It’s National Clean Out Your Fridge Day

Stinky refrigerator?

I am not happy with whomever invented Clean Out Your Fridge Day which is “celebrated” on November 15. Do we really need to be reminded that although the rest of our place looks presentable, there’s probably something creepy, hairy, stinky, and unknown lurking in the back corner of the crisper drawer? Clearly, we do, or this day would not exist. My fridge is like my closet. It will go for weeks – dare I say months – looking tidy and clean and then suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, it looks like elves performed some horrible mischief in the night. My once neat, organized, color-coded (yes, I am THAT girl) closet is a sloppy wreck with clothes falling off the hangers and the fridge contains mysterious science-fair-like “stuff”. And it’s not like cleaning either the fridge or the closet is hard; it’s just an annoyance and an awful way to spend a Saturday morning when you could be brunching on eggs benedict and sipping mimosas. So what is one to do? As in the words of a dear friend of mine, “Just git ‘er done”. Here’s a few tips on making this god-forsaken process a wee bit less miserable.

Preparation

Obviously, you have to remove all food from the fridge to clean it. Short on counter space? Set up a little folding table or use a few chairs. I am pretty successful with just removing food from one section at a time, cleaning it, and putting it back before moving on. For a complete, and uber-thorough clean (completely emptying), put your food in a cooler. You’ll need at least enough room to hold a shelf’s worth of stuff. Make sure your kitchen sink is empty, too. While you’re at it, put the recycling bin and trash can nearby as you’ll likely be tossing expired items and items that no longer resemble food.

Supplies

You won’t need much: white vinegar and/or dish soap; a spray bottle or a big bowl; a sponge and/or a scrubby; and paper and/or microfiber towels — all or most of which you probably already have on hand (whew).  The vinegar breaks down grease and grime, and when mixed with hot water in a spray bottle (or bowl, or dishpan, or bucket), it becomes a food-safe cleaner that’s perfect for any gunk that might have accumulated on refrigerator shelves. The other items on the list will help you wipe, scrub, dry, and shine.

The Process

While some people have enough counter space (is there ever really enough?!?) to completely empty their refrigerators before cleaning, I find  working one shelf at a time is often the best method, because you don’t want to leave your perishables out for too long.

  • Start at the top.
  • Remove everything from a shelf and see just how messy you (or those darn elves!) have been.
  • If there are spills, carefully remove the glass from the frame or brackets, or the shelf itself (depending on your fridge) and clean both sides, as well as the edges, with the vinegar solution.
  • Dry with paper or microfiber towels.
  • Wash the frame that holds the glass before replacing the entire shelf. For that, I usually head to the sink and use dish soap and hot water.
  • If there aren’t any caked-on spills that require shelf removal, simply run a scrubby sponge under hot water. Give the shelf and fridge walls an initial scrub to loosen any gunk. Then, spray it all down with cleaner and give it another scrub, before wiping everything clean with a microfiber cloth.

NOTE: When you’re not actively working in the fridge, keep the door closed to keep everything as cool as possible.

Doors and Drawers

Refrigerator drawers often accumulate debris, especially if they’re used for produce. For a deep clean, remove the drawers and wash them in the kitchen sink with soap and water. If they won’t fit in your sink, spray and wipe them clean, and dry them before putting them back. While the drawers are removed, wipe down the walls and “floor” of the fridge with the vinegar cleaner. Use the same method for the shelves inside the doors.

Put Stuff Back Clean

Now that your fridge is sparkling (and you realize it wasn’t THAT BAD to clean), be sure to wipe down jars, containers, and condiment bottles so you don’t bring gunk back into the fridge. Even if they don’t appear dirty, it’s a good idea to give container bottoms a quick wipe with a damp sponge or paper towel, especially if the shelf was sticky. If any bottles or jars have accumulated a little goo on the outside, rinse them under warm water then wipe them clean and dry. If gunk has accumulated around the seal or the edges of the cap, take the lid off and wash it more thoroughly in the sink. Check all expiration dates and toss anything that’s expired (like the sriracha I just threw away from 2017. Yikes.)

Wipe Down the Outside

Once everything is back in your sparkling fridge, use a clean microfiber cloth and the vinegar spray to wipe down the outside of the doors, including the edges and seals, and don’t forget the handles! The worst area will undoubtedly be to top of the fridge as it tends to collect greasy residue from cooking and dust. I like keeping a kitchen towel on top that can just be thrown in the wash. If you have a stainless steel fridge, spray on a cleaner specially made for stainless steel and polish with a microfiber towel for a streak-free finish.

Keep It (and Yourself) Fresh

You did it and you lived to tell the tale! Enjoy your super-clean fridge. For a while, anyway. If you want to keep it smelling fresher longer, stick an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves. Now treat yourself to brunch with a bloody Mary. You deserve it.

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day 2021

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest

appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.

—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

 

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades, but Memorial Day is/should be much more than an excuse to party over a three-day weekend. Here are some facts to give this important US holiday some perspective.

 

Memorial Day Beginnings

  • Approximately 620,000 soldiers lost their lives during the Civil War.
  • In the years following the war, women placed flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers. Two years later 219 Civil War veterans marched through Carbondale, IL to Woodlawn Cemetery in memory of the fallen, where Union hero Major General John A. Logan delivered the principal address. The ceremony gave Carbondale its claim to the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance.
  • Waterloo, New York, began holding an annual community service on May 5, 1866. Although many towns claimed the title, it was Waterloo that won congressional recognition as the “Birthplace of Memorial Day.”

 

Major General John A. Logan Make Memorial Day Official

  • General Logan was commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. On May 5, 1868, he issued General Order No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The orders expressed hope that the observance would be “kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.

 

Decoration Day

  • Originally known as Decoration Day for the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags, federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name in 1967.

 

The Holiday

  • Federal Memorial Day, established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades without losing a day’s pay.
  • New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day a legal holiday in 1873.
  • After World War I, the purpose of Memorial Day was broadened to honor those who died in all our country’s wars.
  • In 1971, Memorial Day shifted from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

 

First Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

  • On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery—which, until 1864, was Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation.
  • James A. Garfield, a Civil War general, Republican Congressman from Ohio, and future president delivered a speech lasting almost two hours.

 

Rolling Thunder

  • On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, 2500 motorcyclists rode into Washington, D.C. for the first Rolling Thunder rally to draw attention to Vietnam War soldiers still missing in action and prisoners of war. By 2002, the ride had swelled to 300,000 bikers, many of them veterans, and in 2018 the numbers were closer to half a million.
  • Although reported that 2019 would be the group’s last Memorial Day ride, American Veterans (AMVETS) continued the tradition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now known as Rolling to Remember, 2020’s ride participants each rode 22 miles through their own community for a Virtual Memorial Day. Traveling 22 miles is significant, because in addition to raising awareness for soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war, AMVETS wanted to bring attention to the average 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.

 

Customs, Firsts, Dedications

  • It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half-staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
  • The World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies.
  • In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael wore a red silk poppy and began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.”
  • The first Indianapolis 500 ran on May 30, 1911. The winning driver was Ray Harroun who averaged 74.6 mph and completed the race in six hours and 42 minutes.
  • The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1922 by Supreme Court Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft. Lincoln’s surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln attended.
  • In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3:00 PM in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”

 

Fath Properties remembers and honors all our fallen soldiers and their families. We wish each you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.

 

Sources: MentalFloss, Wikipedia