Okay, cleaning out the refrigerator is not fun. You find strange spills and sticky spots and a vegetable drawer that’s full of more shed onion skins than vegetables. So, today, you’ll just focus on the refrigerator door.
Pull everything off the shelves on the door and set it on the counter. Spray the cleared space with cleaner and wipe it down. Close the door.
Turn to the bottles and jars you pulled out of the refrigerator. Look for expiration dates. If you can’t find an expiration date and you can’t remember buying the item, assume that it’s old and toss it. Have the last few chunks of pineapple fermented in the jar? Out it goes.
If something’s expired (but you know you use ketchup or mustard), put it on your shopping list and buy the smallest container that you can. If you use mayonnaise, but not all that often, you don’t need the large jar (even if it’s on sale).
What if the steak sauce has expired, but you used it last week and you know it’s still good. Well, it’s up to you what you do with it. Keep in mind, when you buy something, the expiration date is probably a couple of years in the future. So, you’ve had that items for a couple years plus however long it has expired.
The jar of maraschino cherries you bought three (or was it four) years ago to make pineapple upside down cake and hasn’t been used since, does not need to be replaced.
Any food or condiment that’s an odd color or has a strange smell can also go into the trash.
Return the good stuff to the refrigerator door.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.