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 my 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 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 mission to finish 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 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, in New York City, is my go-to spot for dried lavender flowers. Dried Lavender Flowers are $15.10 per pound from Amazon. (Or you can use a few drops of lavender essential oil; a half-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: 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 unpleasant 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 fits right 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. Both stories are on Gardenista.
Have you cast your vote today for the Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards? You can vote for the finalists of your choice every day until August 8; we’ll announce the winners on August 9.
Finally, get more ideas on how to evaluate and choose your kitchen refrigerator in our Remodeling 101 Guide: Kitchen Refrigerators.