Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Fridge (Or, The Cold Hard Truth)

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”
― Erma Bombeck

I always wonder what refrigerators look like in other people's houses.  I'm too polite when visiting to poke through vegetable drawers and inspect the expiration dates of condiments but I always WONDER if they have the same sort of filth I seem to have.

I am a disgusting human being.  At least that's what usually goes through my mind on the (rare) occasion of cleaning out my refrigerator.  I don't even THINK about the fridge usually unless I'm out of space for new stuff because last month's leftovers are STILL (annoyingly) clogging up that third shelf.  But, a few days ago, I took on the gargantuan task of bringing my home up to the level of habitable by cleaning out the truly revolting messes that have collected in the wasteland that is my fridge.

NOTE: Get ready to feel REALLY GOOD about yourself. 

Step 1.  Assess the situation.

  OK.  The fridge is a nightmare.  This picture isn't even an accurate portrayal because I'd already removed the shelves on the side of the door.

There were leftovers in this refrigerator from January.  I kid you not.  Note:  January was almost SIX MONTHS AGO. 

I removed everything.  Everything.  

Step 2.  Understand and embrace the fact that you have a problem.  

This was shoved in the far corner of the fruit drawer.  Perfectly shaped and wonderful fruits rested far, far away from this nasty little reject.  If it didn't have a stem on it, I probably wouldn't recognize it but I BELIEVE it's an apple.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Eat this one and you die.  Maybe I should take on the persona of that hideous old wicked witch in Snow White.

"Just one bite..."

Also, how can you tell when bleu cheese is no longer palatable?  I mean, it STARTS OUT kinda moldy...

Step 3.  Evaluate your options.  And then judge yourself.  HARD.

OK.  I had FOUR containers of mustard.  Four.
All expired.  The WEIRDEST part?  I don't even use mustard.

I had three jars of salsa.  Half full.

I got rid of EVERYTHING on the left half of this picture.  All expired.  I threw out THREE half-full jars of pickles.  Expired.

That's a LOT of waste.  I felt ashamed of myself.  What a wasteful, ungrateful American I am!

Step 4.  Purge.  Cleanse.  Deep breathing through the exercise.  Let go of the judgment.

I removed every shelf.  Every piece of tempered refrigerator glass.  And I cleaned them each thoroughly (according to the manufacturer's instructions) with warm soapy water.

I let them all dry (to avoid streaks and water spots) while I scrubbed the inside of the refrigerator.  (HOW does dog hair get INSIDE of my refrigerator?)

Step 5.  Change your life.

I started over.

Oh, I kept a lot of things.  Any unexpired condiment went back on the door.  All vegetables (the ones that didn't look like a science experiment gone awry) went into the veggie drawer.  All fruits went back to the fruit drawer.  And all non-moldy cheese returned to the cheese drawer.

And I told the boys we're going "European."  We're only going to buy what we're eating in the next two days.  And then, on the third day, we'll eat the leftovers from the first two.

Change is good.  Change is fun.  Let the fridge be your metaphor.  When things are really nasty on the inside, it may be time to gut it out.

Oh.  Just in case you're wondering, the ENTIRE cleansing process from beginning to end took exactly one hour and 23 minutes with time out for picture-taking.  That's it.  In order to feel good and healthy and non-nasty, I took one hour and 23 minutes out of my life.

Granted, that IS time out of my reading time. But at least now I don't have to stand in front of the refrigerator door with my arms wrapped around it with that panicky look in my eyes when a visitor approaches it.  "NO, NO!" I yell frantically.  "You're my GUEST.  I'LL GET IT FOR YOU!"

Go on.  'Fess up.  What does YOUR fridge look like on the inside?

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  1. That's my line too! ..... "NO, NO!....You're my GUEST. I'LL GET IT FOR YOU!"

    Loved this posting and loved the Erma Bombeck quote.


    1. SO glad you enjoyed! :) Thanks for reading...AND commenting!

  2. Are you sure you were looking at your fridge? looks and sounds very much like ours. Have just done the same as you but it only took 30 mins to do it. Our fridges are a lot lot smaller than yours.
    Have also cleaned and defrosted the freezer, 1st time for 9 months, now I know why the drawers wouldn't close easily,(to much frost)that took longer waiting for the frost to clear but used the time to check all the best before dates so that any that had expired could be used within the next few days/weeks, No waste here!!