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Published: Thursday, 10/13/2005

Free Your Fridge From Constant Clutter And Odious Odors

Spoiled food, unidentifiable container contents and pungent odors are among some of the frustrations Americans experience when it comes to their refrigerators. If you are constantly struggling to find space to store new groceries or are always adding more boxes of baking soda to absorb the smell, it may be time to give your refrigerator some much-needed attention.

In honor of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Month this November, give your fridge an extreme makeover and learn how to keep it clean and organized year-round.

Refrigerators are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning and organizing the home, leaving ample time for food to spoil and cause odors in your kitchen. In order to keep your refrigerator clutter- and odor-free, follow these tips:

Toss anything that has been around longer than one year, regardless of the expiration date.

Store leftovers in clear containers so you know what is inside at a glance; label with the date when possible.

Place tall items in the back of the refrigerator and smaller ones in front so food is not forgotten.

Group similar items together (fruits in the lower left drawer, beverages on the top shelf, etc.) to find them efficiently.

Take inventory of your fridge contents every time you make a grocery list. That way, on a regular basis you'll have a reason to toss out food that's past its prime.

Keep foods tasting like they should by replacing your odor-absorbing box of baking soda every three months and making sure your fridge is set at the optimal temperature to keep food fresh.

Maximize space by using square storage containers that fit snugly against each other, instead of round ones. Stacking containers and repackaging bulk items can also make room in an over-crowded refrigerator.

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