Cleaning out the refrigerator is a necessary chore that most don't take the time to do properly. It requires more than just throwing out a few old items that catch your eye when look inside. Really take your time for a deep cleaning. Pull out your cleaning gloves, because things can get messy. Have a large trash bag ready to toss out rotten and expired items. Give yourself ample time to ensure you're able to do a thorough job.
Knowing what foods are still good and which ones to toss is very important. Obvious reasons to toss out foods would be visible molding and rancid smells. Fruits and veggies that are mushy, soft, and slimy also need to go. Get rid of condiments like ketchchup, mayo, barbeque sauces...etc. that have expired. An item that a lot of people overlook are broths and stocks. Putting it in the fridge doesn't save it for your next meal. Broths and stocks only stay fresh in the refrigerator for about two days after opening.
There are several signs that will let you know what foods are okay to keep a little bit longer. Cheeses, fruits, and vegetables that are still firm can still be kept. Put fruits and veggies in the right drawer to help them last even longer. Fruits should be stored at lower humidity and vegetavles at a higher humidity. Traditional balsamic and other vinegars age very well and actually taste better the older that they are. They can actually last years in the refrigerator after being opened.
The refrigerator is essential for slowing bacterial growth to make food last longer, but it doesn't stop it completely. Leaving food in the refrigerator for too long can still lead to molds and bacteria taking over your favorite foods. Don't let your food go to waste by leaving items for too long. Make a schedule to regularly toss out bad foods and wipe down shelves. The more often you do it, the less time it'll take!