Cleaning out the Refrigerator

illustration of refrigerator

I cleaned out my refrigerator today. This is not one of my favorite tasks.

Because I am not very organized, I regularly fail on a miserable level to plan for meals.

When I do go to the store, I may have a couple items I know I need, but since I live in a constant state of good intention to eat better, I always get random bags of fruit and bunches of vegetables.

I never have a plan other than “smoothies, salads, stir fries” or something of the sort. By the time I get home from the store, I’m almost always exhausted and overwhelmed. The groceries get shoved into the refrigerator with my other constant good intention of getting them ready “later.” Sadly, “later” is usually a week or so from now, and this usually means I throw a bunch of produce away.

Today I tossed some chard, celery, 2 bags of salad and some grapes.  There were also some leftovers that didn’t fare well. My sweetie, D, isn’t much for leftovers and unless I prepare the veggies and fruit ahead of time, he just doesn’t see them. Even though I had those great intentions when I came home from the store last weekend, I had overnight pet sitting for 4 nights this week, so the leftovers and produce were just begging to be tossed by the time I got back.

Yeah, still not that clean, but better than before…

As always, I tell myself I’ll do better.

 I vow that from now on will only buy produce needed for a day or two of meals, and will prep everything immediately upon returning home from the store.

On a brighter note, I HAVE been much better this week of getting less at the grocery store. In previous posts, I have talked about a mindset shift I’ve been having about getting rid of things and not having so much stuff.  I recently had a great idea that I can incorporate this mind shift to my shopping for groceries as well.

I knew we had a lot of frozen things, and we’ve been mixing and matching those this week. I’m lucky that D is patient with me and pretty understanding of my struggles. He’s been happy enough with rice, pasta with various toppings, and hot dogs.

I honestly really and truly want to get a handle on this awful cycle of good intention, bad planning and refrigerator purging. So after today’s cleaning, there is a lot of empty space in the fridge. I still have more to toss, as you can see from the photo.  I am finally realizing I do NOT have to have it bursting at the seams.  I really don’t need like 8 different bottles of salad dressing.

open refrigerator with cat on top

This is what I dream of my refrigerator looking like inside…

It is so much easier to find what is in there if there isn’t THAT MUCH in there to begin with. I’m learning…. (bear with me, self, as I am apparently a very slow learner.)

So today I’ve been browsing the internet and some of my cook books for ideas for meals using what I already have on hand. I made a “meal planner” tab on my Google calendar to use daily. This will be used to put a menu for the week. I will also add tasks that need done the day before such as thawing and chopping of ingredients.

I feel more in control of myself and focused regarding cooking and meal planning than I have in a long time. I don’t dread opening the refrigerator!!!  WOop woop, watch out all you meal planning mavens, I’m on to something here!!!!


Do you have a problem with an out of control refrigerator? I’d love to hear any ideas or suggestions.

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