Thanks to everyone who joined me for last night’s Facebook chat! If you missed it, don’t worry – we’ll meet up in the same place, at the same time next week.

I was looking for an onion. I found one, but I also found a squishy tomato and an oozing jalapeno. So much for that pico I was planning to make two weeks ago.

Luckily, this discovery happened the night before trash day, so I took the opportunity to toss a few more things from the fridge into the garbage. Sweet potatoes that I bought, even though I’m the only one who likes them? Growing spots. Whole wheat buns that I’d frozen back . . . a while ago? More stale than a bag of croutons. And then there was the frozen lettuce, the mystery leftovers and the many, many expired bottles of salad dressing.

A couple months ago, a friend mentioned how her mom is terrible about never throwing things – like expired food – away. I confessed that I had years-old boxes of bread mix in my pantry, and she yelled at me. “Mary! Go home right now and THROW IT AWAY!”

So I did. But even though we’d talked about salad dressings, too, I looked at my rows of colorful bottles and just couldn’t deal with it. Until this week. I finally found a spurt of motivation when I happened to have the fridge open and started chucking bottles.

I felt so organized after that! So accomplished. So responsible and together. I really do feel better about life in general when my pantry and refrigerator are somewhat organized. Like foods go together, things we use most often at the front and so on. I especially like it when I come home with bags of groceries to an organized kitchen. It makes putting them away a tiny bit less annoying.

Even though cleaning out my fridge was satisfying (and, you know, healthy), it’s not likely I’ll do it again for several weeks. And if you think that I scrubbed down every surface of the fridge after I tossed the bad veggies, leftovers and condiments, you are mistaken. Probably sadly. You are probably sadly mistaken, but most definitely mistaken.

See, that’s the thing about giving up on perfect and getting on with life. I’m not going to let my refrigerator – or any part of my home or life – spiral into total chaos. Or, if I do, it won’t stay that way for long. I’m going to do what must be done, but honestly? I’m not going to obsess over it. My house has cobwebs and cat hair and scuff marks. Not in the fridge – just to be clear – but you get my point.

Nothing here is perfect. But it’s not disastrous either. I’m trying to find that balance, and for me, that means tossing the rotten food but leaving the dishes for the morning.

How often do you clean out your fridge?

What should you watch next?


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