November 15th is dedicated to fridges filled with USO’s: Unidentified Shriveled Objects.
This day, dubbed National Clean Out Your Fridge Day according to the National Day Calendar, is an annual event observed in an effort to encourage people to clean out their nasty refrigerators, to help prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
Holidays aside, National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is a good reminder to maintain a clean refrigerator for health and safety reasons as well.
But, honestly, it's the perfect time of year to tackle this task.
You’ll need the space for the holidays coming up, and when you’re desperately rooting in the fridge for stuff to feed to unexpected guests, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t haul out something that will kill anyone. It’s also a good time to check the temperature in your fridge, before you begin storing all kinds of expensive holiday food in it.
We’re all guilty of tucking expired foods in the back of our refrigerators that turn into horrific science experiments overtime, right? Who hasn’t found sour milk, spoiled yogurt, or jars of soups and jams that have become chemical concoctions from time to time?
Produce drawers can be the worst, where vegetables have decomposed over the past year into brownish gels. Some people have vegetable crispers that are so bad they should almost call in a hazardous waste disposal team; they joke that the search for new life forms should start in their crisper drawers.
3 Things to Do on National Clean Out Your Fridge Day
National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is the time of year to take matters into your own hands when it comes to the status and well being of the contents inside your refrigerator. Whether you’re doing it to make room for your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, or you just want a clean fridge for your own sanity, here are practical things to do on National Clean Out Your Fridge Day.
1. Pitch Expired Foods and Drinks
It probably goes without saying that expired food and spoiled beverages are just plain harmful to your health. Consuming something spoiled or expired has the potential to at the very least taste horrible, but at the very worst cause you serious health complications.
In some cases, eating expired food can cause food poisoning, which makes you susceptible to symptoms including vomiting, fever, dehydration, and diarrhea. In other cases, expired foods can develop mold, which can produce toxic substances that are very harmful to the human body.
To keep yourself and your family safe from these health complications, start observing National Clean Out Your Fridge Day by chucking anything that is expired and well beyond its suggested consumption date. Try not to feel guilty about food waste. It is in poor taste to throw food away, but vow to yourself that you’ll do better in the future by eating foods when they’re safest to consume.
Hopefully visually seeing all of the expired foods that you’re throwing away will make you realize just how precious our access to food is and will inspire you to eat foods in a more responsible manner moving forward. Best case scenario is that the expired goods in your fridge are slim to none!
2. Donate Extra Food to a Food Bank
If you have food sitting in your refrigerator that is unused and well within its recommended expiration date that you have no intention of eating, pack a box of these items and donate them to a food drive.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one third of the food produced in the world that is made for human consumption ends up being wasted or gets lost, annually. That is roughly 1.3 billions tons of food gone, per year.
With staggering stats like these, waste not fellow twenty-something. If you bought food or beverages on impulse buys that you know you’re not going to consume, donate these unused, non-expired goods to support your local community and those in need.
3. Sanitize Your Empty Refrigerator
Once you’ve cleared out expired and unwanted food, take this opportunity to give your fridge a thorough deep clean. Pick up a cleaning agent that is designed and safe for use on fridges.
Instead of a chemical cleaning agent, you could opt for natural ingredients like hot water, paste (think lemon juice mixed with baking soda), or salt water (used to kill germs).
While National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is not quite as thrilling as National Taco Day (October 4) or National Brownie Day (December 8), it's still an important day to observe.
What tips do you have when it comes to cleaning out your fridge? Share them in the comments below!