When I was 20, I lived for five months with a woman named Fabienne and her two young daughters in the southern French city of Toulouse. Beyond my utter 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 my classes, I'd sneak a peek into the family refrigerator to see if I could determine what we might be having for dinner. I was foiled every single time. I knew that we wouldn't be dining on butter and cheese alone, but night after night, those were the only things of any substance that I found. Despite the spartan contents of Fabienne's fridge, she churned out consistently delicious meals. Fresh ingredients, daily stops to the market, and an unrelenting attention to finishing what she'd purchased were the secrets to her tidiness.
Keeping a refrigerator like Fabienne's is still something that I aspire to. Until I get there, I rely on a little trick that keeps my refrigerator smelling fresh, if not also perfectly edited.
Above: When it comes to natural cleaning products, baking soda is King and sweetly scented lavender is Queen. These two simple 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 Farmer's Market is my go-to spot for dried lavender flowers. Dried Lavender Flowers are $14.24 per pound from Amazon. (Or you can use a few drops of lavender essential oil instead; a 1/2-ounce bottle of Lavender Essential Oil is $4 from Botanic Choice.)
Above: To make your odor absorber, fill the dredger about three quarters of the way with baking soda. )Baking soda all by itself will work wonders to absorb unpleasant odors.)
Above: The addition of a lavender flowers helps mask any particularly unpleasant odors. To remove lavender buds from their stems, gently rub the blossoms between your thumb and forefinger. I used a small spoon to mix the lavender buds into the baking soda. I used about ten stems worth of lavender for my odor absorber.
Above: The perforated top of the dredger allows the baking soda to absorb unpleasant smells, while also helping to mitigate any spills. As an added bonus, if there's a day when your trash can is particularly offensive, you can easily sprinkle a dash or two of the baking soda mixture directly on top of the garbage.
Above: Tucked into the back of the refrigerator, the dredger fits right in without drawing attention to itself. Replace your baking soda and lavender every few months to keep a perfectly odor-free refrigerator.
For more of Erin's spring cleaning secrets, see The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond.