The Art of Cleaning Your Fridge


This morning I started to worry that the neighbours will call the health inspection services due to the strange decaying smell from the next door – and I estimated it’s high time already. The old products and weird sauces and spices, cluttered in the fridge, had to be cluttered in the garbage.

My Inspiration for this Monumental Mission?

Marie Condo, a Japanese cleaning consultant, lately turned into a lifestyle phenomena. Her credo is to give up everything you don’t need. Her motto is “throw out everything”, not “take out everything from your house and give it to me”, so I guess, I should trust her, since there is no personal gain for her. Except if we don’t count as a personal gain the flow of money she wins from her international bestseller “The magic of cleaning which will change your life”.

Condo established the method KonMari which starts with “Begin with throwing out. Then organise the space, diligently and completely, at once”.

Her name turns into a verb in the sphere of self-help, which is actually not that bad. So to say, “I condoed the mountain of washed clothes yesterday” sounds much more attractive than “I spent my Saturday night reading comics in the public laundry”.

The method practically sounded like the cleaning my fridge desperately needed. So I got myself enormous garbage bags and plenty of gloves from the office and I made some aggressive reminders in iCal, so that I can’t skip the work.

The real act of cleaning brought a lot of doubts. Do I need half a spoonful of Dijon mustard in a plastic box as big as a baby food jar? Do I need the failed try to can a turnip, which I push further and further into the void?

Or the can with cheap beer which my neighbour (from the last-year apartment), handed over to me, after she knocked on my door (no reason) one night. Her kind, inexplicable gesture made me feel so lonely that I saved the beer, although I knew I will never drink from it – because who would drink a liquid given by a stranger? And yet, as a proud junk-dealer, I believe that everyone who can throw out childhood memories without giving so much thought is deprived from a little part of their soul. The doubtful beer can is far from the prom dress, but still…

beer can

On the other hand, I reminded myself that I breath from my mouth, because the fridge stench is so nightmarish, so I got myself together and threw out everything.

Took me dear two hours, due to the large volumes of fridge contents, to a large extend a super-ambitious summer stacking on farmer’s market products, which I thought I can handle on my own. I found 5 pieces of corn. In April, from last summer. They didn’t look so terrible, though, or, at least, were hiding their true self under their leaves. The eggplants were something utterly different – four months of being forgotten turned them into splashed out, unrecognisable balls, which turn into a liquid the moment you try to pick them up.

When I reached the leafy vegetable drawer, I had to take it all and throw it out in the garbage bin. After three walks to the garbage and 9 pairs of gloves, I was ready.

And I felt better, knowing that I threw out the careless part of me, which postponed with months what I knew was necessary. The question comes, whether or not you should do it, too?

I think we all need Marie Condo telling us “do that”, because our parents don’t knock on the door every 5 minutes, risking to face grumpy teenagers to remind us “Clean your room, young lady, or you’re grounded for a month”.

Condo is like the mother, telling us to do the things we have to do, but she does it in a complete silence, constantly smiling from the cover of her book. She can brag in a humble way, not to be accounted for anything (“I never clean my room. Why? Because it’s already clean”), because she is better than us in her clean life.

So, even if you don’t believe in the almighty credo “clean your room from all kinds of objects”, clean your fridge. Soon.

That was definitely a necessary and important step. I don’t miss to breath from my mouth every time I open my fridge to take a snack. I don’t miss the mustard; for God’s sake, I don’t even like mustard. And I definitely don’t miss the unidentified beer can.


Author: Jennie Hopkins

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