September 28, 2023

Refrigerator Pet Peeves: I’ll Tell You Mine if You Tell Me Yours

Got refrigerator quirks and peeves? Living with other people can bring out those particulars you never knew you had about how the refrigerator is kept and organized.

My refrigerator is far from perfect, I’ll be the first to admit. But when striving for ease of use, these are some refrigerator standards that I  keep in mind in order to create a user-friendly food storage experience. Ready for refrigerator particulars? Let’s go!

Don’t block the milk (or the OJ, or anything in a tall container).

There should always be an unobstructed path to the milk. It should be so direct that you’d be able to find the milk in the pitch dark, in the eclipse-rare event that the refrigerator light burned out, by blindly reaching your arm in and feeling around for it.

Small things on the low and narrow shelves; tall things on the top shelf.

Let’s face it: no one wants to play Refrigerator Jenga with precariously placed piles of styrofoam take-out containers balanced with overripe bananas (because they ripen in the fridge in a matter of 2.768 seconds, and NO ONE is going to eat these); an economy-size tub of large-curd cottage cheese, and bags of expired lunch meats stuffed into the spaces between.

NO spills.

For me this is almost impossible, but yet it’s a state of refrigerator cleanliness that I admire in other people’s refrigerators.

I honestly have no idea how there always seems to be a mysterious, tacky substance that has dribbled down the back wall of the fridge to collect in the spot where the removable bottom shelf meets the back edge of the crisper drawers (or why I always seem to cut my finger trying to wipe it).

Keep your fridge spill free AND smell-free (see below for more on that), with a simple, homemade cleaning spray made of vinegar, water, a pinch of baking soda and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Store in the cabinet under the sink and spray your fridge with it from time to time. Smells heavenly, and it disinfects!

Stock up on dark glass spray bottles, white vinegar and lemon essential oil to make and store a homemade cleaning solution.

NO refrigerator smells!

Here’s an easy fix for those times when you can’t get to the sticky substance that has glued your crisper to the back wall and is puddling beneath the drawer. Baking soda! Simple, economical. Endless cleaning and disinfecting uses. Baking soda sucks the odors right up.

Get Boxes of Baking Soda Now. Put Them Everywhere!

Whipped cream, chocolate syrup, bottles of pickled jalapenos and other tall, tippable objects belong on the door shelf, NOT on the top shelf by the milk.

Since we’re discussing spills and smells, this simple practice could definitely prevent condiment casualties AND keep your fridge more tidy and fresh for longer.

Mold-free fruit and veg in the crisper.

I actually found a solution for this. Line the crisper drawers with paper towels and arrange the produce on top. Or, if you’re the frugal type, get a few of those no-lint 100% cotton kitchen cloths and line the crispers with those.

These are the lint-free cotton cloths I mean… I have flour sack towels in my crispers. Not microfiber. Those will NOT soak up dampness like 100% cotton will.

Glass food storage containers… NO PLASTIC!

Again, I am human and I do fall short of my goals, like all of us do. But I will say this: today’s plastic containers just don’t stand up to the prior generation’s weighted Tupperware with textured snap-on lids, that didn’t topple over or slide out of place when stacked like those Chinese takeout containers full of leftover pot roast which are located on the TOP SHELF of your fridge right now, making it impossible to access the milk without an avalanche of prepared food products and ensuing swear words.

These Pyrex food storage containers are the be-all end-all.

They go from counter top to oven to table to fridge to microwave to table and back again. If you buy them it will change your life.

Okay, fine. If you really must own those stackable Chinese takeout plastic containers, they’re right here. Or just order takeout.

While I’m here… is your refrigerator running? You’d better go catch it! (hangs up phone).

Um, sorry, that was a joke from 1947. Anywhoo… while you’re maximizing the performance of your refrigerator, you may as well take care of dusting underneath the appliance, which may improve your fridge’s cooling capability, who knows?!

Here’s an under-the-fridge dusting kit.

Get one of these as a birthday present for your wife, she will LOVE IT. (Just kidding again. Do not do that.)

Got refrigerator pet peeves? Pass this on and add your own. Share the link on Facebook or your other favorite social media hangout.