We all need to make room for the food to come. The holidays bring a special kind of food stress. There is the ‘Do we have enough to feed everyone?’, but there is also ‘Where are we going to put all this food?’

Before considering what to buy and where to put it all, a proper cleansing has to happen. It’s time to (dramatic music here) clean out your refrigerator. Preparation is vital.

Exorcise the Demon Food From the Fridge

If you are worried about food getting too warm, using an insulated chest may help keep food cooler, but up to two hours is safe. As you clear out the year-old salad dressing that nobody liked, the weird-tasting homemade pickles, the wrinkled forgotten vegetables in the bag at the back of the produce drawer, and the jar of salsa that is crusted closed, some tough decisions have to be made. What to keep and what to throw out.

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Get rid of anything with an expired date. Get rid of anything that looks like a science experiment. You don’t even have to save reusable plastic dishes if you’re too afraid to open them to see what’s inside. Let them all go.

No Trick to Cleaning the Inside of the Fridge

Now we come to cleaning the actual fridge. Any removable shelves and drawers can be washed in simple hot soapy water. Remember that running glass shelves directly in hot water could crack them. The inside of the fridge should be cleaned with hot and soapy water as well. In addition, you may opt for a sanitization cycle consisting of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach to 1 gallon of water. This can help with odors that may be lingering in the fridge as well.

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After drying with a clean towel, put all the shelves back, and return the food deemed appropriate to save. Don’t neglect to wipe down any items that are worthy to reenter the fridge. Why reinfect the fridge with cooties? Now there is room to spare to fill with food intended to overfeed the masses.

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