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By April 23, 2015 4 Comments

I have been enjoying doing little spring cleaning tasks. I prefer to do one a day in no particular order, just whatever catches my attention and matches my energy for the day! Yesterday I devoted about 30 minutes for freshening up my refrigerator. I emptied each shelf and drawer and wiped them clean. As I was looking at all the food items I’d emptied on the counter, I realized that my fridge had clutter! I had stuff in there that had earned a permanent storage place, but I couldn’t remember the last time they had been used. So I checked the dates on everything. I was pretty embarrassed by what I discovered:


  • Package of swiss cheese, use by 11-27-2014, never opened—yikes!
  • Bottle of Dijon mustard, sell by by 9-23-2014, ¾ used
  • Bottle of ketchup, best by 1-9-2014, never opened!
  • Bottle of Worcestershire sauce, use by 11-11-2013, ½ used
  • Bottle of soy sauce, best by 10-29-2013, ½ used
  • Bottle of caramel sauce, still fresh, but I know I will not eat this again soon
  • Jar of parmesan cheese, still fresh, but I don’t like it and won’t use it again
  • Jar of barbecue sauce, still fresh
  • Jar of salad dressing, still fresh
  • Jars of red spices that store best in the fridge, still fresh
  • Jars of jam, jelly, and apple butter, still fresh
  • Box of butter, still fresh
  • Jar with just one pickle left, which I ate for lunch!

Needless to say, the top seven were evicted from my fridge! I like knowing that what remains is what I really use on a regular basis. And when it is time for picnics and cookouts, I will buy small bottles of fresh condiments. It might not seem like a big deal to have a fresh & clean fridge. But think of it this way—when you open that refrigerator door, little messages pop into your head. I like hearing “Wow, this is neat and clean and organized!” instead of, “When in the world will you clean out this place?”

Another way to refresh your fridge is to simply make yourself use up the items! I always start doing this about a week before a trip, but recently decided it would be a good idea every month. It can be a fun challenge to mix and match what you already have in your pantry and fridge, and actually use everything up until it’s gone before you buy anything new. Again, this may seem obvious, but have you ever bought a new bag of apples or oranges when you still had some at home, but didn’t use the older ones first so they ended up spoiling? That must have been what happened with my bag of cheese. It kept getting pushed to the bottom of the cheese compartment and ended up never being used and eventually wasted. So look for something to use up and eat that last pickle! (Then recycle the jar for bonus points.) 😉

Now I am curious about what is the oldest thing you’ve found in your fridge—please leave a comment below!


Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Carla B says:

    Great tips, Olive! We play “the pantry game” occasionally, where we make dinner using only pantry items. This helps us keep pasta, jarred sauces, crackers, and other items rotated and fresh! Now, I will try it with the fridge, as well! Blessings, Carla

  • Olive Wagar says:

    Great idea, Carla! I like that you make it a game with your family!

  • Linda says:

    Olive, I could name a bunch of items that are in my fridge right now that need to go! You have inspired me to get in there and start tossing. Thanks!

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