You’ve heard the term “refrigerator blindness” before; it’s a condition that afflicts a household member who is gazing into an open refrigerator and asks where the jar of pickles is. The pickles most certainly are in there, but may not be visible. This is a fairly common occurrence that can be attributed to a single source – too much uneaten food in the icebox. We are not suggesting food equals C.R.U.D., but some of it is.
So what’s making your refrigerator impenetrable with the naked eye? There are several categories of the unconsumed that come to mind. Whether you make your meals at home or eat out a great deal, you are likely to be storing leftovers. If your leftovers are the result of a restaurant meal you simply could not manage in one sitting, chances are the leftovers are ensconced in an opaque Styrofoam container. Your extra portion is hidden from view and will be likely to be forgotten. If the leftovers come from your own kitchen, unless you place them in a see-through container, they are apt to succumb to the same fate. The ability to grow mold is in direct relation to how far back into the recesses of the fridge your unfinished food resides.
Now take a look at the inside of the door. This is where most people store sauces and liquids. Sauces, salad dressings and juices are available in an infinite number of varieties. If you are not diligent, these items can transmogrify into C.R.U.D. in a matter of weeks. Let’s say you are hosting a dinner party that requires you try out a new recipe. You purchase all the necessary and sometimes exotic ingredients. The meal turns out beautifully. In your regular cooking regimen you never have the opportunity to make that recipe again. The bottles of sauce remain. By the time you get around to making that gourmet dish again, the sauce is no longer fit for consumption.
Even fresh ingredients like vegetables and populating crisper drawers, can expire before you have the time to use them.
This is a good project to undertake when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to de-cluttering. To prepare, you may want to don a pair of rubber gloves. Have heavy duty garbage bags on hand. Make sure your recycling receptacles are close at hand. You will have to haul everything out for inspection and decision-making. Clear the countertops before you start so you have enough room to place the various candidates for removal.
Science projects should go without question. Where a “best before” date is not legible, err on the side of caution – particularly with dairy products. Dried up rinds of cheese have no business taking up room in such a limited space. Pay attention to duplicates. Two or three open mayonnaise containers do not bode well. Parsley that’s gone to liquid in its own plastic bag is not deserving of a second look. How long has that flat bottle of tonic water been there?
Once you have thinned out the food C.R.U.D., take the opportunity to clean the drawers and shelves before returning the edible contents to their slots. After you have eliminated the causes of refrigerator blindness, you can move to another kitchen blind spot – perhaps under the sink.