There are some must-do kitchen maintenance after kitchen organizing ideas here that can save you thousands, and that’s not an exaggeration. Have you checked the price of a new refrigerator lately? A modest chiller starts at about $1,500, and that’s if you can even get one. In 2021, post-pandemic, refrigerators are one of many consumer goods that are in short supply.
As you can imagine, my kitchen is organized. Full stop. No problem there. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t improve my kitchen. Even if you are organized, kitchen maintenance is always in style.
Kitchen Maintenance After Kitchen Organizing Ideas
When my freezer compartment on my kitchen refrigerator stopped freezing last week, I got worried. I turned up the freezer control to 7, the highest setting, but it didn’t do much. We went into emergency dinner mode, trying to turn half-thawed ingredients into dinner as fast as possible. I called LG to set a service appointment and learned that parts are discontinued for my 13-year old unit. They make money from selling new units, not servicing old ones. What a statement on planned obsolesce!
I picked out my new darling in French blue from a made-in-America company you’ve never heard of called Big Chill, but that’s when I learned that refrigerators across the country (and the globe, I guess) are in short supply because of the pandemic, with delivery taking months in some cases.
I had one trick left for my aging fridge/freezer, and it involved a simple and unlikely tool…my vacuum cleaner. You may have heard that you are supposed to vacuum your refrigerator coils, but they are so very inconveniently located in the back of the refrigerator. That’s no fun, and just plain impossible if you have mobility issues yourself. But cleaning the back of your fridge can be a life and death issue…for your fridge. It was for mine!
Mr. Vacuum Cleaner, Meet Mr. Refrigerator
Three days after I had mentally moved my fridge out of the house and replaced it with a new unit costing between $2,000 and $4,000, I finally decided to move the fridge for real, but only about three feet. Most modern refrigerators are on wheels, and with a fairly gentle pull, you can coax it forward enough to get to the back panel. What I saw on the back of my fridge was truly horrifying.
It is no exaggeration to say there was a blanket of fluff on the back of my fridge, covering the fan compartment that maintains the freezer temp.
It looked like my fridge was wearing a sweater. I wish I were making that up.
I wish I had taken a picture, but it was so disgusting, I aimed my hand vac at the back of the fridge before I reached for my camera. #BloggerFail
Then I removed the six screws on the lower back panel around the fans, and vacuumed inside there. But honestly, 95% of the offending fluff was on the outside of these vents.
I did manage to get a picture of the top back half of my fridge…AFTER I had vacuumed that. Yup, this is the after I peeled one layer of dust off and was working on the underlayer.
The next day? My freezer was freezing again! Partially thawed foods were once again as hard as a beautiful, precious ice cube!
Help Your Refrigerator Last Longer Than The Average Fridge
Look, this fridge is thirteen years old, and the US Department of Energy says a refrigerator lasts about 12 years, so we’re on borrowed time. I’ve already put a reminder on my calendar to vacuum the back of the fridge again in six months. Allowing for proper airflow will hopefully extend the life a bit longer.
Since I organize and clean my refrigerator weekly, and my freezer is organized, there’s no chance that mystery meats or surprise dishes build up. When it’s mostly empty, it’s easier to move, so this is one kitchen maintenance task that isn’t hard to keep on top of. I just need a little reminder.
By the way, a furry fridge backside can be a problem in any household, but especially one with pets. My little kitty has the least amount of fur of nearly any pet, but if you have a pet with a lot of fur, or multiple pets, chances are good that the backside of your fridge will be worse, and your unit is working harder than needs to in order to keep cool. You might want to clean your fridge and freezer coils ASAP.
What other kitchen maintenance after kitchen organizing ideas will save you money?
Many of my readers have immaculately organized kitchens. We know that keeping an organized fridge can reduce food waste and save on average about $2,000 per year. But there are a few key maintenance tasks that can save you even more money.
Keep your kitchen drains running with my favorite low-impact, enzymatic kitchen drain cleaner…that really works! HomeAdvisor.com says a clogged drain costs and average of $227 to repair, and it’s always at the most inconvenient time!
If you have a microwave mounted over your stove, pull your metal screens from under the microwave and run them through your dishwasher (twice) to remove the grease.
Run a lemon and a little salt through your garbage disposal…after first making lemonade. 🙂 It’ll clear out the gook, prevent fruit flies, and make things smell a little sweeter. Lemons are amazing cleaning tools!
Have I inspired you to go vacuum the back of your fridge?
Please comment below.