Project: Simplify: The Refrigerator is looking better!

I wanted to post this earlier, but ended up going on a date with my husband instead! Yay for date nights!

Here we are finishing week 4 of Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify! One thing I’m noticing about myself is that I may have a habit of biting off more than I can chew on these projects. My goal was to clean out the refrigerator/freezer and the pantry.

I just didn’t get to it all, but I did make really great progress on the refrigerator. I have the main shelves and drawers looking good! And I am happy about that. I WILL plan to get to the rest of it soon, but maybe in smaller, more attainable goal chunks(Do goal chunks sound gross? hmmm).

Refrigerator before:

Refrigerator after:

This is some of the yucky behind the drawers:



Very bad yucky drawer:

Do you see how there are yucky paper towels in there? That’s because I noticed that something was leaky and yucky a while ago, so of course I stuck a paper towel or two in there to soak up the yuck so it wouldn’t get on the new food I was putting right on top of this yucky food. I know. It doesn’t make sense. And I’ve done it before, too.

But here is a clean, happy drawer!

I am ashamed of all this food that I wasted, and I will try not to follow my Ten Ways to Waste Food in the future! I don’t really want to show you this next picture, but I am trying to be honest here, so this is how my pile looked at the end of this week’s project:

And here’s a nice happy clean shelf!

If you would like to see more refrigerator (and pantry) transformations, check out Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify link up.


18 Comments on “Project: Simplify: The Refrigerator is looking better!”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hurray for you! Don’t fret about not getting it all done. Progress is always good. I tell myself this every day, as I never get through evrything. The key is to be better today than yesterday. “Progress, not perfection.” That’s one of Flylady’s helpful sayings. Perfection is unattainable for us in this life, but progress is realistic and right, and you are definitely making it!

  2. WilliamB says:

    Excellent progress! Fridges can be hard to clean. I know that food waste is discouraging but it doesn’t have to happen again.

    On a related note, I think the Project’s timeline is *very* aggressive. One week to go through all the paper in one’s house? Not just sort or get rid of, but to act on as well? Not realistic for anyone I know.

    If I were doing this, I would allocate a 2 weeks for the kitchen alone, one for fridge & freezer(s) and one for pantry.

    One thing that might make it easier is to combine the cleaning/organizing with an “eat from the pantry” fortnight. Since you’re cleaning everything you know what you have; use this knowledge to have meals based on what you have. You’ll clear out space and spend less money at the same time.

    One more thought: the plastic produce bags from the store are usually the worst thing to store produce in. Ironic, isn’t it? The bags don’t breathe at all and hold a lot of moisture – the two things that cause produce to rot the fastest. Consider buying some specialized ‘produce bags,’ they really work.

    Most handheld fruits (apples, peaches) and most root veggies (most common exceptions are carrots, parsnips, radishes) are best in no bags at all. Leave them loose in the cool & dry produce drawer.

    Mushrooms, I have found to my regret, go bad in the boxes they’re sold in: the plastic doesn’t breathe well enough in the cold fridge and they’re too crowded in the box. Either put them in a large, uncovered box or at least rip the plastic covering.

    Leafy greens & cruciferous veg last longest if they’re dry, then wrapped in damp paper towel, then put in an open specialized produce bag. Celery and the exceptional root veg last longest when kept dry and in specialized produce bags.

    All produce lasts longer if you don’t wash it. If you do wash it, dry it *thoroughly* before putting it away.

    Congratulations on getting this done, and good for you for the honesty picture. You’ll be able to look back at it with pride, later.

  3. The Mrs says:

    You are doing so well! And I echo WilliamB: a kitchen clean-up project that coincides with an eat from the pantry/freezer/fridge week or two *really* makes both jobs easier.

    And the ongoing maintenance of your food stores – which is my downfall – is so much easier when you have a way to keep track of what you have and what you need to use soon.

    Again, I’m so impressed with your work so far!

    • Thanks, The Mrs! I will definitely be working on using what I already have in my menu plan this week (which I still need to do). I don’t want it to get so out of control again! Actually, we had fruit salad today which did a good job using some fruit that needed to be eaten. 🙂

  4. Barbara says:

    Great job! First thing Monday AM I look at Simple Mom’s blog and then head to your blog to see what you’re up to! My fridge looked like yours (and sorta still does). I only managed to get the door done on the fridge section. It was nasty and I felt saddened to throw out so much stuff. And don’t get me started on that veggie drawer! Thanks to WilliamB for the great ideas on produce storage. I need to implement those ideas!
    Maybe today I’ll get to the 3 drawers- veggie, meats, snacks. Then again, it’s Sunday and I love a good rest day before the rat race starts again.
    Keep up the great work!

  5. WilliamB says:

    I had a reminder today of another thing that helps keep the fridge uncrowded – don’t keep too many of one thing. This has two forms:

    1. Only open one container of a thing at a time. No need to open a second can of tomato paste if the first one is half-full. This is part of a virtuous circle: you’ll know if you have an open jar of salsa if your fridge is emptier, and it’ll stay emptier if you have only one jar open at a time.

    2. How many different varieties of a food do you need open at once? Everyone will have a different answer. I apparently need 13 types of hot sauce but only one type of salsa and one type of salad dressing.

    Here’s another idea but I don’t know if this helps or not: your photo shows things in the fridge that don’t need to be refrigerated. No harm in it, but if you want to use more cabinet space and free up fridge space you can move mustard, ketchup, vinegar-based hot sauces (but not salsas or chutneys), peanut butter and cocktail sauce to the pantry.

    You can also keep apples, citrus, and bananas on the counter. They don’t last as long but most people are more likely to eat something that’s sitting out, so they’re less likely to last till they go bad.

    I keep other hand fruit, such as plums, peaches and nectarines on the counter as well, relying on increased consumption to avoid waste.

  6. Ok, so, I saw your nice neat fridge in person yesterday, but I didn’t get to see the before. Very awesome.

    And just so you know, I definitely had some very, very gross vegetable drawers before I started this whole food waste journey…so there’s hope!

  7. kimberly says:

    Excellent work,my friend. I love your intensity!

  8. Messy Wife says:

    You did a great job at the refrigerator! It looks so nice. While I did clear out some expired food, I completely forgot about cleaning it!

    BTW, have you decided your next hot spot? I am going to tackle toys with my boys.

  9. Karen says:

    Try storing mushrooms in a paper bag, like a lunch bag. Really works. At worst they eventually dry out, which is better than a puddle of slime.

  10. […] I would have no idea when I last cleaned it out, but now I can look back and see that it was in April. So it looks like every 3 months is not going to work for me. […]

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