TCIH: Our Refrigerator

A few weeks ago I started what I hope to be a once-a-month True Confessions of an Imperfect Homeowner feature about the little imperfections that pop up as we discover what it's like to be grown-ups and homeowners, and remind us that it's OK to not be Martha Stewart. (Rick was relieved when he heard that, for obvious reasons.) I hope you'll join in! :)

Today's focus is our refrigerator, which might seem like a weird topic, but it can be a very scary place in our house, and there are things we can get better about doing in order to make it not such a scary place.

For some reason, we like to make science experiments in our refrigerator. Meaning the corn that we ate two months ago is still sitting there, but has now morphed into some blue hairy thing. (Why is the corn that you ate two months ago still sitting in your fridge, uneaten, you ask?) Well. I don't know. Maybe because it's blue and hairy? (But what about one day after you ate it? Was it blue and hairy then?) Well. No. No, it wasn't. That would be weird.

So what's our deal? I don't know. I do like to frequently purge other areas of the house. But I guess the refrigerator gets neglected because I don't have to look at it all day. I simply notice the furry corn, shut the door, and continue on my merry way. And no one is the wiser about the Moldy Little Secret that we have growing next to our milk. Until now, of course.

Are you ready for what I had to shove down the garbage disposal after I cleaned out the fridge--finally--last week?

The Longevity Award goes to the sour cream and mayo. I packed that last summer when we took a trip to southern Pennsylvania. Don't judge. I know it's inexcusable.

Since I'm confessing, I also have to admit, though, that all of that moldiness and stinkiness sort of makes us laugh. It's been our running joke for, well, several months now that when we don't know what else to eat, we can have that broccoli and cheddar soup.Yummmm.


But here's the problem, even though we are guilty of finding it amusing: all of that food was wasted. This is not to say that we waste all of our food; what you saw up there was representing a few months, I'd say. But still. There are a couple reasons, I think, why this happens to us: 

1. There are just two of us. We make a big batch of something, eat it for several meals, then get tired of it, and it just sits and...goes stinky. The soup is a perfect example of this.

2. The full fridge factor. Sometimes, when we're rearranging to make room for new items, we end up carelessly shoving containers of stuff to the back of the fridge, and then we forget about it because we can't see it.

3. We're a little lazy. Really, nobody else sees the refrigerator. There are other things in the house that I'd rather clean, like the toilets. (I'm not being sarcastic.)

4.  We're secretly hoping to find a new mold a'la penicillin so that I can quit my job and stay home cleaning the house all day.

Here's what we're going to try to do about it:

1. Freeze leftovers that we're tired of before they go bad. Or just don't make such a big batch to begin with.

2. Keep the fridge organized so that food isn't just shoved willy-nilly. Cheese in one place, fruit in another.This will also prevent us from buying too much of something we already have.

3. Keep the tall stuff in the back and the short, flat stuff (like many of those containers above) up front, so that we can see what we have.

4. Actually clean--not just clean out--more frequently. I do periodic wipe-downs, but making time to actually do a thorough cleaning will prevent food from residing in our refrigerator for months on end.

5. Have children ASAP so that they can share our leftovers. (Hi Mom.)

Any other suggestions for how to maintain a non-wasteful fridge? Anyone else have this problem? What's the most disgusting thing you've ever pulled out of your fridge? Go ahead. Confess. You know you want to. :)

The Mustard Ceiling

Weekend Bloggy Reading


  1. LITERALLY laughed out loud at the longevity award - ONE year old sour cream & mayo, Erin?!

    (It's only awesome because I would totally do that too.)

    My favorite thing to do with a tupperware container of hairy, moldy food is to take it out of the fridge and set it next to the sink, still closed so I don't have to look inside or smell it, and leave it there for Andy to handle. This is why marriage is a good thing.

  2. I'm visiting from the Mustard Ceiling Party and I have to say this post CRACKED me up! This happens to us ALL the time. My husband always sets predictions on how long leftovers will sit in the fridge!

  3. Guilty!! I hate to tell you Erin but it only gets worse when there's a family involved. There's that much more to pretend isn't there. I have been known to throw away a plastic container with alien life form growing inside. I just couldn't stomach the idea of opening it and cleaning it. Thanks for revealing your dirty little secret:)

  4. Visiting from the Mustard Ceiling and this post reminded me that I need to get rid of some stuff in my fridge as well. I think we are all guilty of keeping leftovers a little too long ;)

  5. Thanks Erin for putting a big, huge smile on my face today :). I feel ya...our fridge is the same way, sometimes I purposefully leave the left overs in there after they're really old because I don't want to open the container to clean it and smell up the kitchen.

    I am loving your blog, thanks so much for linking to the mix and mingle party this week.

  6. Lol! Okay, I'm right there along with you and just abide by my grandmother's pearl of wisdom when I come across something unrecognizable: When in doubt, throw it out!

  7. Anonymous7/20/2011

    Just came from Mustard Ceiling and can confess I completely sympathise! At my house there is only two of us as well and I have been guilty of noticing the mouldy whatever and continuing on my way. Funny post!

  8. I am soooo guilty of doing the "I'm just going to throw this tupperware away rather than open it and face what's in it" trick. Someday, I'll invest in nice enough tupperware that this won't happen. Someday...

  9. Ha! I love it! (I died laughing at solution #5).

    We are the same way. We keep saying we are going to get better. We find that clear containers help us to remember what's in them...beyond that...there is no hope!

  10. Oh my goodness. You just made me 1)laugh but 2)feel not quite so guilty about the 1.5 month old watermelon...or the(mold stained) containter of unidentified plant flesh.
    Normal people around the world breath a sigh of relief. No one is perfect and this is very good news.

  11. Rachel7/21/2011

    Not gonna lie..guilty as well. I am also guilty of playing the 'it isn't my turn to clean the kitchen' game. Just so you know for next time...if you clean out the fridge and put a container of five day old corn on the counter and then start playing the above mentioned game it will only take two days to grow hair...

    (I lost by the way...something about a moldy container of corn on the counter make me throw in the towel...the kitchen towel...)

  12. I loved this post. Especially the diagram. I've definitely been there before. the worst is having to get all the tupperware out and shove the nastiness down the drain. The smells are awful!! Great tips for preventing this in the future.

    xoxo, chrissy
    The Perfect Palette

  13. This just makes me laugh because *everyone* knows how it is to find a science project in their fridge...and I totally feel ya on how tough it is to cook (and eat it all) for just two! Now that we have two kiddos...we still throw a lot of stuff away! (c: Dang, our plan didn't work!

  14. I'm guilty of the same thing. Somehow it always ends up being my husband's job to clean out the containers, I'm usually busy "doing the laundry" or "feeding the dogs" so he is the one with a bandana around his face to block the smell while I am far away. I love him. He never questions me.

  15. My two cents: buy cheap plastic containers so you don't feel guilty when you (inevitably) have to toss 'em. Also, never, ever, ever store leftovers in anything but clear containers. No recycling of cottage cheese or yogurt containers (the ultimate death sentence for food) and absolutely no foil -- everyone in my house has an unhealthy fear of foil and will not open it. Foil wrapped money in fridge = secure savings! Thanks for making me LOL, Erin!


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