Tips for Tackling a Fridge Clean-Out – and Move-Out

Of all the million and one details you need to take care of in preparation for an upcoming move, the fridge may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, it is a task that requires some advance planning, a bit of elbow grease, and a strategy for using up the contents and minimizing food waste. Like most other moving-related projects, it’s not overwhelming if you just take things step by step.  

Here are some tips and tricks for getting your refrigerator ready for moving day.  

Purge and Distribute 

Start by disposing of expired food and any condiments you haven’t used recently and making a list of what’s left. While you’re at it, continue with an inventory of your pantry, cabinets and drawers. Then decide what you’re going to finish off, pack or toss. Work from this list, avoid buying a lot of new items and get creative using up what you have. If you hire a moving company, check what foods you can and cannot bring. 

Whatever’s left over — including leftovers — should be tossed or given away. Neighbors or family members may enjoy some fresh produce or frozen treats you won’t get around to using. Your local food bank may or may not take perishable food; however, non-perishable items from your pantry are usually welcome. You should also be aware that Mayflower has partnered with Move For Hunger, a national nonprofit organization that works with leading movers and relocation companies to allow customers like you to donate their non-perishables.  

Get Your Clean On  

With less in it, the fridge might look clean, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to load onto the truck. Most newer refrigerators don’t need a lot of prep work before they’re ready for a thorough cleaning; however, older and/or less expensive models need to be defrosted first.  

As move day draws near, you’ll need to fully empty the fridge and scrub everything thoroughly, paying close attention to the rubber gaskets that seal the door, the hardware holding the racks in place and any dirt hidden in corners and crevices. Leave the doors open to ensure any remaining moisture has a chance to evaporate. Allow about a day’s lead time (24 hours) so the fridge can dry out completely.  

The above steps are less about aesthetics and more about preventing mold and bacteria from forming. This checklist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some useful tips for making the inside of your refrigerator as sanitized as possible.  

Measure and Move 

This might seem obvious, but if you’re planning a DIY move, make sure you can get the fridge out of the kitchen: It’s at least a two-person undertaking. Carefully measure the height, width and depth of the appliance, as well as the width and height of the doors, hallways, stairwells and other openings it will need to pass through on its journey to the truck. Additionally, be sure to secure the refrigerator door(s) so they don’t pop open unexpectedly, sending interior food bins tumbling out.  

Floor protection is also a must. At minimum, we recommend felt furniture slider pads. Depending on the size of the appliance, enlisting an appliance dolly may also be wise so the fridge can easily be rolled out. Also, take note that a refrigerator should only be transported in an upright position. 

If you use an experienced national mover like Mayflower, a lot of these “measure and move” details are taken care of on your behalf. Here’s an overview of the customizable full service moving packages we offer, all of which include packing and unpacking, loading, transportation and unloading. 

We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®. 

Want more tips and advice? Check out our other blogs for city guides, decorating ideas and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.  

Oh, and did you know Mayflower has a channel on Spotify? Move and groove to tunes that get you to your new place — and settled in — in style. 

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