The quiet centerpiece of most homes is the refrigerator. Quiet, solid, stoic, understated, efficient. It stands there in the kitchen, occasionally grumbling to drop a few ice cubes and purring quietly to adjust itself. Most of the time, a well-functioning refrigerator is the perfect appliance: works perfectly, without hassle, pretty much all the time.
But then there’s the moment that we all dread: time to clean out the fridge.
There are two types of people: people who keep their fridge clean, and people who hate cleaning the fridge. There’s really no middle ground. But, what if there were a simple way to avoid ever having to clean out the fridge, without constant expiration date vigilance?
Good news… there is. And I can summarize it in one word: rotation.
No, I’m not recommending that you drive a giant stake through the center of your fridge and spinning around at high speed, though that would certainly get the neighbors to notice you. (By the way, if your neighbors ARE talking, and it’s getting a bit awkward, it might be time to look at cleaning up a bit… if you need someplace to store all that miscellany, we would be happy to help. It’s, like, totally what we do and stuff.)
Instead simply rotate the items in the fridge as you add new things.
For instance, if you buy a new package of Kraft American cheese slices for the kids’ lunches, instead of throwing them in the dairy drawer, try this: open the drawer, pull everything towards the front, and put the new package in the back. It’s really that easy.
For the shelves, you need a slightly different technique. I like to follow this pattern: back, right, forward. In other words, when you get back from the store, anything that’s in front on the left goes to the back, everything in the back left goes to the right, everything in the back right comes to the front, and the new stuff goes in the front left. Your newest stuff is always front left and – here’s the key – your oldest stuff is always front right.
In this way, you can always keep tabs on what you have, and you’ll never open tupperware and have to ask your spouse or roommate, “what was this?”