Yes you need to organize your refrigerator. You shouldn’t have to wear a respirator mask when you open your refrigerator. If you get that smelly waft of air when you open your fridge, something needs to be addressed in there.
Start with a bucket of soapy water and paper towels. One shelf at a time, empty the contents and toss any “fuzzy” food. Wipe off the shelf and the sides near that shelf. You can also take the whole shelf and wash it in the sink if it really needs more of a scrubbing.
Before you put the contents back on that shelf, wipe off the bottoms of each item. Glance at the expiration dates. Most condiments will last beyond their expiration date for a short time, but when we’re talking YEARS, you might want to consider replacing those items. There are many condiments/sauces that were bought when you tried a new recipe. Maybe the recipe wasn’t as good as you thought. Can you use that condiment for something else, or is it past it’s useful life and needs to say good-bye.
Don’t forget the drawers. There usually are many a science experiment growing in there. There is a liner that you can put in your drawers that is like the mesh drawer liners. It helps let some air circulate under the produce in the drawers. And the door shelves. Those in particular get nasty quickly.
When you return the items to the fridge, think of like things together. Most condiments would go in the door. But even those can be organized. Dressings on one shelf. Sauces, condiments etc on another. Pickles and jarred items together. On the shelves, put dips and the like together. Yogurts together and other dairy.
While you are at it, the freezer probably needs attention. Shelf by shelf identify what you are pulling out. If you can’t identify it or know what it is, it is probably time to go. The freezer requires extra hot water to prevent your rag from sticking to the walls.
To keep things in check, consider dating items as you store leftovers. The product label once from The Container Store allows you to write the date on the label, with the special marker included, and then easily wipe it off when you empty that container. Same with the freezer. If you use freezer bags, write on them as well
Now that you are done cleaning out the fridge, close the door, now open it and take in a deep breath. Isn’t that refreshing!