Cleaning out the refrigerator is one of the most important places to clean. But if your anything like me it just ends up a heaping mess before it actually gets cleaned. It's amazing how it just builds up like that! I swear I cleaned out a month ago. I don't know why but I dread cleaning anything in my kitchen. It's my no-go zone. I swear that there is some sort of force field that as soon as I hit with in a certain range suddenly my brain gets hit with a thought laser that make me remember 'hey wasn't I supposed to finish that over there in the other room?" or "Oh what's in the pantry?" or "I can always do this later." or "Why I am I even in here? I'm not even hungry - oh look cookies!"
So here is the result of my procrastination.
Here is close up of the disaster.
Any hoo, the best way to clean out a mess like that it take everything out and clean the whole thing out. Place anything that can spoil quickly like meats and milk in a cooler. Turn off the light and raise the temperature to get started. Instead of cleaning around everything it's best to remove all the shelves and clean them in the sink (especially if you can't remember the last time it was cleaned like this). Dish detergent works pretty well at getting everything cleaned. Remember to clean the insides and not just the shelves. Once everything is cleaned wipe down everything again a second time with a clean cloth or a sanitizing solution. Once it's done turn the light back on, lower the temperature and place all the (good, non-expired) food back in.
So from now on I pledge to clean out my fridge once a week,
To prevent odors leave a small box of baking soda open inside.
Keep the temperature between 35F to 45F, but ideally it should be kept at 40F.
Leave a marker (non-permanent) in the kitchen to date when left overs are placed inside.
Cooked meat and chicken will last about 3 to 4 days. However, if it's fresh it will only last about 2 days.
Remember if it smells funny, throw it out!
If you're looking for a general guideline one how long food will last in the refrigerator go to http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/how-long-food-last-00000000002738/index.html