The secret to a clean refrigerator is FREQUENT attention! That is, the secret is in the frequency with which you deal with said refrigerator.
A refrigerator is a lot like a toddler. It doesn’t need long, drawn out time periods from us–it just needs lots of little snatches of time! I can remember when my littles especially were toddlers and preschoolers. It was easy to get busy with the olders and not spend as much time on the littles. I made it a point each day to put in my schedule little snatches of time that I would devote to the little guys. A quick story. A little rocking. Getting out something interesting for them to play with or do. Putting Lego heads on their Lego men. Just little snippets of time—but lots of snippets throughout the week!
I try to spend time with my refrigerator at least once a day–and sometimes twice a day….but only for thirty to ninety seconds at a time (consider it the equivalent of putting Lego heads on your little guy’s Lego man….we do that without thinking, sometimes several times a day!).
I go in, say hi, rearrange what the other people who don’t appreciate that refrigerator as much as I do messed up. This goes back in there; this goes over there; what are you doing here, ketchup?
I might pull out something and put it in the chicken slop bowl. I might wipe down a shelf. I might put an open package into a zipper bag. I might move a couple of things from too-large bowls into smaller ones and stick the dirty ones in the dishwasher. In forty to sixty seconds, the refrigerator is happy (just like a toddler!)–and I am happy.
Not to belabor this point, but there are many studies nowadays proving that little tiny snatches of success, as well as “busy-ness of hands” (not just mental work–which I tend to do too much of), are like anti-depressants. I believe it! My fridge and I are both very happy!