Refrigerator storage & planning

I like the Unclutterer blog because it’s short and to the point, reducing clutter in its posts as well as your life. This article describes the author’s approach to removing food clutter, in the form of things he’s decided not to eat that still live in his pantry.

I have a different problem: we’re forever throwing away leftovers not because we chose not to eat them, but because they migrated to the back of the fridge or underneath a slice of pizza and went out of sight, out of mind. The few solutions that I’ve come up with all have drawbacks:

  • Eat everything — I’m already a bit heavier than my post-Ranger School marathon weight, and I see no need to add to that problem in solving this one.
  • Throw it away first — my mother was one of the starving kids in China moms, and it still lives with me. All this would do, of course, is eliminate the guilt I feel when throwing stuff out after believing that I was going to eat it.
  • Buy a 6-inch deep refrigerator — my theory is that if there’s no space back there, stuff can’t hide or be hidden. But we otherwise like our fridge and don’t have the 20+ feet of wall space that would be required to install this mythical fridge.

What we have done so far is move to clear colorless containers for more food, so that every time it opens, we are more obviously reminded of what’s hanging around for a second chance.

What do you do to avoid the forgotten leftover tragedy? Please put your thoughts in a comment, and I’ll report on my test of the ideas that seem the best for us.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on April 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    We have the same problem. I ended up putting a P-touch label on the top left shelf – “Use it or lose it!” to remind my husband to look there first for something to eat.

    Also, I try to check fridge on Wednesdays (our garbage pickup day is Thursday) and toss anything that is beyond hope and move new items to the Use It or Lose It shelf.