Saturday, 18 December 2010

A week to go - serious preparation for Christmas!

When was the last time you cleaned your fridge? I don't know for sure how long ago I cleaned mine... thorough, deep cleaned that is. It's been a few months I think. Stupid really that we allow ourselves to store food inside a "cupboard" that we clean so infrequently. I wouldn't dream of putting the plates down ready to dish up dinner on a messy work surface yet I put food onto a fridge shelf that I haven't wiped clean for a few days. With the last Christmas food shop planned for a few days time, I decided today would be a good day to tackle the fridge - whilst it was still relatively empty and so that I would have lots of space for my Christmas goodies.

My whole houses needs a good tidy actually. With the hectic rush of the last couple of weeks things have really got cluttered. There are half-finished hampers on the kitchen side, part-done stockings on the living room carpet, toys that need to be put back in their boxes, magazines that need recycling, ironing that needs doing... Mother-in-law is coming in a few days and Santa a couple of days after that so we really need to tidy up and clear some space. But I hate tidying.

It seems to me that there are two main ways to tidy up. There is the proper, sorting out as you go and putting things in their proper place type tidying. And then there is the shove everything in a cupboard and make things look neat on the outside type of tidying. Both have their place but I much prefer the proper type of tidying as it is the only solution in the long term. In our house, I usually start with the proper tidying but then after a few days when I am pooped and fed-up I turn a blind eye to Steve finishing off the last of the tidying with the shoving it in a cupboard method.

Proper tidying up is deathly time consuming and usually results in an intermediate state that is messier than when you started. I also find that doing it solidly for days at a time makes me thoroughly miserable and grumpy. I have decided this time to tidy up in small bursts, interspersed with nice activities that I want to do. So this morning I started by making a batch of mince pies but whilst the pastry was chilling for half and hour I cleaned the oven. Then at lunch time I lazily flicked through food magazines, cutting out recipes I wanted to keep so that I could stick the remaining pages in the recycling. Then I cleared Friday's Christmas shopping off the work surface by wrapping it and putting the parcels into the incomplete stockings. And then I tackled the fridge.

The best way to go about this is to remove everything from the top shelf then remove the shelf from the fridge and clean it in soapy water. Then clean the sides of the fridge that surround that shelf, ideally with an antibacterial spray. I usually wipe the shelf and the fridge sides dry with kitchen towel too before putting the shelf back. Then, put the food back onto the shelf, throwing away anything that is out of date or otherwise spoiled. Personally I hate food waste but sometimes you just have to admit defeat and throw it away! Then continue down the fridge, a shelf at a time, until every shelf is clean, the whole inside of the fridge is cleaned and all the old food is in the bin. Next tackle the door, removing anything that can be detached to clean. Don't forget to wipe clean the inside of the door, the edges of the door and the bits in between the folds of the rubber seal. Finally, clean the outside of the fridge - this is a lot easier to do and maintain if you don't have lots of fridge magnets stuck all over it!

Now that your fridge is nice and clean and all your old food has gone you are far less likely to give yourself or your guests food poisoning over the Christmas period. However, it is important that when you stack your food with Christmas food you do so in a way that minimises the risk of contamination. Try to avoid pushing food to the back of the fridge as fridges work best when air can flow down the back - you know you have done something wrong if food starts to freeze. Always store food in sealed containers or wrapped in clingfilm, foil or bags. Keep cooked food away from raw food and place raw foods towards the bottom of the fridge so that if they drip they will not drip onto cooked foods. Don't forget to wipe the shelf space clean after removing raw food from the fridge. Never place warm food in the fridge as it will cause the fridge to heat up and cause condensation which can drip onto foods, causing contamination. You may like to check that your fridge is at the correct temperate too which is ideally 4 °C but certainly not over that.

With that done, stand back and admire your gleaming fridge! Then go and make a shopping list of all the things you thought about whilst you were doing it. It is rare thing to precisely know the entire contents of your fridge so make the most of it!

Tomorrow the cleaning and tidying will continue... although I expect I shall spare some time to go and play in the snow with my girls and maybe finishing putting those hampers together.

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to work. I love to use this method of splitting the 'nice' and the 'nasty' jobs but sometimes you just need to crack on with the bleugh ones or wallow and enjoy the fun ones.

    Hope you and the girls enjoyed your time out in the snow!