There’s no particular reason why May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (shouldn’t every day be chocolate chip cookie day?) or July 15 is National Ice Cream Day. On any given day, there are several National Insert Your Food of Choice Days to choose from.

Today is National Clean Out Your Fridge Day, and this one makes sense to me. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I’m not hosting the holiday this year. In years past when I did host it, I always needed to take a day to empty the fridge, clean it out, and get rid of any food that had gone bad. Even with my constant efforts to not waste food, I still seem to have things that don’t get eaten before they’re gray and fuzzy.

If you’re limited on time, you can do a quick, get-rid-of-everything-that’s-bad-in-the-refrigerator clean-out and wipe down any areas with spills. If you have more time, a whole fridge cleaning is in order — when you take everything out and really clean the refrigerator. Take out the shelving and drawers and wash them. Wash the inside of the box with warm soapy water before you replace everything. It's a good idea to have a cooler nearby to put the perishable food in while it's out of the refrigerator. (And if you have a bunch of time and really want to go to town, check out these tips from HGTV.)

Don’t forget, the freezer is a part of the refrigerator, too. There’s a good chance you’ll be freezing leftovers from Thanksgiving if you can’t eat them all, so you’re going to need room in there, too. It’s a good time to get rid of anything that has been in there too long and has lost its quality.

If you get this done today, or at least some time this weekend, you’ll be glad you did once the week of Thanksgiving hits.

Do you make sure you’re refrigerator gets a good cleaning before the holidays are in full tilt?

This story was originally written in November 2013 and has been updated with more recent information.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.