Thursday, January 14, 2010


A month or so ago I cleaned out my freezer.

Yesterday I cleaned my refrigerator. This is a different thing than just cleaning it out. Cleaning it out mostly involves taking most of the food off of the shelves, sorting it and putting the good stuff back. Maybe wiping up some visible spills. But not getting behind or under things or dealing with the bottles on the door.

Cleaning it involves taking all the food out, all the bins out, plus disassembling the shelves and scrubbing them & the inside of the fridge all clean.

This happens as rarely as the freezer cleaning for much the same reasons – it’s cold, my hands cramp up from the scrubbing and the solid yet still gel like substances that accumulate in dark forgotten corners are a PITA to get clean. Plus the heavy tempered glass shelves are too big to fit in the kitchen sink and have to be washed in the bathtub. Which means I then I have to wash the bathtub. And mop. I never manage to clean the fridge without getting dirty water on the floor, or wrecking the kitchen in general

So it’s a bit of an undertaking really.

But someone didn’t put the lid back securely on a juice bottle and then someone grabbed it off the shelf with wild abandon, resulting in juice splattering and then someone did not wipe the mess up. (could be the same someone, could be a conspiracy, it’s hard to say as I was not around at the time)

The other night I saw this on the door


There was more on the inside shelves and it had solidified in the chill so it could not be wiped up easily any longer.

You see how given the layout & lighting seeing what is under the cheese drawer is almost impossible? Or behind the jelly? or the back half of the bottom shelf? (this is not an actual before photo, it is from last month)


I cleared the top shelves & removed them & the cheese drawer & found this


I emptied the door shelves, removed them and found this


What is it? How did it get there? How long has it been there?

I left the shelves to soak in the bathtub and scrubbed the whole fridge. Then I sorted the food.

This is all the non-expired still edible food in the fridge, minus a 6 pack of hard cider that didn’t fit on the counter, the bottles that go on the door shelves and the contents of the fruit & veggie bins.

Rather a lot of dairy products, especially if you include the crescent rolls & eggs which are both often found in the dairy aisle of the supermarket. Dairy, alcohol, bread and soup. My 4 food groups.


I cleaned out the bottled condiments for the first time in forever as well. These are all that were expired, surprisingly enough.  We only like Newman’s Own Parmesan & Garlic salad dressing but keep others on hand for company. I have no idea why we have pickle relish.


The prominently placed small bottle of Ranch is the oldest. I suppose it got hidden behind other bottles & forgotten & probably I failed to check dates last time I cleaned the bins. (which was this summer when the Newman’s Own fell over with a loose lid and made an all natural oily mess)

So, how long have I been ignoring this small bottle of dressing?


Not quite as long as I overlooked the tater tots. The rest of the stuff expired in the past 2 months so I suppose I don’t completely suck at keeping the food rotated.

The shelves were washed, dried, replaced and the food put back neatly. (twice because I can never remember which holes the shelves were in & can’t tell until the food is there if I left enough space)

Look at my lovely clean fridge



I’ll be offering classes on “The Effects of Cold on Sticky Liquids & Why You Should Clean them Immediately” to various members of the household in the coming days.

They will be followed by brief lectures on “The Importance of Checking Dates Before Eating Anything Because Mom is Lazy” and “Lids – How to Tighten Them” which is a fun filled hands on seminar.

The first person who spills anything in that fridge will reach for a sponge if he values his life.

It’s delurker day too! So now would be a great chance for you to delurk and tell me what the oldest thing in your fridge is or what the biggest mess you have ever cleaned out of you fridge was.

I look forward to hearing about it!



Lena said...

Hmmm. I cleaned out my fridge the other day, but I'm rather compulsive about it so nothing is ever too old or messy. I have to stay on top of things b/c I defrost monthly...have an old fridge and freezer that still need defrosted! :)

I did, in this round of cleaning, though, find my complete debilitating fear of running out of sour cream. I had three containers, 2 unopened. I can't help it. It's something I don't want to be without.

DawnMarch said...

We have a very small fridge, so my hubby religiously gets rid of the old food (usually when it's still good), but we definitely have the hardened spill problem occasionally in our fridge.

You have inspired me to get some of that parmesan & garlic salad dressing. That sounds good!

Meghann said...

Hehe. This post was funny. I love cleaning out my fridge, and I do it often! The other day at my mom's house, I cleaned out her pantry for her (yes, I know I'm crazy) and found a can from 2001!

Lizzie said...

Great Post! Fridge cleaning is the pits, no kidding. Mr G helped me clean ours about a month ago, so we're doing ok. Having said that, the jar of Mint Sauce that was in our fridge just before Christmas had an expiry date of the end of January 2010...better make sure I throw it out!

Chantal Miller said...

aahh... you beat me to it. I've been putting off cleaning mine. There's a tub of feta in there since the beginning of December

SciFi Dad said...

That? Is just nasty. Ick.

humel said...

lol!! Well done you :-) I don't think I've made many exciting fridge discoveries but once when I worked in a pub kitchen I had the job of defrosting the catering freezer. I kid you not, I uncovered an entire, whole, TROUT in the ice at the back. It was completely hidden until the ice started to defrost.

Too Many Hats said...

So, when will you be coming by to clean mine out. I'm much like you and wait until there is a big mes to do it. Although with teen boys I am finding I rarely have expired anything - they eat things much to quickly.

Mary said...

Luckily I don't have a big fridge so can keep it {fairly} clean easily enough. Although I still get a nasty surprise every now and then! LOL

Together We Save said...

Wow - your fridge looks great now... are you ready to come clean mine?

Melissa said...

I can relate to every single detail in your post about the messy fridge. Except for the fact that mine is still messy. Hmmm, maybe I should get on that. I just recently found a bottle of mustard that was over 5 year old!

Nettie B said...

You are a hilarious, brave and inspiring woman. DH and I have running tally on fridge cleaning - I'm trouncing him 8 to 3. So we're in a staredown at the moment - if I cave he knows it'll cost him BIG.

Cheri said...

I literally laughed out loud twice reading this post. First when I saw the expiration date on the dressing (which is a regular issue for me with mayo since we use it so infrequently) and second when I saw the lurker cartoon. Too funny! Thanks for the chuckles.

It'z A Neet Design said...

Woohoo you go girl! I need to follow in your foot steps and do mine. I did do my oven yesterday though for the first time ever since we moved in our house 2 years ago. Hey, it's a start...right?

Kim Hosey said...

Hey; happy Delurker Day! Stop by my blog if you get a chance.

Hmm; the oldest things I remember cleaning out of my fridge were a 2-year-old forgotten bottle of ranch (sound familiar?) and a plastic dish of something that had dried out and probably spoiled, but had languished in the back so long we couldn't even tell what it was any longer. Also, we forget to refrigerate soda all the time, so we'll put a can in the freezer to quick-chill it -- and be left with an exploded can and huge mess to clean later.

ZenMom said...

I'm exhausted just reading about all that.

My husband and I are yin and yang on food expiration: I throw things out 10 seconds *before* they expire. He thinks things are "still good" 6 months later if they pass a sniff test.

I'm certain to outlive him, if only for this one reason.

Traci Reed said...

Only you could make cleaning a fridge out fun and interesting! LOL! My fridge is currently disgusting and awaiting a cleaning when we go shopping next week. Fun!

Carrie said...

Looks nice! I am OCD on dates on food so nothing lurks too long but there have been moments of "What fruit was this?" in the back of the drawer and I know I don't give it a good clean as often as I should. Very inspiring post, maybe I'll tackle mine soon! :)

ptooie said...

You can come clean my fridge if you want... we've only been in this house about 5 months so it's not so bad, even with my husband's firm belief that things are good until their printed date even if they've been opened. (He was baffled by mold in a jar of pasta sauce once.)

Creative Junkie said...

Oh God, just reading about cleaning a fridge is overwhelming. I know we're due, but I just can't drum up the effort to do to. I think I'd rather eat a bug.

The oldest thing in my fridge? Probably a dressing of some sort. Or maybe some salsa. Our fridge is like a black hole - things go in, but they never come out.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the fridge, but in our pantry there is an ancient tempura mix that has been labeled "Emergency Food". You know, in case we get snowed in or some crap. It is at least 7 years old.

Melissa said...

The fridge is next on my list (of things to finish up the kitchen). Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment; I understand about liking things clean but dreading anyone touching it or getting it dirty(or running through with muddy feet). Have a great week!

Melissa said...

The fridge is next on my list (of things to finish up the kitchen). Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment; I understand about liking things clean but dreading anyone touching it or getting it dirty(or running through with muddy feet). Have a great week!

SciFi Dad said...

That? Is just nasty. Ick.