When I was 20, I lived for five months with a woman named Fabienne and her two young daughters in the city of Toulouse, in southern France. Beyond my delight at speaking French all day and indulging in a daily chocolatine from a neighborhood bakery in the afternoons, I was enthralled by something much more mundane: Fabienne's refrigerator.
Every evening when I returned from classes, I'd peek into the family refrigerator to see if I could determine what we might be having for dinner. I was foiled every time. I knew we wouldn't be dining on butter and cheese alone, but night after night, those were the only things that I found. Despite the spartan contents of Fabienne's fridge, she churned out consistently delicious meals. Fresh ingredients, daily visits to the market, and an unrelenting mission to finish what she'd purchased were the secrets to her tidiness.
Keeping a refrigerator like Fabienne's is one of my goals. Until I get there, I rely on a little trick that keeps my refrigerator smelling fresh, if not perfectly edited.
Above: When it comes to natural cleaning products, baking soda is King and sweet-scented lavender is Queen. These two ingredients are all you need to make a 100-percent-natural odor absorber.
Above: An aluminum Dredger, made for sprinkling flour or powdered sugar, is the perfect vessel for this project. I purchased mine for $3.50 at Whisk.
Above: The Union Square Greenmarket is my go-to spot for dried lavender. Dried Lavender Flowers are $14.24 per pound from Amazon. (Or you can use a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil; a ½-ounce bottle is $4 from Botanic Choice.)
Above: To make the odor absorber, fill the dredger about three quarters of the way with baking soda. (Baking soda all by itself works wonders to absorb odors.)
Above: Adding lavender flowers helps mask unpleasant odors. Remove the lavender buds from the stems by rubbing the blossoms between your thumb and forefinger, then mix the buds into the baking soda with a spoon. I used about 10 stems of lavender to make a batch of odor absorber.
Above: The dredger's perforated top allows the baking soda to absorb smells while avoiding spills. As an added bonus, if there's a day when your trash can is particularly offensive, you can sprinkle some of the baking soda mixture on top of the garbage.
Above: Tucked into the back of the refrigerator, the dredger will fit in without drawing attention to itself. Replace your baking soda and lavender every few months to keep a perfectly odor-free refrigerator.
Erin also uses herbs to deter moths. Read about her technique in DIY: Modern Mothballs (No Chemicals Included). And for more of her cleaning secrets, see The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond.
N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published May 9, 2013.
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