Clearing Out and Keeping Up with Your Refrigerator

Good morning, all!

Okay…how many of you have a man (or male child) who opens the refrigerator to “look” for something that he declares immediately is not in there? I have two such creatures in my house. Here’s a typical conversation about the fridge.

Male: “Where’s the mayonnaise?”

Me: “On the door.”

Male: “No it’s not.”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Male: “Well, I don’t see it.”

Me: “Bottom shelf, left corner, behind the mustard.”

Male: “Oh.”

Me: “Just where it always is. Always.”

(Insert heavy sign and eye roll here. And apologies to any man who may be reading this and who – bless him – doesn’t have this problem.)

Naturally, a person who can’t find the mayonnaise right where it always is isn’t necessarily going to put it back there. I have labeled shelves that no one can read. How? How can this be?

When I was trying to decide what to do for today’s tips, Teresa suggested that I address the fridge

When I was trying to decide what to address this week, a friend suggested the refrigerator. The quickly messed up and disorganized refrigerator. And since it makes since because we organized our pantries last week (didn’t we?), that’s what I’m going to do. At my house, the fridge can get messy pretty darn quick. So I have learned that I have to straighten it out weekly; any longer than that and it becomes a serious challenge instead of a 15-minute fix.

That being said, this is what I TRY to do every week/month to keep the fridge under control.

1. Tend to the leftovers.

If you have leftovers that freeze well, freeze them in single-serve portions. For example, when I make lasagna, we eat it for dinner once and the once as leftovers. Then I take the rest and cut it into serving size portions and freeze them individually. That way I can pull one out for my hubby’s lunch or have a quick dinner solution when I need it. Just don’t leave them in there long enough to grow mold. Please. Do not conduct your own science experiments. Unless you’re a homeschooler because we homeschoolers have to do what we have to do. 🙂

2. Have a designated place/shelf for leftovers.

In order to make tip #1 easier, have a designated location in the fridge for leftovers. I have a shelf where I store all my leftovers. Then I only have to clean off one shelf when I’m ready to toss or freeze the leftovers. When you toss them, wipe off the shelf and you’re ready for the next week. 🙂 We have a weekly “Leftover Buffet” for dinner on Thursdays. Any leftovers remaining by Monday get tossed. That’s the day before trash pick up day so it clears my fridge and doesn’t invite critters to visit the garbage can during the week.

3. At least once a month, go through the bottles and assorted jars and toss those that are out-of-date.

This isn’t hard, but it takes a little time. Just pick a day (again, I’d suggest the day before trash pick-up if possible) and go through all the jars, bottles, etc. on the refrigerator door or hiding behind the milk carton. Check the dates. If anything is out of date, into the trash or down the garbage disposal it goes. Please recycle when you can! It will take a little longer to sort through these things, but let’s take care of our planet here.

4. Organize your refrigerator into “zones.

Keep healthy snacks and foods front and center. I find this is an especially important thing to do. If there’s chocolate cake in front of the grapes, am I really going to move it and choose the grapes? Umm….probably not. 🙂 But maybe that’s just me. I have found that I eat better and make wiser choices when healthy foods are “in my face” when I open the refrigerator door. I also keep a “collection” of water bottles chilled and easy to reach so that I choose them instead of sweet tea. If you have specific things for your little ones that you don’t mind them reaching into the fridge to get, put them together in one particular area so that they can get to them easily.

Keep track of what’s in your produce bins. It’s best – my my opinion – to only buy produce that you know you’ll use within the week. If not, you (ahem…I) forget what’s in there and when I check the drawer, the produce no longer resembles what you (I) brought home from the store. And it’s squishy. And smelly. And then you have to take out the crisper drawers to clean them and it becomes a big deal. Ugh. So don’t do that, okay? This is personal experience I’m sharing here.

5. Wipe up spills immediately.

If you spill something in the fridge, wipe it clean right away. Do not let it sit. Things tend to get sticky or drip down to the shelves below. This is especially true of soda, sweet tea, juices, and jellies. Sticky things become sticker if left alone. And then you have to scrub. And scrub. That’s no fun. Of course, cleaning spills isn’t fun anyway,  but a big sticky mess…well, that’s really not fun.

And periodically – once month would probably be ideal, but maybe not realistic – take empty the shelves, take them out, wash them in warm soapy water, dry and return them. Do the same for door shelves and the veggie/crisper bins.

Now…if you’re fridge is a HUGE mess and is so full that you can barely see the light that comes on when you open the door, you need to do a major cleaning. That means taking EVERYTHING out and putting it in a cooler. Remove and clean all the shelves. Determine your zones. Only put back into the fridge the things that are fresh and usable. If your fridge is empty after this cleaning, please start your weekly maintenance as soon as you have put things in there. And don’t let it happen again! 🙂

Note: Don’t let items be pushed against the vents in the back of the fridge. It makes it less energy efficient. A stuffed to the gills (or vents) fridge is not good for anyone.

Okay…that’s it. Once it’s clean, it’s really not hard to keep clean. However, a clean fridge does not ensure that a male person will be able to find the mayonnaise. Even if it’s the only thing in the fridge. Just saying.

Have a BLESSED day!

Lynne

P.S. Now that the pantry and fridge are organized, I’ll be back to my “room by room” challenge next week. So I’m “shopping” in my house to see what I want in the entryway.

 

 

 

 

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September Challenge #1: The Front Door

Good morning, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! (Again, if you had to labor yesterday at your job, I’m sorry!) Ours was pretty uneventful and rather relaxing. That’s always good. Finished it off with a run last night just before the lightning came. I would have welcomed some rain, but I don’t do lightning. Thank you very much.

For those of you who are new to this blog/page, I usually “issue” challenges on Mondays, but who wants a challenge on a holiday? Therefore, I’m calling you out today. 🙂 I haven’t issued a challenge all summer so it’s about time I (meaning “we”) get back down to business, don’t you think?

But first, do a load of laundry. Just one load. Or one kind/sort of laundry…for example, if you have two loads of towels, do both loads. (If you’ve never taken the laundry challenge and you are being run out of your house by the Laundry Monster, please go to this link and proceed:

https://lifedoesnthavetobethisway.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/defeating-the-laundry-monster/

(I did not re-read this post so I hope it’s not full of errors!)

NOTE: There are several weekly challenges coming up.  I’m not about spending a lot of money, so don’t be scared. We are going to redo, update, rearrange…all without spending much – if any – money. So DO NOT BE ALARMED. I’m not asking you to pull out your checkbook or VISA card. Really. We are literally starting at the front door and working our way through our homes room by room. I plan to keep any spending to under $50 per room. (Dave Ramsey speaks inside my head quite often these days.)

Now, let’s carry on. I told you that this week’s challenge was a mental – not physical – one, so prepare your brain. For me, that means consuming some coffee. But that’s how I prepare for anything. You’ll also need your eyes. You might even need the opinion of a good friend. So…here goes.

Question: What is the first thing people notice when they drive up to your house? (Or condo, apartment, townhouse…whatever you call home. I’d like to call a beach house “home” but, alas, I do not.) Is it your nice, neat yard and welcoming front porch? Is it beautiful flowers and amazing curb appeal? Is it dead plants? A door that needs painting? Toys on the front steps? Does it look the houses on “Hoarders”? Bless.

Now, you’ll need to go outside for this one. Maybe even get in your car and turn on the AC if you live around here. But look at your house. Really look at it. Try to imagine that it’s your first time seeing it. Ask yourself these questions.

1. Does my house say, “Welcome, friends!”?

2. If I didn’t live here, would I want to go in?

3. I do live here. Do I want to go in?

4. Does it look like someone lives here who won’t let you touch anything?

5. Does it look like someone lives here who doesn’t care if you fall through the porch?

6. Does it look like a warm, welcoming, happy place to be?

If you don’t feel you can have an unbiased opinion about this, ask a friend or two. Ones who will be honest but not hurt your feelings. It never hurts to ask anyway. Your friends may see things you don’t – not just bad things. Good things, too!

If you answered “no” to #3 or “yes” to #4 or #5, this challenge is for you. Our goal is a “yes” for #1 and #6.

Once you’ve taken a good look at your house, you’re going to make a list. I love lists. (I don’t always get everything on my lists done, but at least I have a goal. I’ll eventually get to most of it.) You’re going to make a list of small things that you can do – for free or for “cheap” – to make your house look more welcoming. To say to people, “An awesome person lives here. You might want her (or him) to be your friend.”

So I did this on Sunday. And here’s my list – in no particular order. Most of these do cost a little. I will probably spend more money here than in room inside the house.

1. Get two pretty fall mums for the pots on my front steps.

2. Paint the porch rails and front door.  (NOTE: This is a project I’ve been putting off all summer because…well, because it’s been hot and I just didn’t want to do it.)

3. Get a new welcome mat. When the word “Welcome” is no longer visible, you might need a new one. Just saying.

4. Make new wreath for front door. (I saw one online yesterday that I loved.)

5. Bring small table back out to porch so there’s a place for the lanterns that are on the back porch. (Rearranging…one of my favorite things!)

6. Bring out the fall flag and hang it up. (Replace if faded.)

7. And finally – and this is a project for the hubby, I hope – paint the porch floor.

Like I said, the porch/front door is where I’m going to spend the most money. I’ll still try to keep it under $50. It depends on how much paint costs. I really don’t want you to feel you have to spend money. Before you go to a store, shop around your house. You might be surprised at the things you find that you can use to ‘beautify” your front porch/entrance and make your home more welcoming.

You know the saying about first impressions. When people drive up to your home, they get their first impression before you open the front door. So make it as good a one as you can.

Here are my “before” pics of my front porch. Now I think it’s pretty welcoming already. So most of the things on my list are things that are maintenance-type things that need to be done. You can clearly see that the paint on the porch floor is peeling badly. Yikes! (It did get pressure washed after these pics, so it’s cleaner but the paint is more peel-y.)

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the whole thing

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the walkway (steps are now clean!)

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My favorite place to sit and have coffee (despite the peeling paint)

I didn’t get one of the front door but trust me, it needs painting.

I’d love to hear/see your lists when you’re done. And, of course, before and after pics are welcome! They make me very excited, actually. If you’re entry is already a welcoming area, share your pics and inspire the rest of us!

Have a blessed Tuesday!

Lynne

Happy Monday! Fall cleaning, anyone?

Happy Monday, everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Sorry about the sporadic blogging last week. Having a Monday holiday always messes me up.  My poor aging brain. 🙂 There was a lot of football watching done at my house this weekend. How about yours? Football watching is one of those things I took up when I got married. My husband LOVES college football season, so I figured I might as well join him if I w anted to see him during those few months every year.

So fall is nearly here. I guess it’s official around September 21st, but for me, fall starts after Labor Day. Summer begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day in my world. I really want to put up fall decorations, but I am resisting so far. It won’t be long, though. I have a wreath waiting to be hung and I’ve been scoping out mums at Lowe’s and Home Depot. My hope at the moment is that we get some nice, cool fall temperatures before the 5K I’m running on the 20th. Ten degrees will do; twenty would be awesome. Running tonight is going to be hard before we get started. It’s HOT out there today!

How many of you do fall cleaning every year? Do you have certain projects you save for cooler weather? Or just certain things you do every fall just because that’s the time of year  you do them? Cleaning out closets? Garages? Clearing out flower beds? I don’t have a garage, but I will be doing some closet cleaning. I have several small painting projects that need to get done. So here is what I have decided to do: work from the front porch in. I’m going to use a large Post-It or index card and write a list of everything that needs to be done in each room and hang the list on the wall in the room. Then I’ll work through each list and through each room from the front porch through to the master bath.

Think of the projects that you need to do. Get the big picture first. Then break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Work room by room until you’re done. You can give yourself a deadline for each room, or you can just work through them as you have time. The point is to try and work on one room – task by task – until the room is done. Some rooms will require more work than others – at least they will at my house. I’m feeling furniture rearranging and some repurposing coming my way. And some more de-cluttering. Lots of that. I want less stuff. Less stuff means less work for me. I like that thought. Don’t you?

I’m going to start on my lists tomorrow and plan to start working on projects next week. I’m excited about the picture I have in my mind for my front porch. We’ll see if I can make it happen.

Y’all have a great week!

Blessings,

Lynne