent, usually in a small box hidden somewhere on the bottom shelf as though the manufacturer is saying, “Well FINE if you really must!” Then they charge an ungodly amount of money for it.
So I make my own detergent with the directions found right here and it works very well. I love that it's so much cheaper than the commercial stuff, it's easy to make, and it's exactly what I want.
That left me with dryer sheets. I don't have much problem with commercial dryer sheets and they're a couple bucks for a box of them. The unscented ones aren't a big deal to get. Then...I ran out. Remember how the washer just keeps going? I had used my last one too late at night to go and get more and my hubby needed his jeans for the morning. Hubby was not going to be happy if his jeans felt like cardboard.
So I found out how to do it myself.
Fizzy Fabric Softener
½ C. white vinegar
1 C. very warm water
½ C. baking soda
Mix the the vinegar and the water together in a bowl big enough to handle the fizzing to come. Mix in the baking soda a bit at a time and let the chemical reaction to take place, swirling or stirring to give it a good chance to get the bubbliness done with. I loved mixing vinegar and soda as a kid, it never occurred to me that it was good for something other than entertainment!
Pour into a container with a lid.
There are several ways to use this once it's done. I usually shake the liquid up to re-distribute the soda then soak down a washcloth or clean rag with the mixture and throw that in the dryer when I'm going to run it. Alternatively, you can use the liquid in the rinse cycle of the washer or soak clean cloths in the mixture and dry them to use like commercial dryer sheets.
In any case, it doesn't take much money to have loads (and loads) of laundry that comes out soft and handprint-free.